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Reports: Penguins’ assistant Jacques Martin is a top candidate for Buffalo Sabres head coaching job

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Could Martin get one more chance at a head coaching job?

2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Media Day Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

We know the Penguins will have an off-season will of change this summer, but some of that could be positive for individuals. Assistant coach Jacques Martin’s name is being discussed for a head coaching job with the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres. The Buffalo job has more surrounding it, with TSN’s Darren Dreger talking a bit about their search on the radio on Wednesday.

Martin, 66, has been with the Penguins since 2013-14, back to the Dan Bylsma days when Mario Lemieux wanted the veteran coach around. Martin has primarily been involved with Pittsburgh’s defense and penalty kill in recent years.

The PK ranked 19th in the league this year at 79.7% and the defense, well, it has certainly has had some issues lately at suppressing shots. That’s probably more personnel than coaching on Martin’s part, however a bit of a shakeup and new voices behind the bench for the Pens probably couldn’t hurt at this point.

Die by the Blade has some nice better dirt on him:

To date, Martin has coached over 1200 NHL games with 12 playoff appearances, four division championships and two Stanley Cups (both with Pittsburgh). His teams have made the playoffs 12 out of 17 years, and he won the Jack Adams award in 1999.

During his tenure as a head coach, he’s helped lead multiple teams to first- or second-place finishes in their respective divisions. He last served as a head coach with Montreal in the 2011-12 season, when he was replaced just 34 games into the season.

Martin has worked with Jason Botterill (Buffalo general manager) in Pittsburgh. And Botterill’s right-hand man, assistant GM Randy Sexton has known Martin in the Pens and Ottawa organization over the years, so it certainly would be a very familiar pick if the Sabres management taps the shoulder of the veteran Martin back to the bench.

Only Ken Hitchcock (who might not even coach next year) would be an older current head coach than Martin at this point, so if he gets one last opportunity after all these years he definitely would need to take it now.