On March 17, the Buffalo Sabres announced that head coach Ralph Krueger had been relieved of his duties.
Krueger, who’d been with the organization just under two years after taking over for Phil Housley, suddenly finds himself looking for work. Mired in a 12-game losing streak, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Krueger’s time in Buffalo to be coming to an end ahead of his official firing on March 17.
Assistant coach Don Granato will take over on an interim basis for the Sabres, but the chances of him becoming the next permanent coach appear to be slim.
In looking to project what the Sabres will do long term behind the bench, online sportsbook Sportsbook has released Buffalo Sabres next head coach odds.
John Tortorella headlines the list at +300 odds, with Bruce Boudreau (+350), Guy Boucher (+400), Gerard Gallant (+500) and Rick Tocchet (+600) next up on the oddsboard.
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Here’s a look at the shop’s Buffalo Sabres next head coach odds on who will take over permanently for Krueger:
Buffalo Sabres Next Head Coach Odds
Odds as of March 18 at Sportsbook
Will the Sabres’ Nightmare Season Continue?
Krueger is the sixth coach fired in just over eight calendar years in Buffalo. The franchise hasn’t made a playoff appearance since 2011, and that trend looks like it’s surely going to continue in a shortened season.
Krueger was fired a day after Buffalo’s winless streak grew to 0-10-2 following a 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Buffalo has been outscored by a combined 49-19 in matching the third-longest winless skid in team history.
The stats are ugly across the board for Buffalo. At 6-18-4, the punchless Sabres have been shut out as many times as they’ve won. They sit dead last in the league in wins, goals scored and points.
Buffalo has an overpriced and underperforming lineup, headlined by team captain Jack Eichel and recent free-agent signing Taylor Hall. Changes could be coming, as Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said, “We’re open to anything and everything,” when asked whether he’d consider moving Hall.
The Sabres’ gig is not the most attractive head coaching job in the league, but it is an NHL job all the same. For odds on the next coach to be fired this season, check out our Odds to Be Next NHL Coach Fired page.
Why is Torts the Favorite?
It’s hard to see Adams hiring a full-time head coach before the end of the season, so these odds are based on who’s potentially going to be available in the summer. Granato has the job right now, but I can’t see him getting the interim tag removed before the start of the 2022 season.
Clearly, Sportsbook is expecting a number of current head coaches to become available soon. Among the candidates listed in the top five on the oddsboard, both Tortorella and Tocchet are actively coaching in the league with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Arizona Coyotes, respectively.
Despite the number of coaches who don’t currently have jobs, it’s interesting to see Tortorella as the front-runner. The Blue Jackets are in the middle of an underwhelming season at 11-12-7 and have their work cut out for them to make the postseason.
Earlier in the year, Torts infamously got into it publicly with former Blue Jacket Pierre-Luc Dubois, who demanded a trade out of Ohio after multiple run-ins with Tortorella. Torts has even benched the newly acquired Patrik Laine on a few occasions, leading many pundits to wonder if the juice is worth the squeeze with Torts’ hard-nosed coaching style causing star players to become frustrated.
The Sabres are a soft team that needs some serious guidance, and Tortorella could be the right man for the job to whip them into shape if he gets his walking papers from the Blue Jackets in the offseason. He makes a lot of sense as the favorite in Buffalo Sabres next head coach odds.