After nearly a week of speculation from the NHL’s top insiders including TSN’s Darren Dreger and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, it appears that Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet is indeed headed for the Arizona desert. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist and Penguins insider Ron Cook confirmed the reports on social media today:
The move will be a reunion between the 53 year-old former NHL star and the Coyotes, as he served as an assistant under head coach Wayne Gretzky for the Coyotes during the 2005-06 season. The opportunity in Arizona will be Tocchet’s second stint as a head coach in the NHL, having served parts of two seasons for the Tampa Bay Lightning during their 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. Since then he’s been an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and has been instrumental in guiding the team to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.
Of course, Coyotes fans may also remember Tocchet’s brief stint with the Coyotes in the late 90’s during his playing days. He crested 20 goals in two of those campaigns and was a mainstay of the team’s top line alongside Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk.