Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Why Jim Benning Is the Right Guy For Sabres GM Job


The Buffalo Sabres General manager vacancy seems to have been narrowed down to two men; Tim Murray and Jim Benning. Both are currently assistant general managers in the NHL, both have solid resumes and both appear to be on Pat LaFontaine‘s short list of GM candidates. But only one candidate has ties to the Buffalo Sabres and that man in Jim Benning.

Now it shouldn’t matter whether a person has ties to the team or not, it’s all about hiring the best man for the job, but the Buffalo Sabres seem to want former players and employees back for their rebuild. Since the Sabres want people with ties to the organization, Benning needs to be their guy.

The next thing LaFontaine was looking for was a guy with playoff experience and a Stanley Cup, Benning has both of those. He joined

the Boston Bruins as a scout in 2006 after his time scouting for the Sabres and worked his way up the ranks to assistant GM of the Bruins. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and Jim Benning had his name placed on the Stanley Cup. Since Benning began working with the Bruins they have gone from a non-playoff team to a team with 2 conference semi-finals and two Stanley Cup Finals. In fact the Bruins have not missed the playoffs since acquiring Benning. That’s a pretty decent track record if you ask me!

Not to mention his time with the Buffalo Sabres wasn’t exactly a failure either. He was with the Sabres from 1994 through to 2004 and was responsible for drafting the “old core” of the Buffalo Sabres which carried the team through 2005-2007.

Everywhere Benning goes success seems to follow him there. Whether it’s drafting players, making or suggesting trades, evaluating players or signing free agents, Benning know’s how to attract success. He pretty much runs the draft for the Bruins and considering the Sabres are rebuilding and have a plethora of draft picks in the next few season’s, a guy who knows how to work the draft and draft the right guys will be a huge benefit.

Benning was successful drafting for the Sabres once before, it’s not his fault Darcy Regier couldn’t make use of Derek Roy and Jason Pominville. The next few season’s will feature lots of talent available and Benning could help the Sabres draft the right guys going forward.

Throughout his time with both the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins, Jim Benning has shown that he knows how build winning hockey teams in the NHL. It’s one thing to build a championship calibre team in the AHL, but it’s another to build one in the NHL. Benning knows how to find talent through the daft and through trades and that’s exactly the kind of GM the Sabres need. He’s been the favourite for the job for the last few weeks and LaFontaine needs to hire.

He’ll draft right, get good value for whoever he trades- be it Ryan Miller, Ville Leino or Steve Ott and will help bring a winning team and attitude to Buffalo.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Jim Benning

  • Jes

    Awesome read CC.

    He’s been my go to guy for awhile now. Botterill IMO is just a “Cap Geek” he knows how to work with numbers that’s all he’s proven so far anyway. If what you said in your past post about Benning not being able to come in as GM until the end of the season then the Sabres will make a big mistake in hiring Murray. I honestly wished they took a good look at Treliving of the Coyotes as well but I guess not.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      THanks for the read Jes.
      Botterill and Benning have always been my top choices

  • Dano

    Good read, Thanks!

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Thanks for the read Dano

  • Ron Cianciosi

    Totally agree. Plus Buffalo needs a hardworking team like the Bruins. The city would embrace a team like that

    • Caitlin Campbell

      for sure!

    • Jes

      Exactly there also hardworking plus they score a good amount of goals unlike what Nolan’s turned us into.

  • Paul Schott

    The one thing that Benning would bring to the Sabres that is a leg up on other candidates is that he learned the “Bruins style of hockey” , which I have been longing for since Teddy had the “hardest working team in hockey” all these years ago. I want to beat the Bruins by playing their game better than they do..in your face, never stop, and talent laden as well. However, the drawback, IMO, is his draft record for the Sabres…that determination to succeed at all cost was missing from everyone except Drury and Briere leadership…Roy didn’t have it…in fact most of the old core

    • Caitlin Campbell

      My guess is he learned what he didnt know about attitude through his time with Bruins- since he went there the Bruins have been having success.
      I agree I’d take a whole team of Z’s anyway

  • Jes

    Was in the mood for some hockey today but with the Sabres game cancelled tuned into watching a former Sabres player Thomas Vanek. Anyway during intermission report Bob Mackenzie said Benning is out of the running for the GM because the window has closed on his “Permission” to talk to other teams. Also reported that Murray is pretty close to being named GM. On SportsNet 365 or theScore it reported that “Expect Tim Murray To Be Named GM Soon.”
    I don’t know how I feel about this.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I was also in the mood for some hockey today- was even covering the game.
      Yup we heard the latest scoop about Murray and we have stuff on Murray getting the job ready for tomorrow.

      • Jes

        You got the inside scoop CC? I’d be ok with Murray but I’d be really mad that Lafontaine’s first real action as VP was to let a guy like Benning slip through his fingers.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          haha I got my sources Jes ;)
          As I’ve said previously I would have much rather had Benning here

  • Greg Scott

    Caitlin, I would suggest that you go back and look at the Buffalo Sabres’ drafts when Benning was head of amateur scouting…it is horrific except for getting Vanek (you couldn’t go wrong in that draft) and Pomminville/Roy in the second…aside from that…bust followed by bust…guys who never even made it to the big club…simply awful job

    • Caitlin Campbell

      He did provide Buffalo with it’s old core of Roy, Vanek, Pominville and a few others. He’s thought to have had success here in Buffalo- every team will have busts it’s part of the game