Mike Babcock will not be the next Sabres coach according to multiple reports, but that doesn't mean that there won't be a coach behind the Sabres bench this season. The Sabres will likely launch a real coaching search, and will have a bit of catching up to with the teams who weren't in the Babcock conversation.
Here are some of the names that will likely come up going forward.
Bylsma has as many Stanley Cups as Babcock - one - but he isn't as highly regarded. Much of that has been tied to having an incredibly talented roster featuring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He also was criticized heavily for the US's underwhelming results at the Olympics. However, you don't run into a Stanley Cup winner everyday. He's had two interviews already with the San Jose Sharks, and the Ray Shero connection in New Jersey could make them a candidate as well.
Speaking of the Devils, their former head coach Peter DeBoer has also been in the conversation. He was fired midway through this season and was replaced by New Jersey's three-headed coaching group. He was the Devils head coach for four years, making the Stanley Cup in his first year. However, he failed to make the playoffs the following two seasons. Prior to New Jersey he was the head coach of Florida for three seasons. He has a 205-183-70 record. He's already been in contact with San Jose according to reports.
Richardson has been a frequently brought up name when it came to the Sabres ever since Tim Murray took over the helm. He currently serves as the head coach of the Binghamton Senators, the AHL franchise that Murray overlooked during his time in Ottawa. His work with the B-Sens hasn't exactly been anything to get excited about. During his three seasons he's finisihed 44-24-8 twice, failing to make it out of the first round either time. This season the Sens were 34-34-0, missing the playoffs.
MacLean is also a Senator connection, and is a highly regarded hockey mind. In 2013 he won the Jack Adams Award as the league's top coach. He fell quickly from grace, getting fired following a fifth place finish in the Atlantic and a .500 start to this season. The Senators did turn things around following his firing, but much of that was due to the simply stellar play by goalie Andrew Hammond. He has a 114-90-35 record.
The former Lightning coach was reportedly in Toronto this morning to discuss the Leafs opening. But, that opening isn't quite as open anymore. It's been suggested that he could become one of Babcock's assistants, but obviously would jump at a head coaching opportunity. Boucher was the hottest coach out of the AHL when Tampa snatched him away from the Hamilton Bulldogs. He was with the Lightning for three years, making the Eastern Conference finals his first season, missing the playoffs his second and getting fired midway through the 2012-13 season. He is currently the coach for SC Bern of the Swiss Hockey League. He's innovative, playing any style needed to win (including the incredibly boring 1-3-1 trap that was mocked by Philadelphia). He also looks quite a bit like a Bond villan. TVA's Louis Jean reports New Jersey is in preliminary discussions with him.
He left the NHL with fanfare, and hasn't really been heard from much since. The former Sabres assistant and Americans head coach last coached Vancouver in 2014, missing the playoffs in his only season with the Canucks. Torts days in Vancouver were filled with controversy, from the Canucks-Flames fight to benching and eventually trading Roberto Luongo. The Canucks decided after one year they were ready to move on. Vancouver, who in a way traded coaches with Vancouver the off-season prior, was very happy with their new bench boss, former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.
Cunneyworth was just promoted to a new position by Murray this off-season, Player Developmental Coach. He is already in the organization and has head coaching experience with the Montreal Canadiens, though that didn't go very well. Cunneyworth took over when the Canadiens fired Jacques Martin, finishing out the final 50 games of the season. He finished with an 18-23-9 record, and hasn't coached since. He was the head coach of the Rochester Americans from 2001 to 2008, making the playoffs six times.
Possible coaches yet to be fired...
There are still some other coaches who aren't exactly in the clear just yet. The Blues and Ken Hitchcock are in an interesting position, as St. Louis was reportedly very interested in Babcock. Since they didn't land him either, they may decide to keep Hitchcock. New Bruins GM Don Sweeney said today in his introductory press conference that he isn't ready to commit to Claude Julien just yet.