Buffalo Sabres: 3 reasons Kevyn Adams extension was genius

The Buffalo Sabres extended general manager Kevyn Adams earlier today, and it was a genius move, nonetheless. Here are three reasons why. 

The Buffalo Sabres continue to achieve franchise stability, a stark contrast from the 10-Plus Years of Misery plaguing the organization that started back in 2011-12. Earlier in the summer, the Sabres extended Tage Thompson, and now, they extended the Man in Charge, Kevyn Adams.

So why such high marks in extending a general manager? For one, Adams is the first general manager in recent memory to take the long view, and as I’ve said so many times, the right view. Adams doesn’t panic, as Tim Murray did when he drafted Jack Eichel then immediately tried to surround him with veterans.

Buffalo Sabres smart to extend Adams: Reason #1 – Proper Rebuilds

Tim Murray did something reminiscent of what the Detroit Red Wings did this offseason: Flooded the roster in an attempt to become an immediate contender. We all know how that worked out for Murray. Fast-forward to today, and none of those veterans are left.

The list includes Robin Lehner, Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, Zach Bogosian, there are too many to name. He also traded away aging veterans who could have helped guide the incoming rookies like Eichel.

Adams has done a complete 180, holding onto the likes of Craig Anderson, Kyle Okposo, Zemgus Girgensons, and welcoming back former Sabres like Riley Sheahan. None of the above will be around when the Sabres become regular contenders, but at least they are here to mentor the young guys.

It’s one reason we see Okposo, though potentially a low-key player, becoming the team captain this year. This lets the young players focus on developing their skill-set without anything extra like team captaincy on their plates.

Reason #2 – Proven Track Record in the NHL Draft

Some may see this is premature, but given the production we saw in the Prospects Challenge, Adams’ drafts warranted sound early returns. He also drafted Jack Quinn and J.J. Peterka, both of whom figure to play in Buffalo this season.

He drafted Owen Power, who will contend for the Calder Trophy barring anything unforeseen. And don’t count Quinn or Peterka out just yet. In the Prospects Challenge, players like Tyson Kozak, Isak Rosen, and Aleksandr Kisakov were standouts, each from the 2021 Draft Class.

Matt Savoie, the ninth overall pick in 2022, was also outstanding. Jiri Kulich missed the first game of the tournament, then turned around and scored three points (1 + 2), against the New Jersey Devils prospects. Mats Lindgren and Vsevolod Komarov also enjoyed good outings.

And we haven’t even talked about the international players, where Noah Ostlund, Viktor Neuchev, Nikita Novikov, and Viljami Marjala are also turning heads. It’s safe to say Adams built one of the best, if not the best, prospect pools in the NHL. Oh, and he also traded for Devon Levi, who’s only one of the best goaltenders in the NCAA.

Reason #3 – Extending Adams brings an identity

Contrary to popular opinion, I do give former general manager Jason Botterill credit. Yes, you can castigate me, but at least Botterill brought in Dylan Cozens, Filip Cederqvist, Lukas Rousek, Rasmus Dahlin, Mattias Samuelsson, Linus Wiessbach, Jacob Bryson, Oskari Laaksonen, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, and perhaps even Ryan Johnson and Erik Portillo.

If Casey Mittelstadt gets it together, he’s another name we can credit Botterill with. But despite the above draft picks, Botterill never brought the Sabres an identity. Following a rebuild, the Buffalo Sabres were supposed to look like what, exactly?

Botterill blew landmark, trades, most notably, perhaps, the Ryan O’Reilly trade. It’s safe to say Adams’ trades have thus far garnered different results. Even if critics were quick to point fingers at the general manager.

Further, most of Botterill’s picks were late bloomers, as only two played regularly at the NHL level by the time the Pegulas fired him. In other words, Botterill failed to bring an identity to the Buffalo Sabres.

Adams, however, is doing that with successful drafting and signing free agents as needed. The Sabres have an incredible pool of goaltenders, but they aren’t NHL-ready yet. Enter Eric Comrie. They have outstanding potential in the defensive rotation but no established veteran showing them the way. Hello, Ilya Lyubushkin!

That said, the Sabres have an identity through Adams, which is to build their teams through the prospect pool, mainly through the draft, while supplementing as-needed with free agents. It is the type of identity that will bring eventual success to the organization. Perhaps even long-term.

Article Source: Sabres sign Adams to multi-year contract extension by Buffalo Sabres

(Historical data provided by Hockey-Reference)