Buffalo’s coaching search has come to an end. Ralph Krueger will be the next head coach of the Sabres.
Krueger has largely been out of hockey for the last few years as he had served as the Director and Chairman of Southhampton FC since 2014. His only coaching during that time was with Team World at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey where they surprisingly reached the Gold Medal game.
The 59-year-old has three years of NHL coaching experience with Edmonton. He spent two years with them as an Associate Coach after being hired in 2010 following more than a decade with Switzerland’s national team. Krueger was then promoted to head coach for the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign but was dismissed following the season. Interestingly, he’s already familiar with one of Buffalo’s assistants as Steve Smith was part of the staff during his time with the Oilers.
Krueger will be taking the place of Phil Housley who was let go at the end of the season. The Sabres have had a bit of a coaching carousel in recent years; this is the fifth new bench boss Buffalo has had since 2013.
As was the case during his time with Edmonton, Krueger will be tasked with trying to instil some structure to the Sabres. Despite changing their goaltending tandem over the summer, they still struggled to keep the puck out of the net as they ranked 23rd in the league in that category and their back end was prone to some untimely lapses in their own zone.
The heat will likely be on pretty quickly as Buffalo has now missed the playoffs for the last eight years and there isn’t much patience remaining from ownership to turn things around. However, GM Jason Botterill clearly feels that Krueger is the right one for the job; Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic notes (Twitter link) that the interview process was a thorough one with seven coaches getting considered.