Phil Housley started his NHL playing career in Buffalo and now his first head coaching job will be there, too.
The Sabres announced Thursday they have hired the Predators assistant to replace Dan Bylsma, who was fired in April.
Housley just completed a whirlwind spring as an assistant with the Predators. Led by the best group of defensemen in the league, a unit Housley coached, the Preds made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final as the eighth and final team to make the playoffs from the Western Conference.
Housley is a widely respected coach having spent the past four seasons in Nashville. And he will be familiar to fans in Buffalo, where he began one of the most successful playing careers in NHL history.
The sixth overall pick in the 1982 NHL Draft immediately became a presence on the Sabres' blue line, tallying 19 goals and 66 points in 77 games as a rookie. He went on to play eight seasons in Buffalo, ranking fifth in team history in points (558) and games played (608). He also owns every record the franchise has for defensemen.
In all, Housley played 21 seasons in the NHL before retiring in 2003 with the most points (1,232) and games played (1,495) of any American-born player. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.
Housley's departure will leave Peter Laviolette looking to make his first staff hire since forming his initial staff that included Housley and fellow assistant Kevin McCarthy when he was announced the head coach in 2014.