Dec 11, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Boston Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Bruins remain on the hunt for a new head coach.
But there’s some stability when it comes to the rest of the coaching staff, according to Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.
According to Sweeney, both Chris Kelly and Joe Sacco are under contract for next season.
Sacco, who will be part of the initial group of men selected for an interview for Boston’s head coaching vacancy, has been with the Bruins on their coaching staff since 2014. A Medford, Mass. Native, Sacco’s primary duties in 2021-22 included running the Black and Gold’s power play, and he even got some run as the team’s temporary head coach during Bruce Cassidy’s stint in the COVID protocol, with the Bruins going 3-1-2 during that stretch.
Kelly, meanwhile, just wrapped up his first year as an assistant coach for the B’s after spending the previous two seasons as the team’s player development coordinator. This was Kelly’s second season in a coaching role, as he had previously served as an assistant coach on Marc Crawford’s staff in Ottawa to close out the 2018-19 season.
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The Bruins are also negotiating a new contract with goaltending coach Bob Essensa. With the Bruins since 2003, Boston goaltenders have certainly thrived under Essensa’s guidance. And 2021-22 was no exception on that front, as the B’s goaltending group posted a .918 save percentage at five-on-five, which ranked as the 14th-best mark in the league.
There will be at least one change in addition to Cassidy’s departure, however, as Kevin Dean is unlikely to return to the club. Fired by Cassidy before the Bruins fired Cassidy (still not sure why the Bruins allowed that to happen if they were axing Cassidy weeks later), the Bruins have acknowledged a Dean return as an unlikely one even with Cassidy no longer in the picture.
“Kevin Dean won’t be extended. I don’t categorically say that because I’m going to hire a new head coach and if he decides he wants to interview Kevin, I know Kevin will be looking at other opportunities elsewhere, “Sweeney said. “I would leave that up to the head coach. But it’s unlikely at this point in time.”
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