BUFFALO, N.Y. – Sabres coach Ted Nolan unveiled his new staff of assistants, who will include former NHL players Bryan Trottier and Arturs Irbe.
And first-year general manager Tim Murray also shuffled his hockey department on Monday by making three moves, including hiring Rob Murphy to the newly created role of director of scouting.
Greg Royce was hired as director of amateur scouting, and Murray promoted Mark Jakubowski to take over as assistant general manager. Assistant GM Kevin Devine previously split both duties in Buffalo, and it’s unclear if he is still with the team.
The additions and changes continue a series of shake-ups that have occurred since Nolan and Murray took over midway through last season.
The Sabres have spent much of the past year rebuilding from scratch. Buffalo (21-51-10) bottomed out last season after finishing last in the standings and set a franchise record for losses.
Trottier provides Nolan’s staff a high-profile presence.
He is the former New York Islanders star forward and Hockey Hall of Famer, who has won seven Stanley Cup championships as a player and assistant coach. Trottier has nine years of NHL coaching experience split between Pittsburgh, Colorado and the New York Rangers. It was with the Rangers where he spent part of the 2002-03 season as head coach.
Irbe will serve as goalie coach. He is a two-time All-Star goalie, who spent 13 seasons in the NHL, before leaving to play in Europe.
“I’m very happy with the group of talented hockey minds we were able to assemble,” Nolan said. “Each of these coaches brings an extensive and different background from the hockey world. And I’m confident they will help get our team to where it needs to go this season.”
Nolan rounded out his staff by hiring Danny Flynn and Tom Coolen.
The four newcomers take over after Nolan elected to replace the staff he inherited from former coach Ron Rolston, who was fired in November. Nolan took over on an interim basis before signing a three-year contract extension in March.
Nolan coached the Islanders from 2006-08, when he first got to know Trottier.
And he has ties to his three other assistants.
Irbe is from Latvia, and worked with Nolan, who also doubled as coach of the country’s national team. Coolen was also an assistant in Latvia.
Flynn spent the past six seasons coaching QMJHL Moncton, where he was the league’s 2009 coach of the year. He is reunited with Nolan after previously working as his assistant with the Islanders and OHL Sault Ste. Marie in the 1990s.
Murray, who previously served as the Ottawa Senators assistant GM, also leaned on past connections in shuffling his staff.
Both Murphy and Royce previously worked as scouts in Ottawa.
Jakubowski has 10 years of experience with the Sabres, including the past six as an assistant to the general manager.