2 reasons why the Sabres must strongly consider bringing back Lindy Ruff and 2 reasons why they shouldn’t

Former Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff is a free agent after the Devils relieved him of his duties on Monday. Should the Blue and Gold make the bold move?
New Jersey Devils v Montreal Canadiens
New Jersey Devils v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Why they shouldn’t: Ruff’s most recent seasons have not been great

While Lindy Ruff would bring Sabres fans back to KeyBank Center in droves because he’s a legendary name that the fan base is familiar with, we also have to ask if the 64-year-old is still an effective coach. Last season, Ruff still looked like one of the NHL’s better coaches following a 112-point season and a second place finish in the Metropolitan Division. 

But he also had three pedestrian years in New Jersey if you count 2023-24. To be fair, Ruff inherited a less-than-ideal situation in Newark, and when he arrived for the 2020-21 season, the Devils had missed the playoffs in seven of the past eight seasons and won zero playoff series. 

This was clearly a situation few coaches would have succeeded in during the early years of a rebuild, but following an unprecedented 112-point season, even with injuries to a team captain and the star player at various points of 2023-24, nobody expected such a massive step back. 

While you can make arguments against why Ruff’s more recent outings haven’t been great, here’s another point to consider: His teams haven’t made back-to-back playoff appearances since 2009-10 and 2010-11. Not to mention, he has won just two playoff series since 2007, the last series to date that the Buffalo Sabres have also won. 


(Data provided by Hockey-Reference)