NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Buffalo Sabres are about to become the only NHL team without a head coach.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Florida Panthers are closing in on a deal to make San Jose assistant and former Buffalo defenseman Bob Boughner their new main man. The Panthers were turned down by University of Denver coach Jim Montgomery and were expected to wait until the Stanley Cup final had been completed to interview Nashville assistant Phil Housley, but have apparently decided to move on and go with Boughner. His hiring is expected to be announced Monday.
Boughner was interviewed by Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill for the Buffalo post on May 30. He won two Memorial Cup championships as the head coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires in 2009 and 2010.
The Sabres have also interviewed former Philadelphia coach Craig Berube, former Columbus coach Scott Arniel and Washington assistant Todd Reirden. Berube spent last year with the AHL's Chicago Wolves and is rumored to be joining Mike Yeo as an assistant in St. Louis next season.
The interviews with Arniel and Reirden were reported Saturday afternoon by Sportsnet. Arniel, a former Sabres player, is an associate coach for the New York Rangers while Reirden was also an assistant with Pittsburgh under Dan Bylsma and coached Botterill's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton team in the AHL.
The Boughner news leaves the Sabres with their choice of Housley or Pittsburgh assistant Rick Tocchet, who spent parts of two years as the head coach of Tampa Bay. They have been Buffalo's long-rumored top two choices, and Botterill is simply playing the waiting game with the Cup final potentially stretching until Game Seven on Wednesday night.
Botterill has said he wants a coach in place by the draft, which is set for June 23-24 in Chicago.