The Buffalo Sabres need to get this one right. Since firing Lindy Ruff in 2013, the team has gone through six different head coaches and now must find another leader for their bench. Ron Rolston, Ted Nolan, Dan Bylsma, Phil Housley, and Ralph Krueger have all come and gone, with Don Granato being the latest interim bench boss. Granato is being considered in the search for a new head coach, but all indications are that GM Kevyn Adams will search far and wide before making a decision. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports today that Rick Tocchet and Bruce Boudreau have interviews lined up with the team.
Tocchet has also been linked to the Seattle Kraken and New York Rangers positions, following his departure from the Arizona Coyotes earlier this month. The team and coach decided to part ways after his contract came to an end, allowing him to pursue other opportunities elsewhere. It appears as though Tocchet is in high demand, at least at the interview stage, and that he will be able to secure a position somewhere before next season begins.
Boudreau is a bit of a different story, given that he didn’t coach at all this season after being fired by the Minnesota Wild last year. The 66-year-old has one of the highest winning percentages in league history with a .635 career record and won the Jack Adams Award in 2008 as the NHL’s best coach, but Boudreau has classically been unable to find any success in the postseason. Perhaps the Sabres don’t need to be picky when it comes to regular season versus playoff success at this point, but Boudreau’s name has not seemed as in-demand as it once was.
LeBrun also notes that the Sabres coaching search will include interviews with members of the college ranks and that there is no rush to fill the position. Though there are several college coaches that could be up for NHL opportunities, Nate Leaman is the one that is most often brought up. The Providence College bench boss has been a top coaching prospect for several years and recently took the U.S. Word Junior squad to a gold medal. Leaman is currently in Latvia with the World Championship team, serving as an assistant.