The Florida Panthers had been rumored to be interested in several still-working assistant coaches in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and one name has finally come out. Washington Capitals’ associate coach Todd Reirden, whose team was eliminated just five days ago, will interview for the head coaching job in Florida, and is also a candidate for the job in Buffalo according to Frank Seravalli of TSN.
Despite Seravalli’s inclusion of Buffalo, it would be surprising to see the Sabres hire a coach so closely tied to the recently fired Dan Bylsma. Reirden worked with Bylsma in Wilkes-Barre Scranton and then in Pittsburgh after Byslma was promoted in the Pittsburgh system, only splitting apart in 2013-14. While it’s obviously not impossible, bringing in such a similar coach—or at least one with such a connected background—may be a mistake by the Sabres.
Florida seems much more likely as a destination for the associate coach, who was given that promotion this year when he took the reins in training camp for the Capitals while Barry Trotz was off at the World Cup with Team Canada. Reirden works mostly with the defense of the Capitals, who took big strides in the regular season only to be exposed somewhat in the playoffs against Pittsburgh. His work as an assistant coach has been praised however, and at just 45 would give the Panthers an up-and-coming option behind the bench.
Florida has also been linked to University of Denver head coach Jim Montgomery, former Montreal Canadiens bench boss Michel Therrien and other assistants around the league like Phil Housley and Bob Boughner.