Hamilton Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher has accepted an offer from Tampa Bay to become the NHL team’s new head coach, according to the Montreal-based website ruefrontenac.com and the CBC.
Sources say the Lightning are expected to confirm the hiring at a news conference on Wednesday and Boucher will bring his two assistant coaches from the AHL team, Martin Raymond and Daniel Lacroix.
Earlier on Monday, Boucher had declined an offer to coach the Columbus Blue Jackets. A report in the Columbus Dispatch said the Blue Jackets’ job will be awarded to Manitoba Moose coach Scott Arneil.
Boucher was offered the Blue Jackets position late last week and had been given the weekend to consider it.
Boucher has just completed his first season at the helm of the Bulldogs, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.
He guided the Bulldogs to a 52-17-3-8 record, tops in the Western Conference and second highest in the AHL. The Bulldogs then eliminated Manitoba and Abbotsford en route to the Calder Cup semifinals, where the were upset in seven games by the Texas Stars.
Boucher, 38, would become the youngest head coach in the NHL and would work under new Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman.
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik fired general manger Brian Lawton and head coach Rick Tocchet after the end of the regular season.