Earlier in the offseason the Bruins lost a member of their front office, with assistant general manager Jim Benning heading to Vancouver to become general manager of the Canucks. Now, the team has lost a member of Claude Julien’s coaching staff, a rarity during his tenure in Boston.
The Bruins announced on Thursday that assistant coach Geoff Ward resigned. Ward, who did not interview for any NHL coaching jobs this offseason, will become the head coach of the Mannheim Eagles of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany. It will be his third time as a head coach in that country.
Ward had been in Boston for seven seasons, arriving with Julien, and was responsible for the team’s power play, among other duties. The man advantage was something the team had struggled with under Julien and Ward before improving dramatically this past season with the addition of Torey Krug at the point and the decision to move Zdeno Chara to the front of the net.
The Bruins’ power play rose to No. 3 in the NHL this past season after finishing in the bottom half in recent seasons, including in 2011, the year they won the Stanley Cup.
The Bruins could look to fill the opening internally, with an option in Providence head coach Bruce Cassidy, who has done a good job with the team’s AHL affiliate. The Bruins were often able to fill in gaps due to injuries as a result of the continuity between Providence and Boston.