A five-week long exhaustive coaching search that began with the firing of Phil Housley has reportedly led Buffalo Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill to a man with perhaps one of the most unique resumes in professional hockey.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, Ralph Krueger, a 59-year-old who previously coached the Edmonton Oilers and the Swiss National Team, will be named the 19th coach in Sabres franchise history. An announcement is expected as soon as Wednesday.
Though Krueger was behind the Oilers' bench for only 48 games during a lockout-shortened 2012-13 seasons, he spent two years as an assistant with the team and led Switzerland at 15 international tournaments during a 13-year span. Krueger has not been behind the bench in any role since 2016, when he led Team Europe on a remarkable run to the World Cup of Hockey final.
Instead, he has served as chairman of English Premier League's Southampton F.C. since March 2014 and was dismissed by the team last month. The expectation was any return to hockey likely would be in a similar management position, but Botterill has seemingly lured Krueger back into coaching.
Krueger's exit from the NHL six years ago is likely more surprising than his return.
During his one season as head coach, the Oilers went 19-22-7 with a roster that included nine players under the age of 24. Under Krueger's guidance, winger Taylor Hall finished ninth in the league with 50 points. Additionally, Edmonton's power play and penalty kill ranked seventh and ninth, respectively.