FORMER Saints chairman Ralph Krueger is returning to the NHL.

Krueger, who was axed from the south coast club last month, is set to be appointed as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.

The 59-year-old's contract at St Mary's was due to expire this summer, but the decision was taken to speed that process up and relinquish him of his duties early.

Speaking to the Buffalo Sabres website, Krueger said: "I am excited and honoured to join the Buffalo Sabres family and will strive to maximize the potential that lies within this team.

"I look forward to building on the many positives that have been established within the organization and I am especially eager to get behind the bench and represent this passionate hockey city."

He was tipped for a return to the National Hockey League after previously coaching the Edmonton Oilers during the 2012/13 season.

Krueger added to his resume by leading Switzerland at 15 international tournaments over a 13-year period.

The former hasn't coached a hockey team since 2016 when he led Team Europe to the World Cup of Hockey final, only for them to lose to Canada in a three-game series.

After leaving Saints last month, he was tipped for a return to the NHL, but not as a head coach.

It was expected that Krueger would make his comeback in a similar position to the one he held at St Mary's, only for the Buffalo Sabres to see him as the man to end their eight-year play-off drought.

A report in America suggests that he is regarded as an innovator within hockey who looks to develop young talent.

He arrived at Saints back in 2014 when he was appointed by Katharina Liebherr.

His remit was to balance the books and turn the club into a profitable company which is something that he was able to achieve over a five-year period.