Carson Babbini | May 17th, 2019
The Buffalo Sabres have finally found their new head coach after firing Phil Housley in April as the team announced yesterday that they have hired Ralph Krueger to become the nineteenth head coach in Sabres history. According to Pierre LeBrun, the deal is a reported three-year contract worth somewhere between $11.5 and $12 million, averaging just under four million dollars per year.
Krueger comes to the Sabres after having some time away from the hockey world altogether. Krueger was previously the chairman of Southhampton Football Club, a soccer team in the Premier League in England, for five years before resigning from that position on April twelfth. Krueger does have experience in the NHL as a head coach. He was the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. That season, the Oilers ended up finishing 19-22-7. Krueger also has a little bit of international coaching experience as the head coach of Team Europe during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Krueger will certainly have a good group to come back into the NHL with. With his new young stars in Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, and Rasmus Ristolainen among others, Krueger is coming into a situation where expectations may be high. After all, the Sabres were one of the great surprises of the first half of the season before collapsing in the second half and missing out on the playoffs. One of Krueger’s first priorities will no doubt be to try and resign free agent Jeff Skinner. Skinner was an amazing acquisition for the Sabres, tying his career high in points with 63 in his first season in Buffalo, and set a new career high in goals with 40.
Buffalo fans may be skeptical with this choice due to Krueger’s inexperience at the NHL level as well as the fact he hasn’t been around hockey too much lately. Krueger, however, said in his first press conference that he has observed the league from afar, even adding that NHL.com is his homepage when he starts up his computer. Krueger no doubt has the passion for the game, but it remains to be seen if that translates to on-ice success.
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