Buffalo Sabres fire coach Don Granato after team's playoff drought hits 13 seasons

The Buffalo Sabres will turn to another coach to try to end the NHL's longest playoff drought.

Don Granato was fired on Tuesday, before his contract extension even started, after the team's drought reached 13 seasons. The Sabres had a disappointing follow-up after finishing one point out of a playoff spot in 2022-23, dropping from 91 points to 84.

“I would like to thank Don for his time in Buffalo and commitment to the Sabres organization,” general manager Kevyn Adams said in a statement. “He has been integral in the development of many of our players and has undoubtedly been the right coach to bring us to where we are now, but I felt it was necessary to move in a different direction at this point in time. My expectation is to be a consistent contender and unfortunately that goal has not been met.”

Coach Don Granato looks on from the Buffalo Sabres bench.
Coach Don Granato looks on from the Buffalo Sabres bench.

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Granato finishes his Sabres tenure at 122-125-27.

Assistant coach Jason Christie and video coordinator Matt Smith were also fired.

The Sabres signed defensemen Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power to eight-year and seven-year extensions, respectively, in the offseason and made only minor additions, signing free agent defensemen Connor Clifton and Erik Johnson.

But Buffalo got off to a slow start, not topping .500 until Nov. 10, then going through a 3-8-1 slide.

Goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen got the Sabres closer to a berth with impressive play after the All-Star break, but offense was the issue. Forward Tage Thompson dropped from 47 goals to 29 and Dylan Cozens had 20 goals, down from 31. The power play has also struggled, ranking 28th in the league.

The Sabres were sellers at the deadline, moving Casey Mittelstadt, captain Kyle Okposo and Johnson, but they did add solid defenseman Bowen Byram.

Granato, who had replaced coach Ralph Krueger during the 2020-21 season, received a multi-year extension in 2022 that kicks in next season.

Buffalo has made seven coaching changes since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Granato becomes the eighth NHL coach fired during the 2023-24 season. The Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota WildSt. Louis BluesOttawa Senators, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils made earlier moves.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sabres fire coach Don Granato as playoff drought hits 13 seasons