Five candidates the Bruins could explore to replace Bruce Cassidy

The Bruins don’t care about the old guard – Mike Babcock, Peter Debor, Paul Morris, and John Tortorella, as examples – to replace Bruce Cassidy. As hard as they’ve worked, assistants Joe Sacco, Kevin Dean or Chris Kelly are unlikely to be frontline candidates.

Bruins wants a new presence and new thinkers to take the stage.

President Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney identified two areas of shortcomings under Cassidy’s watch: optimal player performance, particularly that of younger players, and five-to-five offensive production.

For management, the former was more worrying than the latter.

The 57-year-old Cassidy had high demands from young players. He believed in fair but consistent guidance until NHL principles became second nature to youngsters. This is Jake DeBrusk so troubled that the first manager of 2015 made clear his desire to leave. There may have been others who were not public with their requests.

Next, Nellie and Sweeney will hire a coach who is more in line with their preferences for more freedom to play and supportive development. Here are five that match the profile, starting with our list of favorite prospects.

Jay Leech

Leach, 42, is the lead candidate. He checks all the boxes.

Leach was Providence coach for four seasons before serving as assistant Dave Haxtool in Seattle in 2021-22. In Providence, Leach preached a growth, development, and positivity mindset. Leach helped Anton Bleda, Conor Clifton, Trent Frederick, Carson Coleman, Jeremy Luzon, Jeremy Swayman and Jacob Zborell become regular NHL players. He had Coleman and Luzon in Seattle this past season.

Leitch served as the right hand for former Bruins coach Jeff Ward for Germany’s Adler Mannheim in 2014-15. Ward Welch helped the team win the DEL Championship.

Leitch returned to North America to be Mike Sullivan’s assistant on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton movie in 2015-16. The following season, the Bruins hired Leach to be Kevin Dean’s assistant in Providence.

Management is familiar in Leach. Perhaps the former defensive man, who appeared in two games for the Bruins in 2006-07, could help Frederick, Jack Studnica and Oscar Steen gain a bigger foothold in the National Hockey League.

“He’d be a great coach,” said an NHL source who has known Leach for decades.

David Quinn

Quinn, 55, is hungry for another chance in the National Hockey League after he was sent off by the Rangers. Quinn coached Team USA at the 2022 Olympics after the NHL withdrew from the Winter Games.

Rangers did not qualify for the playoffs in two of Quinn’s three seasons. Prior to that, Quinn was at Boston University for five seasons as a replacement for Jack Parker. Matt Grzelcic coached for three seasons and Charlie McAvoy for two seasons. Both the defending Bruins enjoyed their time playing with Quinn.

Quinn is an outgoing and personable coach. He is an acquaintance of Sweeney.

Ryan Mognell

Mougenel, 46, finished his first season as Leach’s substitute in Providence. Prior to that, Mognell was Leach’s assistant for two seasons. He was in charge of Providence’s defense when he helped Leach.

Mougenel is similar to Leach: positive and enthusiastic. Players, including veterans like John Moore, appreciated Muginil’s hands-on style. Last season, Moore noted that he reviewed clips of him with Muginil from years past. The two went on to make Moore an effective player in the NHL defense.

Mougenel lacks experience compared to Leach.

Nate Lyman

Lyman, 49, finished his eleventh season as a head coach for Providence College. He has no professional training experience. But Leaman is one of the most accomplished NCAA coaches.

In 2014-15, Leaman led the brothers to the NCAA Championship. Providence defeated Quinn’s BU in the final. Noel Acchiari, Lyman’s captain that season, signed with the Bruins.

Prior to Providence, Lyman served as head coach for the league for eight seasons. He was an assistant at Harvard, Alma Sweeney, for four seasons.

Leaman participated in one of the Bruins’ informal development camps as a coaching advisor.

Spencer Carbery

Carbery, 40, finished his first season as an assistant to Sheldon Cave in Toronto. In 2017-18, Carbery served as Leach’s assistant in Providence. One year later, he was appointed to be Hershey’s head coach. He has been with the Bears for three seasons.

Carbery worked with defensemen in Providence. In Toronto, Carbery was in charge of the power game.

(Jay Leach photo: Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)

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