While new Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill continues to search for a new coach for his NHL club, he’ll also have to be on the lookout for an AHL bench boss. Today, it was announced that Botterill and the Sabres have fired Rochester American’s head coach Dan Lambert. The team will immediately begin a search for his replacement, something that Botterill has done before as the previous GM of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Lambert took over as head coach of the Amerks this year after serving as an assistant to Dan Bylsma in Buffalo in 2015-16. The AHL team finished with a losing record for the third straight season, and will now be looking for their fourth head coach in four years. Despite some talented young players and a goaltender that has shown he can compete at the NHL level, the team floundered near the bottom of the North Division. In Pittsburgh, great emphasis was placed on the AHL team as a developmental tool for future NHL players and coaches to great success. Botterill had a huge hand in that, first bringing in current Penguins’ coach Mike Sullivan and then Clark Donatelli, a man recently linked to the Sabres search.
The Sabres have committed to restructuring their organization under Botterill, and this will now allow him to build the Amerks back from the ground up. Botterill had previously said that he wanted an NHL coach hired by the entry draft, but the minor league level could likely wait a little longer. We’ll see if he goes with a new face, or someone he’s worked with in the past.