Poll: What Should Tim Murray Tackle First?

It’s only been a few days but I’m sure Tim Murray has found out that being the GM of the 30th ranked Buffalo Sabres is no easy task. Heck being the GM of the Buffalo Sabres no matter where they rank is no picnic. Murray has a lot of work to do if he plans on one day making the Buffalo Sabres competitive in the NHL again.

He’s already checked one task off his list by hinting at removing the interim tag from Ted Nolan‘s job description, but what should he

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

tackle next? I’ve narrowed it down to two choices for y’all- should he fix the lack of scoring on the Sabres or should he focus his energy on Ryan Miller and other players getting ready to hit the free agent waters?

At the end of this season the Sabres stand to lose Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Matt Moulson and 21 other players throughout the organization. That’s a lot of man power and a lot of cap space on the way out for a team who will need to spend a lot of dough just to reach the rising cap floor next season. Tim Murray is going to be a busy man between now and March 5th as he determines who will be sticking around and who he can flip at the deadline, but do the upcoming UFA’s and RFA’s outweigh the Sabres biggest problem?

Anyone who has watched the Sabres for any length of time this season knows they are hard pressed to score more than 1 goal a game in regulation and in today’s NHL you have a hard time not scoring at least 1 goal a night. The Sabres are a little past the halfway point this season and have scored just 71 goals, at this rate they’ll be hard pressed just to reach the 150 goal mark; A mark that St. Louis, Chicago and Anaheim have already passed. The Sabres are scoring at a less than impressive 1.61 goals per game average which is a huge tell to why they are in last place. In fact the Buffalo Sabres have scored 1 goal or less in regulation 23 times this season.

Take a minute to go through the Buffalo Sabres roster. What player on the roster is a pure goal scorer? Maybe Matt Moulson, aside from that the Sabres don’t have a goal scorer on their roster and they are in desperate need of one going forward. When Tyler Ennis is leading your team with 9 goals and the guy you paid lots of money to be your goal scorer in Ville Leino has 0 goals this season it might be time to do something.

So if you were Tim Murray running the Buffalo Sabres which task would you tackle first? Fix your teams lack of scoring or take care of the UFA’s and RFA’s?

Where Should Murray Go First

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Topics: Poll, Tim Murray

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  • David Clark

    I don’t understand the either/or scenario… I think Murray moves some assets (whether that includes Miller, Ott, Moulson, Tallinder, etc. and/or draft picks and/or prospects) in some combination to resolve the “Who intends to stay and continue with the rebuild?” along with bringing in some offensive talent. On another note, I’ve been a big advocate of the Sabres going after Reinhart in the draft, due to their shortcomings on offense and that he shows similarities to Patrick Marleau in his game. However, Ekblad is the better overall player and I think he’s going to be a superstar in this league… he has different skills that the Sabres are still missing among their best blueline prospects. Reinhart is not going to be the answer in the short-term to the Sabres’ offensive woes… even though he may be great long-term, Ekblad IMO will be the better overall player. He is the blueline version of Connor McDavid in next year’s draft. Size, skating, offensive attack and physicality… there is nothing to not love about Ekblad’s game.

    • David Clark

      Just to clarify… those descriptives are regarding Ekblad, not McDavid… whose size may be the one thing that might hold him back (if anything, because he has amazing talent). Reinhart doesn’t have the strong skating of a MacKinnon… his game is based more on terrific hockey IQ and anticipation that is unique to certain star players (from what I have seen anyways).

    • Caitlin Campbell

      No doubt Murray will have to go after both options but this is just aquestion of which first. My vote is for the Sabres to go over Ekblad as I think he has a real solid future and I just don’t see the same for Reinhart.

      • Jes

        I remember you writing something about taking someone else to instead of Reinhart or Ekblad.

        Either or would be a great addition.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Ekblad or Dal Colle are my 2 choices for the Sabres

          • Jes

            What about Bennett or Nylander? Reinhart is falling out of favor with me right now. I’m leaning more towards Ekblad or Bennett.

            If Isles don’t defer there pick we will probably end up with a 13th overall or something. I say we take Kapanen with that pic.

    • Jes

      You mean this years draft?

    • jimbobv2

      The one question I would have about Ekblad is if he is near his ceiling already because he is physically a man amongst boys right now and you see a lot of guys who mature physically earlier having issues when they move up.

      That said, I would love to have Ekblad on the Sabres blueline. And that would give Murray an embarrassment of riches at RHD with Myers, Ristolainen, and Pysyk already in the fold.

  • Bruce

    The lack of scoring is certainly a high priority, but fixing it will not be an easy task, as this is going to require time for both, prospect talent to develop, and free agent signings to materialize. With the trade deadline fast approaching I think dealing with the pending UFA’s should be at the top of Tim Murray’s list of tasks. They need to determine if Miller or Moulson are interested in staying. If they’re interested in staying then offer them a contract, if not start exploring trade options. There is no point in keeping either one the rest of the season if they are going to walk without compensation. We are still desperate for prospects and this will only accelerate the process of fixing the scoring issue. Of course we could deal with both the scoring and UFA issue at the same time by dealing the UFA’s for a proven scoring commodity, but finding a team willing to part with scoring at the deadline will prove tough.

