New coach Ralph Krueger has completed his staff with the hiring of Don Granato as an assistant coach, the Buffalo Sabres announced Friday. The team also confirmed that Steve Smith will be retained from the current staff and that Mike Bales has been hired as the new goaltending coach after serving the last two years in Carolina, moves reported by The News and multiple other outlets on Wednesday.
Granato, 51, spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks after serving as the associate head coach for the University of Wisconsin during the 2016-17 season. He was the head coach of the United States National Team Development Program for five seasons from 2011-16, leading his teams to victories at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the 2015 IIHF World U18 Championship. He also served USA Hockey as an assistant coach at the World Junior (2015) and the World Championship (2014, 2018).
Granato also spent eight seasons with the St. Louis Blues, one as an NHL assistant (2005-06) and seven as the franchise's AHL head coach in Worcester (2000-2005) and Chicago (2008-2010). He was the 2001 winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award for the AHL’s most outstanding coach. Granato won the ECHL's Kelly Cup with the Peoria Rivermen in 2000.
He is the brother of longtime NHLer and current Wisconsin coach Tony Granato, and U.S. Olympic women's star Cammi Granato.
Bales spent the last two years in Carolina after six seasons in Pittsburgh, where he won two Stanley Cups and was instrumental in the development of Matt Murray as a rookie in 2015-16, when he led the Penguins past San Jose in the Stanley Cup final.
Smith, a three-time Cup winner with Edmonton, is the lone holdover from Phil Housley's staff. Davis Payne, Chris Hajt and goaltending coach Andrew Allen have not been retained.