After losing out on the Bruce Boudreau sweepstakes, the Ottawa Senators have hired Guy Boucher as their new head coach.
The 44-year-old agreed to terms on a three-year contract and will become the 12th coach in franchise history.
Boucher is coming off a three-season stint with SC Bern in Switzerland’s National League A. He posted a 44-29-5 record with the Swiss team before he was fired following a four-game losing skid and a ninth place finish in the league.
Boucher’s previous NHL experience came with the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he led them to the Eastern Conference Final in 2011. He was 97-78-20 with Tampa before he was fired. Ironically, Steve Yzerman canned Boucher following a 5-3 loss to the Senators. The Lightning found itself 14th in the Eastern Conference.
“Over the past three weeks, Pierre Dorion and our hockey operations staff have undertaken a thorough and comprehensive search for our next head coach,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said. “Following a detailed evaluation of all coaching candidates, there was overwhelming consensus that Guy was our top candidate.”
Boucher steps in as the replacement for the fired Dave Cameron, who was fired last month after posting a 70-50-17 record with the Senators. Dorion, who took over the general manager post after Bryan Murray stepped down, really has the opportunity to put his mark on the team in terms of the coaching department.
And while it’s clear that Dorion and the Senators likely had their sights set on Boudreau, Boucher makes for an interesting consolation prize.
For one thing, he’s a defensive-minded coach. He introduced a modified 1-3-1 trap system to the Lightning and had some rather curious results. Putting the same mindset in the blender with Erik Karlsson and the Senators could yield a compelling outcome or it could produce ultimate disaster.
Boucher was a relatively successful coach in the QMJHL and the AHL and he admittedly did a lot with a little in Tampa. They had shoddy goaltending and a pretty porous defence when he took over and he led them close to glory on the basis of a system alone.
Now that’s not to say that Boucher would introduce the trap to the Senators or subject fans in the nation’s capital to a boring brand of hockey, but there are some possibilities to play with and he’s a quality possession coach. Boucher’s second kick at the NHL could pay dividends if the Senators squad is ready to listen.