The Boston Bruins have done a solid job developing their own talent over the years as attested by an NHL roster that is overflowing with homegrown talent.
Young stars like David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy and Jeremy Swayman all did some time at the AHL level with the Providence like other top B’s prospects, and up-and-coming NHLers like Jeremy Lauzon, Trent Frederic and Connor Clifton have done the same. So, it’s not a surprise to see a report from Arizona Coyotes Insider Craig Morgan that Providence Bruins head coach Jay Leach has interviewed for the vacant Coyotes head coaching gig in Arizona.
Can also report that Providence Bruins (AHL) coach Jay Leach has interviewed for the Coyotes job.
Leach & AZ GM Bill Armstrong crossed paths while Leach played at Providence College & Armstrong was the Bruins’ coach. Leach also played for Armstrong with Trenton (ECHL) in 2003-04. https://t.co/h9HiF1gI9g
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) June 12, 2021
Leach and Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong have history together through ties with Providence and with Leach playing for him in the ECHL, and the former NHLer has done a solid job guiding the P-Bruins over the last few seasons as well.
Leach actually referenced Armstrong when talking about initially seeking out advice when he was a rookie AHL head coach just a few years ago.
“I can’t remember who I was talking to – it might have been (former P-Bruins coach) Billy Armstrong – and he said you’ll learn more in your first year as a head coach than you’ll ever learn at any other time in pro hockey,” said Leach, who played 70 games in the NHL for the Bruins, Lightning, Canadiens and Devils over the course of his 11-year pro hockey career. “I believe it. You’re thrown into so many different situations and so quickly that it challenges you.”
In the last two seasons, Leach has a pair of back-to-back first place finishes with the Providence Bruins team even as COVID-19 has wreaked havoc with the AHL seasons.
Leach has four years’ experience in Providence and has worked as an assistant to head coaches like Mike Sullivan and Geoff Ward in the past, so there is some pretty good pedigree there for a fairly young guy in the 41-year-old Leach, who just retired at the end of the 2012-13 NHL season. Certainly, it will be big shoes to fill for the B’s at the AHL level if Leach bolts Providence for an NHL head coaching gig. But it also sounds like he’s on the radar as a young up-and-coming NHL coaching prospect sooner rather than later after cutting his coaching teeth in the B’s organization over the last few years.