Jack McIlhargey is still an active scout for the Philadelphia Flyers so he wasn’t in a position Tuesday to declare his old pal John Stevens as a top candidate for the Vancouver Canucks’ vacant head coaching position.

But Jack Mac did say Stevens is itching for a second chance to run a National Hockey League bench. In McIlhargey’s opinion, Stevens is eminently qualified.

“John definitely wants another opportunity in the National Hockey League,” said McIlhargey, who was an assistant coach under Stevens for two years and 26 games when both were with the Flyers. “That’s his goal. He’s a classy guy who does an excellent job. He’s very organized, very knowledgeable and a very good communicator.

“He deserves another chance and he is ready. He’s a very, very good coach.”

Stevens, 47 and from Campbellton, N.B., was linked to the Canuck coach search this past weekend. He’s been an assistant with the L.A. Kings for four seasons, moving on to SoCal after his time in Philly ended. He won a Cup with the Kings last year and has a chance at a repeat after L.A. punted the San Jose Sharks Tuesday to stay alive in the 2013 tournament. Stevens coached the Flyers for 264 games from 2006-09 and reached the Eastern Conference final once. As a minor-league coach, he won an American Hockey League title with the Philly Phantoms in 2004-05.

Stevens also played 12 professional seasons as a defenceman, most of those in the minors, after a junior career with the Oshawa Generals. (One of his Oshawa teammates was Canucks icon Kirk McLean.)

His NHL playing career consisted of 53 games with the Flyers and Hartford Whalers and ended in 1999 because of an eye injury. In the minors, he won three AHL championships as a player and was captain on two of the victorious teams, the 1990-91 Springfield Indians and the 1997-98 Phantoms.

“You’re not going to find a coach who works harder than John,” McIlhargey said.

“From my side as an assistant, he was a great guy, You learn from him and he listens to you. He communicates well with older guys and with younger players. Sure he can get fiery. I mean, every coach gets mad once in a while, but he knows when to get mad and he’s not the kind of guy who flies off the handle. He’s very controlled and composed and very competent.”

And good with the media?

“The media would like him,” McIlhargey chuckled. “He’s very respectful. He can handle the media.”