The next Bruins head coach will be…
As former Bruins’ head coach Bruce Cassidy has been hired by the Vegas Golden Knights, the Bruins search for their next head coach continues.
From young blood to old, experienced NHL coaches to those with none, there’s plenty of coaching talent out there for the Bruins to choose from.
Ideally, the Bruins will look outside the organization to address their coaching vacancy.
Let’s take a look at some of the options the Bruins have.
There’s no denying Jay Leach makes sense. Leach was an assistant coach with the Providence Bruins for one season before being promoted to head coach, a position he held for four seasons. Leach spent the 2021-22 season in Seattle as an assistant under Dave Hakstol.
Where it appears, the Bruins are heading towards a rebuild, injecting youth into their lineup, Leach has had success in Providence with younger players such as Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen, Trent Frederic and others.
Add in the fact that general manager Don Sweeney knows Leach and very much wanted him to stay with Providence when he made the decision to head to Seattle, Leach seemingly would be the favorite.
While Leach did an outstanding job in Providence and undoubtedly has an NHL head coaching job in his future, while *technically* this hiring would be from outside the organization, it still feels too close to home.
David Quinn is an interesting name to watch here. Quinn coached both Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy during his time as head coach at Boston University. Quinn recently coached Team USA at both the 2022 Olympics and 2022 World Championships.
Quinn spent three seasons in New York as head coach of the Rangers, taking them to the playoffs once in those three years.
If Sweeney’s ideal candidate is someone who has proven to work well with younger players and has NHL head coaching experience, Quinn very well may be exactly who Sweeney is looking for.
I’m a big fan of Barry Trotz, I think he’s one of the best coaches in the game. The fact that Trotz is even on the market is quite shocking.
In four seasons as head coach of the New York Islanders, Trotz took the Islanders to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, reaching the Conference Finals in 2019-20 and the Stanley Cup semifinals in 2020-21.
After failing to qualify for the playoffs this past season, the Islanders fired Trotz. Trotz led the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup in 2018.
Given the direction the Bruins are likely heading towards, I am not sure that Trotz is the right fit here.
To me, Nate Leaman is the Bruins best choice here.
Currently the head coach at Providence College, Leaman was very close to becoming head coach of the Providence Bruins before Leach ultimately got the job.
At Providence, Leaman led the Friars to a National Championship in 2015 and took the Friars back to the Frozen Four in 2019.
Leaman has international coaching experience, being a part of coaching staffs of USA World Championships teams as well as World Juniors, leading Team USA to gold in 2011.
Recently Leaman has signed a multi-year contract with Providence College, one that reportedly pays him very well. If Leaman does not get the Bruins head coaching job for whatever reason, it sure seems like a matter of when, not if, he finds his way to the NHL.
The 53-year old Jim Montgomery was impressive as head coach of the Dallas Stars in parts of two seasons before he was let go by the Stars for unprofessional conduct. Shortly thereafter, Montgomery entered a rehabilitation facility for alcohol abuse and has been sober since.
Before Dallas, Montgomery spent five seasons at the University of Denver where he led the Pioneers to a National Championship in 2017.
In 2020, Montgomery signed a two-year contract serving as assistant coach to Craig Berube in St. Louis.
Like some of the other coaches on this list, Montgomery has found success with younger players, something that Sweeney felt Cassidy lacked at times.
So, who is it?
If I were doing the hiring, Nate Leaman would be my choice. However, I think it’s ultimately Jay Leach that replaces Bruce Cassidy and becomes the next head coach of the Boston Bruins.