Todd McLellan won’t be the Buffalo Sabres’ next coach, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
The Sabres identified McLellan as a candidate and talked to him this week but never made an offer, McKenzie tweeted this afternoon. McLellan was in Buffalo to watch his son, Tyson, a junior defenseman with Denver, compete in the Frozen Four.
The Los Angeles Kings could be close to hiring McLellan, according to McKenzie.
The Athletic’s Erik Duhatschek tweeted Monday the Sabres and McLellan were closing in on an agreement and an announcement could come Tuesday.
McLellan coached the Edmonton Oilers for more than three years before getting fired Nov. 20. Before that, he led the San Jose Sharks for seven seasons, making the playoffs six times, including two Western Conference final appearances.
Given Sabres general manager Jason Botterill just fired Phil Housley, a first-time head coach, he probably wants NHL experience.
Rochester Americans coach Chris Taylor has said he hasn’t spoken to the Sabres about the position.
Veteran Alain Vigneault, who didn’t coach this season after the New York Rangers fired him, could be high on Botterill’s list. Vigneault will lead Team Canada’s entry at the World Championship next month in Slovakia.
Botterill is part of Canada’s management group with Ron Francis and Ron Hextall.
Vigneault led the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup final in 2011 and the Rangers in 2014.
The Amerks have signed top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to an amateur tryout contract, the AHL club announced today.
Luukkonen, 20, completed his first Ontario Hockey League season with the Sudbury Wolves on Thursday.
The Finn enjoyed a huge campaign with the junior club, compiling a 38-11-2-2 record with a 2.50 goals-against average, a .920 save percentage and six shutouts. He led the OHL in wins and shutouts and ranked second and third, respectively, in goals-against average and save percentage. He also set a franchise record for victories.
Luukkonen’s numbers – 4-3, 3.27 and .906 – dipped in eight playoff appearances.
In January, Luukkonen backstopped Finland to a goal medal at the World Junior Championship.
The Sabres drafted the 6-foot-5, 214-pound Luukkonen in the second round in 2017, 54th overall.