There is a huge story brewing with the Sabres organization that is being lost among the talk of the draft and upcoming free agency, Sabres AHL coach Randy Cunneyworth will become a coaching free agent in August. Cunneyworth has been contacted by several NHL teams to be an assistant coach and he may leave to pursue an NHL opportunity.
Cunneyworth has been the head coach with the Rochester Americans since 2000 when he retired from playing with the Amerks. He has coached the Amerks for eight seasons and he has only missed the playoffs twice, including last season when the Amerks organization was in turmoil due to ownership issues and the news that the Sabres would no longer be affiliated.
Cunneyworth won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial award (given to the best coach in the AHL) in 2004-2005 in addition to his many other accomplishments. Other winners of the award include Claude Julien, Peter Laviolette, Barry Trotz, Jacques Demers and even John Muckler. That is pretty good company to be in and many of those coaches have had plenty of success in the NHL.
If Cunneyworth does not return to coach the Portland Pirates it would be a huge blow to the Sabres organization as a whole. I feel that Cunneyworth is an outstanding coach and he will someday be a successful coach at the NHL level. If the Sabres were not so enamored with Lindy Ruff (and rightfully so), Cunneyworth would probably be the coach of the Buffalo Sabres. I never want to wish bad things for someone but I truly hope that he does not accept an NHl position and he returns to the Sabres organization as the coach of the Portland Pirates.