Ralph Kruger was hired less than two years ago by the Buffalo Sabres after a poor 2018-19 season. He was brought in to bring a winning culture and a strong work ethic to the Sabres. Instead, it seems that he quickly lost the room, the culture hasn't really changed, and the team had a 36-49-12 record with him at the helm. Despite some offseason additions, the team has come out flat this year. They are in a tough division, but they also haven't been able to take advantage of the other basement team in the East division with them,
The Sabres need a lot of changes to be made, and on Wednesday morning they took the easy road of shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic to see if it would make a difference. In the grand scheme of things, it won't lead them to the playoffs, and it won't get them anywhere near a Stanley Cup. However, on the smaller scale there will be a lot of fantasy repercussions.
Assistant coach Don Granato (brother of Hall of Famer Cammi Granato) is taking over as the interim head coach for the Sabres. He has a long history as an NHL assistant coach, and has racked up an impressive resume of AHL and USNTDP success. Granato joined the Sabres at the same time as Krueger, so he likely won't bring a huge cultural change. Expect the Sabres to fill the head coaching position in the offseason when they are able to fully assess the available options, and decide on how a coach might fit in with their team direction moving forward.
In the interim, what kind of impact can we expect for the Buffalo skaters? Well, not much is going to change much in net trying to find something between Jonas Johansson and Carter Hutton while waiting for Linus Ullmark to return. On defence, don't expect the minutes to change much, with Rasmus Ristolainen and Rasmus Dahlin logging 22-24 minutes in most games.
On forward, it's tough to evaluate without Jack Eichel, and we don't know how long he is out. With Granato's history in the AHL and the USNTDP, he may have a little more trust in the youth than Krueger. Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar, Jacob Bryson, and Tage Thompson will all be given the opportunity