Guy Boucher (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)
Guy Boucher, the former Tampa Bay Lightning coach who is now the bench boss of Switzerland's SC Bern, has reportedly been contacted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boucher spent three seasons in Tampa Bay and coached the club to the 2010-11 Eastern Conference final before missing the post-season the following year and being let go by the Lightning in 2012-13.
During an interview with TSN 1050 in Toronto, Guy Boucher, former Tampa Bay Lightning bench boss and current coach of Swiss National League A club SC Bern, told host Dave Naylor that he had been contacted at least once about coming back to the NHL.
TSN's Darren Dreger followed up on Tuesday's interview with a report that it is "believed" the mystery team that contacted Boucher was the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto is in the midst of a coaching search, so for Boucher to land in Ontario's capital is a possibility and the stars might be aligning for him to return to the NHL thanks to an out-clause in his contract.
"I have another year on my contract (in Switzerland)," Boucher told Naylor. "My family's happy. We had a terrific year, saw a lot of things, learned and grew. You know, I have no problem staying here. Last year, I couldn't accept it because I didn't have an out-clause. This year, I do have an out-clause."
Hired by the Lightning in 2010-11, Boucher took a team that finished two games below .500 and third in the then-Southeast Division the year prior and turned the squad around, as they posted a 46-25-11 record and made their way to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to that season's Stanley Cup champion, the Boston Bruins.
The following season, Boucher's Lightning missed the post-season and he was fired the next year in the lockout-shortened season after 31 games and a 13-17-1 record. He hasn't had a job in the NHL since being let go by the Lightning in March 2013, but was brought on by SC Bern in January 2014.
But Boucher told Naylor he would come back to the NHL if the right situation arose.
"If I fit, it would certainly interest me, but like I said, it has to be in the right situation because I have a very good situation right now. But I've been approached, so it's a possibility. We'll see what happens."
If the opening Boucher was contacted about is in Toronto -- the coaching vacancy that came following the firing of coach Randy Carlyle on Jan. 6 and subsequent firing of interim coach Peter Horachek on April 12 -- it would give him a shot at getting back into the league as a coach, but it would come as somewhat of a surprise. For months, the rumor has been Toronto is interested in nabbing Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock who is slated to become a free agent this off-season.
If nothing else, though, Boucher's stated interest in returning to the NHL adds yet another name to an already flooded coaching market that includes names like Babcock, Carlyle, Todd McLellan and Dan Bylsma.