It’s fair to say that the Buffalo Sabres have not met expectations this season. As a result, this has led to speculation that head coach Don Granato’s job could be on the line. Per BetOnline, Granato is now the favorite to be next on the chopping block, listing him at 3/2 odds (+150) of being the next head coach fired in the NHL.
The Sabres currently sit in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 42 points in 44 games. That leaves them seven points out of a wild card spot. Similarly, their 47.7% points percentage is good for 26th out of the 32 teams in the league.
This comes after Buffalo narrowly missed the playoffs by one point in 2022-2023 and had playoff aspirations heading into this season. Due to this, Granato began the campaign listed at 12/1 odds of being the first head coach fired.
Other Coaches in Jeopardy?
The odds list him ahead of New Jersey’s Lindy Ruff at 5/2 (+250), San Jose’s David Quinn 11/2 (+550) and Toronto’s Sheldon Keefe 13/2 (+650). Subsequently, four NHL head coaches have already lost their jobs this season. The list includes Edmonton’s Jay Woodcroft, Minnesota’s Dean Evason, St. Louis’ Craig Berube, and Ottawa’s D.J. Smith.
It’s notable that Granato and the Sabres have been better as of late, going 4-2-0 in January. Improved goaltending has been a huge reason for the success, boosting the Sabres to a +8 goal-differential in that span. Buffalo is coming off a 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday.
Rochester Americans head coach Seth Appert filled in for Granato when he was forced to miss two games due to an illness at the end of December. Consequently, General Manager Kevyn Adams defended Don Granato amid any speculation that he could be replaced.
“I have a lot of faith in him,” Adams said. “I think he’s done a lot of great things during his time as head coach here and now we’re all going to just keep pushing each other to be better.”
A big switch behind the bench would come down to team Owner, CEO, and President Terry Pegula. Granato and Adams work in lockstep with each other, and Pegula has final say in all organizational matters.
While no indications from within the organization hint at any brash decisions regarding Buffalo’s brain trust, the Sabres will have to show positive progress through the remaining 38 games in the season to ease the anxiousness. Continuing to build on the team’s success in January could be a big step in the right direction.