The Buffalo Sabres will hire Mike Bales as their new goalie coach and retain assistant coach Steve Smith, according to multiple reports.
Bales, 47, resigned as goalie coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. The Buffalo News, The Athletic and Sportsnet all reported Bales is bound for Buffalo.
Former Sabres coach Phil Housley hired Smith, a three-time Stanley Cup winner as a player, to run his defense last year. Ralph Krueger, Housley’s replacement, had Smith, 56, on his staff with the Edmonton Oilers in 2012-13.
Andrew Allen spent the last four years as the Sabres’ goalie coach under Housley and Dan Bylsma.
Bales, who played 23 NHL games, knows Sabres general manager Jason Botterill well from their days together in Pittsburgh. Bales spent six seasons with the Penguins, where Botterill was the associate GM.
Following two seasons as the Penguins’ goalie development coach, Bales spent four years as their goalie coach, winning two Cups.
The Penguins, who used goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray during their championship runs, fired him shortly after earning their second consecutive Cup in 2017.
The Hurricanes quickly hired Bales, and last season, they roared to the Eastern Conference final utilizing the unheralded tandem of Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney, two castoffs.
Bales played 18 pro seasons following his three-year college career at Ohio State. He went 2-15-1 with a 4.13 goals-against average and an .869 save percentage with the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators during his brief NHL career.
The Saskatchewan native played 39 games in the Sabres organization in 1997-98 with the Rochester Americans, sharing the crease with future Sabres goalie Martin Biron, then an AHL rookie.
Bales, a fifth-round pick by the Bruins in 1990, spent the final nine years of his career in Europe before retiring in 2010.
The Sabres also likely won’t retain associate coach Davis Payne or assistant coach Chris Hajt.