Steve Briere has a new mission ahead, and it begins with the simple task of numbers.
The Seattle Kraken are banking on experience to fulfill that mission, naming Briere as their new goaltending coach on Tuesday.
Briere succeeds Andrew Allen, whose contract was not renewed after a tough season where Kraken struggled in the goaltending department, namely with 2021 Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer who endured a career-low .889 save percentage while shouldering an 18-31-5 record in a career-high 55 games.
Kraken general manager Ron Francis was quick to point out seven seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where Briere worked most recently, as a benchmark to checking off the boxes.
“I think when we were looking at things, one thing that came into play- his experience,” said Francis. “In our situation, based on how things went last year, that was one key component we were looking for.”
The Kraken will also install Briere, 45, into an instant role of familiarity among co-workers and superiors, working with Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol and assistant coach Paul MacFarland previously on the coaching staff in Toronto.
Under Briere’s watch, goaltenders Frederik Anderson and Jack Campbell blossomed into All-Star selections two years apart, while Campbell played a significant role in the Leafs 54-win season this past year when he turned in a career-high 31 wins and five shutouts,
“How he taught, his comfort level with Dave, (MacFarland), working with him in the Toronto area – at the end of the day it was the best fit for us moving forward,” said Francis.
Briere, a Winnipeg native who coached across multiple amateur ranks in the USHL, NAHL, and college hockey after a seven-year playing career in the minors and Europe, will make Seattle his second career NHL coaching stop.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to work in the NHL it’s a privilege and I’m beyond excited to get started in Seattle,” said Briere in a team statement.