Bruce Cassidy led the Boston Bruins to the playoffs in all six seasons as head coach. Cassidy’s 245 wins with Boston were third-most in the National Hockey League, and the team came within one win of winning the Stanley Cup in 2019. This past season, the Bruins overcame COVID, a poor start, and injuries to earn 107 points. All of that led to a surprising firing on Monday. Cassidy should be on several teams’ lists of candidates for another coaching job soon if he wants one. Now, it is up to Don Sweeney to pick the next head coach of the Bruins, as many questions remain regarding the team.
A few candidates come to mind, and it will be up to Sweeney and Team President Cam Neely to choose between an established coach or a younger, less experienced coach who could potentially lead a roster upheaval. Here are a few names that may come up in the coming days:
The New York Islanders fired Trotz at the end of a disappointing season in a move that was a similar surprise to Cassidy’s termination. Trotz coached fifteen seasons in Nashville and four seasons in Washington, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2017-18 and has won two Jack Adams Awards as NHL Coach of the Year. Winnipeg and Vegas have been on Trotz’s shortlist so far. Boston might be added soon.
This would be a less likely choice, but Tocchet does have six years of NHL head coaching experience, although he does have a losing record of 178-200-60. The former Flyer has been linked to Philadelphia’s coaching vacancy, but Tocchet did play one season with Boston.
Bowness is a highly regarded NHL coach who just left his position with Dallas. Bowness did coach the Bruins to the third round in his one year as head coach in 1991-92. A return is possible, although he could be brought in as an assistant to help a less experienced option.
Leach was the Providence Bruins’ head coach for five seasons and has worked with some of the younger prospects in the organization. He is currently an assistant with Seattle. One reason for firing Cassidy was the high demand and short leash on younger players. The Bruins have a few younger players who could be joining the roster in the coming years. If the Bruins want a more comforting voice, Leach could be the guy.
Savard is a former Bruin who helped start a resurgence of the Bruin organization after signing with the club in 2006. Savard is now coaching the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. The former center also worked as an assistant with the St. Louis Blues in 2019-20. Savard is a favorite of many Bruins fans and has expressed in the past that being the Bruins’ head coach is a dream job.
The former Bruins’ winger is a dark horse but could receive some consideration after leading the German National Team to an improbable Silver Medal finish in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Sturm is now an assistant on the Los Angeles Kings and helped lead them to a playoff berth. The former 1996 first-round pick scored 106 goals in 302 games with Boston.
The Boston Bruins have many decisions to make this off-season, and the head coach is at the forefront. Look for the Bruins to find a coach who can compete with the current roster and have the patience to move along the young players who are coming down the pipeline. This will be General Manager Don Sweeney’s second head coaching hire. Hopefully, for Bruins fans, it will be as successful as his first.