The Blues put the finishing touches on Mike Yeo’s coaching staff on Thursday.
The St. Louis Blues announced the hirings of three more assistants to complete Mike Yeo’s staff for the 2017-18 season on Thursday, adding Craig Berube as associate coach, Daniel Tkaczuk as an assistant and skills coach, and David Alexander as the goaltending coach.
The hirings of Berube and Alexander, which had been reported in recent days, as well as the addition of Tkaczuk, put the finishing touches on the staff for next season. They join previously-hired assistants Darryl Sydor and Steve Ott, as well as video coach Sean Ferrell, who will return in the same role for a fifth straight season.
Yeo’s coaching staff, which with the exception of Ferrell’s return will be totally different than it was in 2016-17, is interesting for a few different reasons. First of all, it includes three of the four coaches who were on the staff for the Chicago Wolves, then the Blues’ primary AHL affiliate, last season. Berube was the head coach for the minor-league club, while Tzachuk and Sydor served as assistants. The only one of Berube’s assistants who won’t be on Yeo’s staff next season is Bob Nardella.
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Secondly, three of the four assistants were members of the Blues organization as players. Ott played for the Blues from 2014-16 and was teammates with a majority of the team’s current players. Sydor played 47 games for the Blues during the 2009-10 season and played with current Blues Patrik Berglund, David Perron, Alexander Steen, and Alex Pietrangelo. The Blues acquired Tzachuk from the Calgary Flames as part of the deal for Roman Turek in 2001, and he spent a year with their then-AHL affiliate, the Worcester IceCats.
Lastly, the staff is extremely young, especially in relation to the Ken Hitchcock-led staffs that the Blues have employed in recent years. With the 43-year-old Yeo at the helm, the Blues have Berube (51), Sydor (45), Tkaczuk (35), Ott (34), and Alexander (35) as assistants.
Tkaczuk, Ott, and Alexander will be embarking on their respective first NHL coaching opportunities. Berube was an assistant for the Philadelphia Flyers from 2006-08 and served as their head coach from 2013-15. Sydor was on Yeo’s staff with the Minnesota Wild from 2011-16 before spending last season in the minors.
Though the Blues haven’t officially announced any specific staff assignments, it’s likely that Berube will run the Blues’ power play and work with the forwards in addition to his role as the team’s top assistant. Sydor is likely to coordinate the penalty kill and work with the defensemen, while Tkaczuk will fill the “skills coach” role and will probably take over many of the responsibilities that assistant Steve Thomas had last season. Andy Strickland reported earlier that Ott will fill an “eye in the sky” role, taking over the press box and advance scouting duties that longtime assistant Ray Bennett had held under several previous regimes.