Jason Botterill will be conducting two coaching searches instead of one after firing Rochester coach Dan Lambert on Friday.
The Sabres' new general manager met with Lambert this week to discuss the organization's failed season. As in Buffalo, there will be a fresh start with the Amerks.
“I would like to thank Dan for his hard work and contributions to our organization during the last two seasons, and I wish him the best in the future,” Botterill said. “I felt this was the right move for both the Sabres and Amerks, and we will begin the process of searching for a new head coach immediately.”
Lambert joined the Sabres in 2015-16 after a successful stint in junior hockey. He served as Dan Bylsma's assistant during his opening year with Buffalo to learn how to deal with professional players. He took over as the Amerks' bench boss this season.
It was a rough year. Rochester went just 32-41-3, finishing 26th in the 30-team American Hockey League.
After a long playing career that included 29 NHL games and concluded overseas, Lambert served as an assistant coach for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League for five seasons. He inherited the top job in 2014-15.
Lambert immediately put his name on the hot list by guiding Kelowna to a 53-13-6 record. The Sabres hired him with their two-year plan to learn from Bylsma and take over in Rochester.
After the losing season, Lambert was hopeful of returning to Rochester but aware he might not.
"Things do change daily when you do have an organization where both teams don’t make the playoffs and people are unhappy," the 47-year-old said during Rochester's locker cleanout.
Botterill has a list of candidates for the coaching job in Buffalo, which he wants filled by the NHL Draft on June 23. The talks will now include the position in Rochester.
Though there is often turnover at the minor-league level, the Amerks have been in constant flux. The next coach will be their fourth in four seasons. Chadd Cassidy completed a two-year run in 2015. Longtime Rochester coach Randy Cunneyworth returned for 2015-16 while Lambert was in training.