An impressive name was added to Flyers general manager Ron Hextall's list of coaching candidates Monday.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan and the Sharks mutually parted ways, making him a major contender for the Flyers opening.

McLellan, 47, a former Detroit assistant, will have a long line of suitors, including Buffalo and Toronto.

Interestingly, when McLellan coaches Canada in the world championships in the Czech Republic next month, he will have three Flyers on his team: Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier.

One of McLellan's assistants on Team Canada is Peter DeBoer, the former New Jersey coach who is also a candidate for the Flyers job.

The Sharks missed the playoffs this season for the first time in McLellan's seven years in San Jose.

In Detroit, McLellan was an assistant for three seasons under Mike Babcock - another man who figures to be on Hextall's wish list after his contract expires soon - and he incorporated the Red Wings' style of play in San Jose.

"You see the way the hockey club plays, the way the puck means so much to them while they have it," McLellan once told the San Jose Mercury News, referring to the Red Wings. He added he likes coaching a "high-tempo, fast, puck-possession type team."

If he coached the Flyers, McLellan probably would ask Hextall to improve the team's speed.

Named San Jose's coach before the 2008-09 season, McLellan is the winningest coach in franchise history. His teams compiled a 311-163-66 record, won three Pacific Division titles, and the Presidents' Trophy for having the most NHL points in 2008-09.

But the Sharks always came up short in the playoffs; they had just a 30-32 playoff record under McLellan.

Before spending three years as a Red Wings assistant, McLellan coached the AHL Houston Aeros, the Minnesota Wild affiliate. The Aeros won the 2003 championship.

From 1994-2000, he coached Swift Current of the Western Hockey League and was WHL coach of the year in 2000.

In his 21 coaching seasons, McLellan's teams have qualified for the playoffs 20 times. In his final season as a Detroit assistant, the Red Wings won the 2008 Stanley Cup.


TSN's Craig Button, a former Calgary general manager, projects the Flyers to select 6-foot-4, 209-pound right winger Mikko Rantanen with the No. 7 overall pick in the June 26 draft. Interestingly, he believes highly regarded defenseman Ivan Provorov (6-0, 191) will still be available at No. 7. If so, Hextall will have a difficult choice because Provorov is skilled at both ends and may be NHL-ready. . . . The Lehigh Valley Phantoms finished their first AHL season in Allentown with a 33-35-7-1 record and missed the playoffs. Nick Cousins finished with 56 points to lead the Phantoms, who had 22 sellouts in their 38 home games and averaged 8,163 fans, fourth in the 30-team AHL. Jason Akeson had a team-high 23 goals.