The Boston Bruins had some coaching vacancies to fill this offseason as Jay Leach left his head coaching role with the B’s AHL: affiliate, the Providence Bruins, to be an assistant coach with the newest NHL team in the Seattle Kraken, and Jay Pandolfo left his assistant coaching gig with the Black and Gold to join the Boston University coaching staff.
Friday morning, the B’s announced that these two spots had been filled. The P-Bruins’ head coaching job will go to Ryan Mougenel. I will give more information on Mougenel later on. Boston’s assistant coaching job will go to former B’s forward, Chris Kelly.
Along with the coaching hires, the B’s also made an addition to their front office. Former B’s defenseman, Adam McQuaid, was hired as player development coordinator. McQuaid joining the organization in some way isn’t surprising as he was present at this year’s development camp.
Getting to know the Bruins’ newest hires.
I’ll start off with the new AHL head coach as he isn’t a former B’s player. Mougenel is a former left-shot right wing but never played professional hockey higher than the AHL and spent most of his career in the ECHL and IHL.
Mougenel’s pro career started in 1997-98 and ended in 2002-03 after 20 AHL games, 180 ECHL games, and 95 IHL games.
His professional coaching career started just two years after retiring from play as he would be an assistant to the Fresno Falcons of the ECHL from 2005-06 to 2008-09. Mougenel would then become the head coach of the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers from 2009-10 to 2012-13. He would boast an impressive overall record of 151-111-10-16.
In 2013-14, Mougenel would move up to the AHL, joining the Hershey Bears’ staff as an assistant. He would only stay there for a season and then move on to the San Jose Sharks’ AHL affiliate. He would stay with the Sharks’ organization from 2014-15 to 2017-18.
Mougenel joined the B’s organization in 2018-19 as an assistant coach for the P-Bruins. He has stayed in this role since then. But with Leach leaving for the Kraken, Mougenel will finally get his chance to be an AHL head coach.
Kelly was a part of the Black and Gold team that won the 2011 Stanley Cup as its third-line center. He proved to be an important middle-six piece for the B’s. In his 24 regular-season games with the B’s after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators that year, Kelly wasn’t very impressive as he scored just two goals and five points. But in the postseason, he was a totally different player, scoring five goals and 13 points in 25 games.
Kelly would remain with the B’s for the next five seasons. Altogether, Kelly played 288 games and scored 43 goals and 101 points in the Black and Gold.
Kelly has actually been with Boston since 2019-20, but in a front office role as the player development coordinator. He now gets a chance to be behind the bench after being a development coach since 2018-19.
Like Kelly, McQuaid was a piece of the 2011 Stanley Cup-winning Bruins. He was their physical, third-pair defenseman and was a big part of the team’s success as he also brought some offense scoring three goals and 15 points in 67 games while also being a +30. In the postseason, McQuaid was a +8 and contributed four assists in 23 games.
Overall, McQuaid spent nine seasons with the B’s. Over that time he suited up for 462 games, scored 13 goals and 66 points, and was a +60. Suffering from injuries and illnesses, McQuaid wouldn’t see the same success he had in 2010-11, but was still a solid third-pair defenseman for the B’s.
Unlike Kelly and Mougenel, McQuaid doesn’t have any previous coaching experience. But with Kelly being promoted from player development coordinator to assistant coach and McQuaid being a fan favorite and taking part as a mentor at development camp, it makes perfect sense for him to join the organization in Kelly’s former role.
Overall, I like each of these hires. All three guys have a history with the B’s and are familiar with the way the organization and team does things. I think these hires will prove to be beneficial to the team.