Dan Lambert's one season as a head coach attracted the attention of Buffalo. His one season as a Sabres assistant was enough to make him a head coach again.
The Sabres shook up their coaching hierarchy Monday, naming Lambert as the bench boss in Rochester. Randy Cunneyworth, who guided the Amerks to a disappointing 34-38-4 record, will head back to the player development department.
Lambert's only previous experience as a head coach came in 2014-15. He led the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League to a 53-13-6 record and the Western Conference title. Buffalo hired him last September, and the 46-year-old worked in the press box on game nights and talked with the bench coaches via headset.
"We had a plan in place going into last season to eventually promote Dan to head coach of the Americans and transition Randy back to player development," Sabres General Manager Tim Murray said in a statement. "With his experience as a Sabres assistant last season, we felt Dan was ready to take on the added responsibility of being a head coach and implementing our organizational philosophy in Rochester."
Sabres coach Dan Bylsma will hire an assistant to replace Lambert. There is no timetable for an announcement.
Lambert spent five seasons as an assistant in Kelowna before taking over the Rockets. He played professionally for 19 seasons, spending time in the NHL, International Hockey League and Europe.
Cunneyworth, meanwhile, leaves the bench after setting the Amerks record for most career victories (340). He coached the Amerks from 2000 to 2008 before taking NHL jobs in Atlanta and Montreal. The 55-year-old rejoined Rochester last season after spending two years in the Sabres' development department.
The Amerks went 3-11-1 in their final 15 games and missed the postseason for the second straight year. They haven't won a playoff series since 2004-05.
"We did have our moments, but it certainly wasn't a fun year overall," Cunneyworth said last month when the Amerks cleaned out their lockers. "We had high expectations, and we just didn't quite meet the goals."