Why Nate Leaman Can Rebuild the Bruins

( Photo Credit: Richard T. Gagnon / Getty Images )

By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn

Recently I wrote an article about some of the candidates I have heard thrown around to fill the vacant head coaching position (check that out here). If you have read that article, you will know that I am a big fan of the idea of Nate Leaman taking over the reins of the Boston Bruins. I honestly do not know much about his coaching style or his coaching philosophy, but I do know what he has accomplished as the head coach of Providence College, the US Men’s Junior Team, and even Union College before Providence.

Before we get into why Leaman is an excellent choice to lead a rebuilding team, I want to address an issue that the Bruins would encounter if they try to hire him. As of May 5, Leaman has signed a multi-year extension with Providence. That definitely throws a wrench into things, but I think the idea still works. If he does not leave PC, he can become the target in a few years, and the Bruins can hire someone to fill the gap. However, every coach has his price, and if the Bruins want to invest in a coach to lead them into the future, I think it could be worth buying Leaman out of his college contract now.

Now that I’ve addressed why Leaman would potentially not work, I want to build the case for why he would. It all boils down to the fact that Nate Leaman takes bad teams and bad programs and turns them into winners. We probably all consider Union College to be a pretty formidable college hockey program. However, they were not that way when Leaman was given the job as head coach back in 2003. Before Shayne Gostisbehere won a National Championship with the Dutchmen, they were a team that struggled to even get out of the first round of the ECAC tournament.

Over eight seasons, Leaman transformed Union from a struggling ECAC team into the 2011 ECAC champions, earning himself the Spencer Penrose Award as the best coach in the nation in the process. After that season, he moved on from Union, joining the Providence College Friars as their head coach. Providence was in a similar place to the one he started with Union, often finishing below .500 and struggling to make a real run in the Hockey East Tournament.

After one season of losing hockey, Leaman turned the program around, making the NCAA tournament in his third season with the program and winning the National Championship in his fourth season. Under Leaman’s leadership, Providence has been a consistent threat to make a run at the title, often finding themselves ranked in the top ten teams in the country. His performance has also been good enough to be named the head coach of the United States Junior National Team, with whom he won the gold medal at the 2021 World Junior Championship.

Over his 20 seasons as a college head coach, Leaman has revived two programs, won an international gold medal, and displayed a special ability to get the best out of young men. If the Bruins are going to rebuild, it would be hard to find someone better qualified to take a group of young men just leaving college or juniors and turn them into eventual champions.

Even more enticing, from the limited information I could find about the playstyle he wants his teams to use, he describes hard physical play with a mix of speed and skill, something I think all Bruins fans could get behind. Only time will tell if Leaman ends up behind the bench at the Garden, but if he does, I think our team is in good hands.

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