By John Vogl
There was no question Sabres coach Ted Nolan would want his own assistants. He has room to add them because the holdovers are out.
Buffalo announced today that assistants Joe Sacco, Teppo Numminen, Jerry Forton and goalie coach Jim Corsi will not be back in their roles next season. Sacco and Forton have been offered other jobs in the hockey department. Corsi has been let go and Numminen will not have his contract renewed.
Nolan took over for Ron Rolston during the season and inherited the former coach's assistants. Though there were no outward signs of struggle within the staff, it was assumed Nolan would want to hire his own people.
The Sabres said Nolan is not available to comment on the changes.
Corsi was the longest-tenured member on the Sabres' coaching staff. He just completed his 16th season in Buffalo, and he's worked with Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller. The affable coach is also known for inventing the Corsi Rating, a common hockey analytics tool that compares the shots directed at the opposition's net to the attempts taken on the team's own net.
Numminen, who finished his long NHL career on the Sabres' blue line, just finished his third season as a coach. He spent the first two in the press box talking to the other coaches on a headset, and he was promoted to a bench job this season.
Sacco and Forton were in their first year in the organization. Sacco spent the previous four seasons as head coach in Colorado, where he was a Coach of the Year finalist in 2010. He will be an assistant for the U.S. world championship team this spring.
Forton came to the Sabres with no prior NHL experience and worked in the press-box role.
There's no word on who Nolan will hire as his assistants. One likely addition will be Randy Cunneyworth, a longtime friend of Nolan who is already in the organization as liaison betwen the Sabres and their minor-league club Rochester. Nolan, who is also the coach of the Latvian national team, has spoken highly of Latvia's goalie coach, Arturs Irbe. The longtime NHL goaltender left his job with the Washington Capitals in 2011 to spend more time with his family.