In late-May, it was reported that the Ottawa Senators had tabled an offer to free agent bench boss Luke Richardson in hopes that he would come back for at least one more season to coach the AHL’s Binghamton Senators.
That became a reality Tuesday, as the Senators announced the club and Richardson have come to terms on a new, one-year deal that will bring him back to Binghamton for the 2015-16 campaign.
“We’re very excited to have Luke back behind the bench next season,” said Binghamton Senators general manager Randy Lee in a release. “As we witnessed with last week’s development camp, the growth and development of the young players in our organization is one of our highest priorities. Luke has shown a tremendous ability to push our players to be better and, even more importantly, to be fully prepared when they get the call to the National Hockey League.”
Richardson has consistently been mentioned among the potential coaching candidates to get the call up from the AHL to take an NHL job, but he’s yet to find a landing spot. This past off-season, with several coaching vacancies around the league, seemed like the surest shot for Richardson and some believed him to be a front-runner for the Buffalo Sabres gig.
However, with former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma getting tabbed for the job in Buffalo, as well as a number of coaches with NHL experience shuffling around the NHL during what was one of the hottest coaching markets in league history, Richardson was one of the odd men out when it came to landing a big league position.
That Richardson signed a one-year deal means he’s likely to hit the open market again come next off-season, though. While it likely won’t be a move to Ottawa – the Senators signed coach Dave Cameron to a two-year extension earlier this off-season – Richardson will likely draw interest for whichever coaching positions open up during the season and into next summer.
In three seasons in Binghamton, he’s led the Senators affiliate to a 122-82-11-13 record and two post-season appearances. He was also the Eastern Conference all-star coach in 2012-13.