    • Jes

      Well said my friend.

  • wolfdoctor

    Take care of the UFA’s and RFA’s first.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      There is now a voting option.
      I agree taking care of UFA’s and RFA is going to be the biggest are for Murray

  • Caitlin Campbell

    Post is now updated with a poll- sorry for the slip up everyone

  • Jes

    Trading Miller should be first on his list. The longer he waits the less we will get for him.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Wouldn’t be surprised if they do everything they can to keep him TBH. Need the cap hit

      • Jes

        Naw unless they give him the max salary he will have absolute 0 chance of staying.

        Wonder how far his play will slip next season when he’s got no Olympic team to audition for and no contract to worry about?

        • davidmuscalo

          You don’t trade your greatest asset, you sign him to a six-year contract at whatever salary he wants. That is how you build a winning team around a proven winner.

          • Jes

            Ya if your close to playoffs. Guys 33 years old guy he won’t be nearly as good 3 years down the road when we are near playoff contention.


          • davidmuscalo

            I wonder how Brodour or Hasek would reply to your remark?

          • Jes

            Lol haha come back with those names when he wins a cup or two.

            Also Brodeue and Hasek weren’t as good when they reached 36. They were on some good teams.

          • davidmuscalo

            Cups are won by teams, not goalies alone. Just ask Hasek. Ha! Ha! Ha!

          • Jes

            Lol really?

            Comparing Miller to Hasek is laughable. If Hasek had the Briere/Drury team in front of him we’d have at least 2 Stanley Cups right now.

            From 1993-2001 Hasek won 6 Vezina trophies and 2 Harts (Nominated for another 3). Millers has what 1 Vezina and 0 Hart’s? Hasek won those 6 Vezina’s with absolutely no one in front of him. So give your head a shake my friend. Don’t get me wrong Miller’s a good goalie but to put him in the company of some of the greatest goalies that have ever lived is pretty comical. Ha! Ha! Ha!

  • jimbobv2

    Lack of scoring is a short term issue for a team that is more focused on the long term.

    Murray needs to figure out what players on the team and in the pipeline are “his type of players” and get a game plan together about how to deal with the players that don’t fit in with what he wants to build.

    There is an urgency to figure out whether he wants to, and can, extend any of the UFAs. If he wants to move on, or has to move on, from them, then he has to maximize the return he gets.

    He also should look at Stafford, Enroth, and Grigorenko who could all be gone after next season, as well.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      That’s the one thing I worry about as well scoring is just a short term fix but it will also tie in down the road..
      Murray has a lot to do throughout the organization

      • jimbobv2

        Scoring is obviously a need at both the NHL level and in the prospect pipeline. But, the way the question was phrased, it seemed like you were talking about solving the scoring issue at the NHL level.

        Personally, the draft good offensive players and develop them is the proper route to go. It is rare to be able to get top line guys in other ways unless you see potential in an underdeveloped guy, can trade for him, and then he blossoms here.

        Kind of like how other teams might view Grigorenko right now or how Briere worked out here.

  • Ron Cianciosi

    Buy out Leino now

    • Labbatt

      This Needs To Happen. I Just Hope We Don’t Have To Keep To Reach The Cap Floor.

      • Jes

        I doubt they’ll keep him to just get to the cap floor. There are plenty of players out there that are capable of doing more then Leino out there that we can overpay. The guy has got an amazing 6 points and 0 goals through 30 games or something so far this season. Not buying him out this season will be one of the biggest mistakes of Murray’s so far short tenure here.

        • Labbatt

          Then i hope they keep him in the press box so he doesn’t get another season ending injury.

        • [email protected]

          The huge contract that Leino has needs to be stricken from our books. The only reason he got that kind of money (in my opinion), is because Pegula was trying to do two things. Show us here in Buffalo that he wasn’t afraid to spend big money, and send a message around the league that just because Buffalo is a smaller market team, they can spend big-market money. That is just my take on the situation, feel free to let me know yours.

          • Jes

            That’s more of a secondary reason IMO. We needed a number 1 center that offseason. While Richards showed absolutely no willingness to come here that’s why we HAD TOO sign someone for that number 1 center position. Obviously there was no one else available at that position.

            Regier didn’t want to buy him out because he didn’t want to fess up toa mistake. But now Murray is in as the new boss so I see him gone by the end of the season unless he gets injured.

  • davidmuscalo

    It the Sabres lose Miller through either a trade or free agency, they might as well fold their tent, because you can not go anywhere in the NHL without a superior goalie. Without Miller the Sabres would be stuck with Enroth or some other less than ready for prime time goalie. You can say what you want about Enroth, the statistics show that the team rarely wins when he is in goal. The most recent demonstration of this fact is the loss to Florida last week in the shootout. Against a weak team, the Sabres lost in the shootout with Enroth in goal. Conversely, several nights later against a fairly good team, Washington, the Sabres won in the shoot out with Miller in goal.

    The day Miller leaves the Sabres will be a very dark day in Buffalo hockey annals. At this point in time, I think he will leave of his own volition. If we think this season is bad, wait until next season.

  • Jes

    I wonder what it’ll take to get Maata out of Pittsburgh? I heard that Maata and Ristolainen are really good friends.