It was just a matter of time before an NHL team hired Phil Housley as an assistant coach. Given his ties to the Sabres and Ron Rolston, it seemed Buffalo was a possibility.
The Nashville Predators hired Housley as an assistant for Barry Trotz on Tuesday, eliminating the former All-Star defenseman from further Sabres speculation. Housley spent 20 years in the NHL, his first eight in Buffalo.
“Phil brings a unique skill set to our coaching staff,” Predators General Manager David Poile said in a statement. “He was one of the most talented offensive defensemen to play in the NHL, and he has worked extensively with young players during his coaching career. He will continue to focus his efforts on our young defensemen and assisting on the power play.”
The Sabres were the youngest team in the NHL at times last season and had the 29th-ranked power play.
Rolston has known Housley since at least 2007, when Housley was one of Rolston’s assistants for the U.S. world junior championships. Housley was the head coach for the gold medal-winning Americans this year.
Rolston said two weeks ago it would take about seven days for him to fill out his Sabres coaching staff.
“A coach with history as a defenseman who was offensively gifted and excelled on the power play is something we have never had on our coaching staff,” Trotz said. “His insight and viewpoint will bring a fresh perspective to our team.”