AHL's Guy Boucher is reported to be the new coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning
When Steve Yzerman took over as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, he hinted that he is willing to go outside the normal list of retreads when finding the team's new head coach. It sounds like that is what happened as reports out of Montreal say Guy Boucher, who has one year experience as a pro coach with AHL Hamilton, will be Tampa Bay's new bench boss.
Boucher, 38, would be the NHL's youngest head coach. Though the deal apparently is not finalized, it is being speculated Boucher will bring Hamilton assistants Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond.
It makes sense the reports would come out of Canada, and specifically Montreal, as Boucher headed the Canadiens top minor league affiliate. Boucher was named the AHL coach of the year after leading the Bulldogs to a North division title with a 51-17-10 record, second best in the league.
Boucher has had a distinguished career in the minor leagues, including the better part of 12 seasons in the Quebec Major Junior league, a league known for scoring. He was the head coach at Drummondville from 2006-09, and was an assistant for Canada's gold medal teams at the 2009 world championship and the 2008 under-18 championship. He is the fourth AHL coach to win 50 games in his first season.
Boucher had been tied to the Lightning since the team began its search, though not as prominently as Kevin Dineen, who was the early favorite to get the job. But on Monday, reports surfaced that Boucher had turned down the Blue Jackets and speculation began that it was because the Lightning was in the mix. The Montreal web site Rue Frontenac reported late Monday night Boucher was headed for Tampa Bay. There was no confirmation from the Lightning, though Yzerman has a previously scheduled noon media gathering today. The Lightning has not confirmed Boucher is the coach, and it is unclear if any official announcement is coming.
Others who were thought to be under consideration were Dineen, who for a while was a hot commodity as he also was rumored a big part of the Blue Jackets search and AHL coach Scott Arniel, who is expected to get the Columbus job. The name of Blackhawks assistant Mike Haviland, who is credited with the development of power forward Dustin Byfuglien, came up. But Chicago still is in the playoffs, and Yzerman apparently wanted to go another way.