In a day of big announcements for the Buffalo Sabres, another one has come in just under the “Friday at 5pm” wire - the Rochester Americans have announced that former Amerk and Sabre player Chris Taylor has been hired to be their new head coach.
Taylor played and coached for the Amerks over a span of 14 seasons, and appeared in a Sabres jersey during four different seasons. He has most recently served as an assistant coach for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and was hired by former Penguins assistant GM, now Sabres Assistant/Rochester GM Randy Sexton.
This hire makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. There’s the obvious connection to the Sabres and Amerks, and the obvious familiarity that Sexton and Botterill presumably have with Taylor, but Taylor has a ton of experience in the AHL with just enough of a taste of the NHL to help develop and relate to his future players in Rochester.
Taylor, and his GM Sexton, will look to start to build a consistent winner in Rochester as they did in Wilkes-Barre, which would be a welcome change for an Amerks organization that has been too often ignored over the past few seasons as the Sabres have raided them for injury and talent call-ups.
One thing that will help is the presumed presence of defenseman Brendan Guhle, who will likely start the season in Rochester thanks to the acquisitions of Victor Antipin, Nathan Beaulieu, and just today, Marco Scandella. Who knows which of Justin Bailey, Hudson Fasching, Nick Baptiste, or Evan Rodrigues will start the year in Rochester as well, but it’s up to Sexton and Taylor to mold these young players into future NHL contributors as they did with Pittsburgh.