After a thorough review of the entire organization from owner Terry Pegula, the Buffalo Sabres ended up hiring the man many suspected he would all along: Jason Botterill. The consensus amongst most NHL insiders is that Botterill is a good fit for the position, but why? Who is Jason Botterill and why did he generate so much attention from the Sabres and the media?
A former Sabre, Botterill had a nearly 10 year pro hockey career that saw him play not only in Buffalo but also in Dallas, Atlanta and Calgary. After retiring form the game in 2005, Botterill returned to college as a 31 year-old to attain his Master of Business Administration degree and immediately began working with the NHL’s head offices as a scout. In 2007, he was hired by the Pittsburgh Penguins as director of hockey administration and worked closely with the team’s management group in their navigation of the NHL’s salary cap. Working his way throughout the organization, Botterill ascended to the position of assistant general manager and was instrumental in Penguins’ contract negotiations and player scouting and development.
In 2011, The Hockey News named Botterill one of the NHL’s most powerful people under the age of 40. Now 40 in 2017, Botterill remains a well respected executive thanks to his attention to detail and ability to relate to players on a personal level.
Sabres fans obviously have high hopes for the new boss in Buffalo, but what can they expect from Botterill this offseason? He’ll have some work to do, and at the top of his list is finding a new head coach. “With so many young players in our organization, a developer, an educator is going to be very important, a communicator,” Botterill said at his introductory press conference. “In today’s world, today’s game, they have to have that strong communication with the players.” Sounds a bit different than the Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma combo that Sabres fans have endured the past few seasons.