Fantasy Impact: Buffalo Hires Ralph Krueger
Fantasy Impact: The Buffalo Sabres have found their head coach. After an extended search with all the big name players rumoured, the Sabres went a different direction, hiring international sensation, Ralph Krueger. Krueger, who was Switzerland’s national coach from 1998 to 2010, has just 48 games of experience as a head coach in the NHL. He steered the Oilers through a difficult lockout-shortened season to a record of 19-22-7. He was swiftly removed that summer. Krueger then went to the English Premier League where he was the Chairman of the Southhampton Football Club. He dabbled with hockey when he coached Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey in 2016. There he took a group of ugly ducklings and made them look like swans. The Sabres, who haven't tasted the postseason in eight seasons, hope he can do the same with them
Buffalo has several envious pieces moving forward with cornerstones, Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin leading the charge. They also boast some high-end prospects in Casey Mittelstadt and Ukko-Pekka Luukonen. But they need more. The team scored just the 23rd most goals while allowing the eighth most. They need to decide if they can afford 40-goal man, Jeff Skinner. And if they can't, how do they go about replacing their top scorer?
The Sabres own the seventh overall selection this June – the seventh straight top-eight selection for the club. It should net another high-end asset but at some point, the rebuild must come to a close. Surely that is the message coming from ownership. Those around Krueger praise his creative and forward-thinking model. He gets the most from his players. They respect him and appreciate his communication skills. This all sounds positive to me.
At the end of the day, the results need to be there.
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