Pat LaFontaine’s search for the next general manager of the Buffalo Sabres has finally come to an end. A search that began in mid November and was projected to take a couple of weeks is finally coming to an end January 9th 2014. Mark this date down Sabres fans, the Sabres have a general manager who is not Darcy Regier. Instead the 7th GM of the Buffalo Sabres will be Tim Murray from the Ottawa Senators.
Tim Murray has been working as the assistant GM for the Ottawa Senators under his uncle Bryan Murray since 2007. He also operated as the GM for the Senators AHL team and was responsible for leading them to a Calder Championship in 2011. This will be Murray’s first stint as GM for any NHL team where he will have the final say and complete control over things beyond drafting and scouting.
Joining Tim Murray as the GM of the Sabres is Hall Of Famer Craig Patrick of the Columbus Blue Jackets who will be the special assistant and advisor to the hockey department. Patrick will operate as Tim Murray’s assistant general manager and is the former assistant GM and assistant coach of the 1980 US Miracle ice hockey team.
“I wanted to find the right fit for this organization” ~ Pat LaFontaine
Murray will have a month before the Olympic break to evaluate the Buffalo Sabres and determine what needs to be done ahead of the
Tim Murray beat out 10 other candidates on way to claiming the GM job and was one of the finalists alongside Boston Bruins Jim Benning. Benning was thought to be the front-runner until the Bruins got upset with LaFontaine’s time frame and pulled Benning off the table. Once Benning was gone the spotlight quickly moved to Murray and within 2 days he met with Terry Pegula and became the Buffalo Sabres GM.
One could expect a little bit of down time after the announcement today as Murray looks to put the breaks on a downwardly spiralling hockey team. After talking today, Murray could go quite right up until the trade deadline when he sees an opening to move players and make the team better.
Murray has a good reputation for drafting players and developing prospects which is exactly what the Sabres need going forward through the rebuild. Can he get Mikhail Grigorenko back on track? The Sabres have a plethora of draft picks coming up and having someone like Murray at the helm may help to ensure the Sabres get the right guys. Murray is also said to have a keen eye for evaluating talent;
““He’s a very, very smart hockey man. There’s no one I’ve ever met that knows players as well as Tim and can analyze their strengths and weaknesses. He’s very good at projecting players.” ~ Cory Clouston WHL coach who knows Murray. Quote from John Vogl.
With Rasmus Ristolainen, Zemgus Girgensons, Nikita Zadorov and Mark Pysyk all on the verge of steady NHL careers with the Sabres, having Murray around to evaluate Sabres prospects will be crucial going forward with so many young players and prospects.
While Murray doesn’t have a Stanley Cup ring, his three years scouting for the Anaheim Ducks took him to the Stanley Cup Finals. Murray has been in the NHL since 1994 beginning as a scout and has worked his way up to assistant general manager, becoming a GM was the next logical step for Tim Murray.
During his press conference Tim Murray stressed how he needs to be patient and evaluate the talent but that no one is safe on a 30th placed team. He seems like an honest upfront GM who will get straight down to business looking for ways to improve the Buffalo Sabres. While the product on the ice isn’t the greatest, the Buffalo Sabres have one of the best hockey operation teams in the league and that’s a great start for rebuilding a team.
What do you think of the Tim Murray hiring?