BUFFALO — The Sabres will have a different look behind the bench next season, as Brian McCutcheon’s contract hasn’t been renewed.
McCutcheon, 61, spent 11 years with the Sabres, including the last five as coach Lindy Ruff’s associate coach.
“This was a difficult decision for me to make,” Ruff said in a press release. “After meeting with Brian, I felt that we needed to go in a different direction with my staff moving forward.”
McCutcheon could still stay in the organization, however. General manager Darcy Regier has said he will be considered for the team’s vacant AHL head coaching spot in Portland, which opened Tuesday when Kevin Dineen accepted Florida’s job.
“We have not closed the door on a different opportunity within the organization for Brian in the future,” Regier said in a statement.
Possible replacements for McCutcheon include Clarence native Kevyn Adams, currently the Sabres’ player development coach, and popular former team captain Mike Foligno, an Anaheim assistant.
Before McCutcheon moved up 2000, he spent three years as Rochester’s coach, leading the Americans, then the Sabres’ top affiliate, to the Calder Cup final in 1999 and 2000. He went 128-82-9 overall and was runner-up for Coach of the Year his last two seasons.
McCutcheon, whose duties with the Sabres included the power play, has also coached in other minor leagues and the NCAA, including a six-year stint at Cornell. He played 37 NHL games with Detroit in the mid-1970s.
“It was a difficult decision, but I agree that at this point in my career, it is time to move on to something different,” McCutcheon said in a statement.
“I’m looking forward to exploring different career options, including any offered by the Sabres organization.”