Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo is leaving Bruce Cassidy’s staff to become associate head coach at his alma mater, Boston University, the Globe has confirmed.
BU is expected to announce the hire in the coming days.
It is the first associate head coaching position for Pandolfo, 46, who has spent the last five years as a Bruins assistant. He joined Claude Julien’s staff along with Cassidy in May 2016, after spending two seasons with the Bruins’ player development department. He was director of player development in 2015-16.
Pandolfo replaces former associate head coach Paul Pearl, of Winthrop, who left to become head coach at Cushing Academy.
It’s unclear where the Bruins will turn to fill their empty spot. One possible option: Providence coach Jay Leach, the head coach there since 2017. According to Arizona Coyotes reporter Craig Morgan, Leach recently interviewed for the vacant Arizona head coaching gig.
In an interview before the Bruins’ second-round series against the Islanders, Cassidy said Pandolfo “predominantly works with the forwards, he does a lot of our [offensive] zone stuff, spacing, how to attack their D, what areas of the ice … where you can get some different looks, where the team’s the most vulnerable.
“Me and him work on the power play together, our entries, O-zone, how teams kill, push down pressure versus D pushing up. That’s where he makes his mark with our team.”
Cassidy said Pandolfo, as the youngest coach on the staff and the most recently retired player (2014), was a valuable resource.
“That benefits us with his relationship with the players,” Cassidy said. “We can go to him with those things, when players don’t quite look right, he’s able to go to their ear. He’s a Stanley Cup champion, so for that on the staff that’s invaluable insight in these playoff series. That’s what we lean on him mostly for.”
Pandolfo, who lives in Winchester, starred at Burlington High and was part of the 1995 national championship BU team. As a senior in 1995-96, he was captain, scored 67 points in 40 games, and was a Hobey Baker Award finalist.
Known for his checking and defensive acumen, Pandolfo played 13 of his 15 NHL seasons with New Jersey, winning Stanley Cups in 2000 and 2003. He spent one year with the Islanders before finishing his career with the Bruins in 2013.
The left wing was a second-round pick (32nd overall) of the Devils in 1993. In 899 NHL games, he recorded 100 goals and 226 points.
Matt Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.