Here is a look at some of the candidates on the market (guaranteed Ruff will be a candidate for any and every opening leaguewide).
- Marc Crawford won a Stanley Cup for Colorado in 1995-96 and guided the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise from a laughingstock to perennial contender for a decade. He has five division titles and 549 wins to his credit. he last coached in the NHL for Dallas in 2010-11. He now coaches in Switzerland.
- Crawford's fomer goalie, Patrick Roy, coached Buffalo's Mikhail Grigorenko in juniors in Quebec. He's been at the helm there since 2005 and co-owns the Quebec Ramparts.
- Randy Cunneyworth, like Ruff, played twice for the Sabres, most recently in the 1999-2000 season. He coached the AHL's Rochester Americans for eight seasons after that before bouncing around as an NHL assistant for a few seasons. He was Montreal's interim coach for the end of last season, going 18-23-9 before being fired after the season.
- Jon Cooper has won minor league championships in the USHL and AHL during his seven seasons of coaching. He has the Syracuse Crunch atop the AHL standings this season at 30-14-6. His teams have never had a winning percentage worse than .586.
- If the Sabres want to pluck from the AHL ranks, they have a decent coach already in the system. Ron Rolston has turned the Amerks around this season, rebounding from an abysmal start to being within two points of the division lead with a 27-18-3 record. He got the Amerks to the playoffs last season.
- Of the Sabres assistants – Kevyn Adams, Teppo Numminen and James Patrick – Patrick would seem the most capable to assume the job, on an interim basis if not permanently. He's filled in before in Ruff's absence and has been on the staff since 2005.