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Report: Ryan Huska top contender for Flames' head coaching vacancy

Derek Leung / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Calgary Flames are apparently looking to hire from within to fill their head coaching vacancy.

"Nothing is done until it's done, but the word is that Ryan Huska - who has been an assistant coach for the Flames for the past five seasons - is the leading contender," Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Thursday night.

Huska has never been an NHL head coach but does have plenty of experience within the Flames organization. Prior to joining the big club as an assistant in 2018, Huska served as the bench boss of Calgary's AHL affiliate for four seasons. During that time, he coached the likes of Oliver Kylington, Andrew Mangiapane, and Rasmus Andersson.

The 47-year-old has helmed Calgary's penalty kill for the last five seasons. The Flames own the league's sixth-best unit over that span, firing at an 81.7% success rate.

The Flames fired Darryl Sutter in May after they failed to make the playoffs for the third time in six seasons. Sutter won the 2022 Jack Adams Award as the league's best head coach after piloting the Flames to a first-place finish in the Pacific Division.

Ex-New York Rangers bench boss Gerard Gallant was previously reported to be a "prime candidate" to succeed Sutter, while Mitch Love, the head coach of the AHL's Calgary Wranglers, was also expected to get a good look.

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