Bruins Rumors: David Quinn, Jay Leach Favorites to Replace Bruce Cassidy as HC

Erin WalshJune 17, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19:  Head coach David Quinn of the New York Rangers looks on from the bench against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden on March 19, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

It appears the Boston Bruins have two front-runners for their vacant head coaching position.

Former New York Rangers head coach David Quinn and Seattle Kraken assistant Jay Leach are the two leading candidates to replace Bruce Cassidy as head coach of the Black and Gold, according to The Athletic's Fluto Shinzawa.

Quinn is set to interview with the Bruins next week, and Leach is expected to interview with the franchise "at some time," Shinzawa added.

"Quinn has the personality that general manager Don Sweeney would prefer in his next coach: positive, engaging and uplifting," Shinzawa wrote. "Cassidy’s demanding style with his players, especially his younger ones, prompted Sweeney to fire him at his house on June 6."

Quinn was hired as head coach of the Rangers in 2018, leading the team to a 96-87-25 mark in three seasons and only one playoff appearance in 2020. The Blueshirts fired him in May 2021, replacing him with Gerard Gallant.

Before coaching the Rangers, the 55-year-old served as head coach of the Boston University men's hockey team, his alma mater where he coached current Bruins defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk. The Rhode Island native also recently served as head coach of Team USA at the 2022 Olympics, coaching another current Bruin in Marc McLaughlin.

Leach had served as an assistant to Mike Sullivan for the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2015 before being promoted to interim head coach after Sullivan was promoted as the next head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 42-year-old left the Penguins organization after just one season and joined the Providence Bruins, Boston's AHL affiliate, as an assistant in July 2016. The Providence College product was eventually promoted to head coach of the P-Bruins before the 2017-18 season.

With their experience coaching younger players, it's no surprise general manager Don Sweeney prefers a coach like Quinn or Leach.

Boston shockingly fired Cassidy on June 6 after a first-round playoff loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The 57-year-old served as head coach of the Bruins for six seasons, compiling a 245-108-46 record.

Cassidy led the Bruins to the playoffs in each of his six seasons behind the bench, including a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2019.

"After taking some time to fully digest everything, I felt that the direction of our team for both this season and beyond would benefit from a new voice," Sweeney said in a statement at the time.

Cassidy, who made his NHL head coaching debut with the Washington Capitals in 2002, was hired Tuesday as head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights.