While most of the talk surrounding coaching changes in the NHL this summer will revolve around current Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and his potential landing spot, another candidate for the position of big league bench boss has emerged: the Ottawa Senators' AHL coach, Luke Richardson.
According to the Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren, Richardson's deal in Binghamton, where Ottawa's farm club is located, is up now that the 2014-15 campaign is over and he'll be listening to whatever offers come his way. In the past couple of off-seasons, Richardson's name had been mentioned when it came to coaching vacancies throughout the league and, with a number of openings available this summer, it's possible he finally finds his way onto an NHL bench this summer.
In the 228 AHL contests that Richardson has patrolled the bench for, he's amassed a record of 122-82-24 and reached the post-season in each of his first two seasons as coach of the AHL's Senators. With a depleted roster stripped of most of its young talent this year, Richardson's club failed to make the playoffs.
Babcock's future in Detroit leaves questions about the potential for an opening in Hockeytown, but there are already vacancies in Toronto, Philadelphia, Buffalo and San Jose, with potential for Edmonton to also be looking for a coach. St. Louis, after another first-round exit, could also send coach Ken Hitchcock packing which would open yet another job.
The closest ties Richardson has with an organization are in Buffalo, where Sabres GM Tim Murray, formerly an assistant GM in Ottawa, could pursue Richardson as the replacement for fired coach Ted Nolan.
Warren reported in the Ottawa Citizen that Richardson has interest in remaining close to his daughter, who plays in Upstate New York at Cornell University and is entering her final season. That would be yet another tie to Buffalo, as the First Niagara Center, the Sabres' home arena, is no more than a three-hour drive from Ithaca, N.Y., where Cornell is located.
Drafted seventh overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1987 draft, Richardson is a veteran of 1,417 NHL contests. During his career, spent with the Leafs, Oilers, Flyers, Blue Jackets, Lightning and Senators, he registered 33 goals and 192 points to go along with more than 2,000 penalty minutes.