Ruff Returns to Sabres: A Familiar Face for a Young Team
Image by @BuffaloSabres (X)

Ruff Returns to Sabres: A Familiar Face for a Young Team

Ruff Returns to Sabres: A Familiar Face for a Young Team

On 22nd April 2024, the Buffalo Sabres brought back a familiar face to fill their vacant head coach position for the upcoming 2024-25 season. Lindy Ruff, the franchise’s leader in wins as head coach with 571 victories notched between 1997 and 2013, returned to the scene of his greatest success. Since then, he’s had spells in charge of the Dallas Stars and most recently the New Jersey Devils, where he was relieved of his duties midway through the 2023-24 season.

With Don Granato mustering a record of 122 wins, 125 losses, and 26 ties during his time with the Sabres, and failing to reach the playoffs on each occasion, he was dismissed at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season. Ruff, a winner of the Jack Adams Award in 2005-06, boasts a remarkable history with the Sabres.

However, his past wasn’t the sole reason for his appointment. “Lindy is the right man for the job at this present time,” said general manager Kevyn Adams regarding the move, “and any past with our organisation and the local community is simply an additional benefit.”

The Sabres were the NHL’s youngest team in 2023-24, while the Devils were the fourth youngest in 2022-23. During his tenure with the Devils, Ruff oversaw a significant turnaround, guiding a team that earned 63 points in 2021-22 to a total of 112 points and a playoff series victory the following season. This demonstrates his ability to get the best out of young players.

Unless the Sabres make significant alterations to their line-up, they’re likely to remain one of the younger teams in the league once more. The positive aspect of appointing Ruff is that with the Devils, he orchestrated a major improvement and helped his youngsters mature, something the Sabres desperately require. If he can replicate some of that success, he could well stick around in Buffalo for an extended period, just as he did during his first stint.