Word around the Twitter world on Wednesday was that former Minnesota State men's hockey coach Troy Jutting will be going to Nebraska Omaha to be an assistant coach for Dean Blais (news first floated by @Mavpuck and @UWChuckSchwartz). After communicating with a couple of Mankato sources, indications are that this is indeed happening. A call to Jutting was not returned.
Jutting would not directly be taking the place of Mike Hastings, the man who is replacing him as head coach at MSU. Omaha hired Steve Johnson away from St. Cloud State for that job earlier this summer. Instead, Jutting would take the spot vacated by Brian Renfrew, who announced over the weekend that he was leaving UNO to take an NHL scouting job. Still, if this happens, there is some irony in the fact that Hastings and Jutting essentially would be swapping spots on the the benches of the purple and red Mavericks.
In response to Renfrew's departure, Blais told the Omaha World-Herald on Sunday that, given the timing, "We'll look for just the best available coach no matter the position (of expertise). At this time of year, you just find the best guy available. We all share in the position responsibilities and specialty teams. There are good people out there who are willing to move."
Considering it's already August and school is starting soon (almost all of MSU's players, for example, are already in Mankato and doing preseason workouts), Blais certainly could do a lot worse than add a two-time WCHA coach of the year to his staff. Jutting was reassigned from his coaching position in April and has since been working as a special assistant to MSU President Richard Davenport.
Minnesota State probably would be thrilled if Jutting takes the Omaha job. It would allow the university to wipe most of his 2012-13 salary off the books. When the school reassigned him in April, it had to pay him for the remainder of his contract, which expires June 30, 2013 and created the special assistant job for him. He was due about $160,000 for the final year of the deal. Combined with Hastings' $225,000 salary, that's a lot of dough invested in hockey coaches for this year.
Oh by the way, Minnesota State and Nebraska Omaha will play each other this season Dec. 14-15 in Omaha.