The Rochester Americans are bringing in a face that’s familiar to many Buffalo Sabres fans, hiring Michael Peca as an assistant coach for the AHL club. Peca will replace Adam Mair, who has been named director of player development for the Sabres. Jason Karmanos, GM of the Americans, released a short statement on the hire:
Michael brings a wealth of experience as both a player and coach and will be a tremendous addition to our coaching staff in Rochester. He will play an integral role in the development of our prospects, and we look forward to him making an immediate impact for our organization.
Peca, 47, spent last season with the Washington Capitals as a development coach, but before that was part of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres program. A veteran of nearly 1,000 NHL games, he served as captain of the Sabres for four years, leading them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999. An Olympic gold medalist and two-time Selke Trophy winner, there’s plenty of knowledge and experience that Peca can impact on the young Sabres prospects.
That player development is key for a Sabres team that needs more than just the top picks to become NHL players. If they want to reach a level of contention, some of the team’s mid-round or even undrafted prospects will have to start providing value at the highest level. Peca’s job will now be to help guide those young players along the pipeline, showing them the path he took from the second round to the NHL.