In case you missed it yesterday, the Buffalo Sabres fired General Manager Jason Botterill and have replaced him with the team's Senior Vice President of Business Administration Kevyn Adams.
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In fact, it looks like Sabres have cleaned house firing assistant general managers Randy Sexton and Steve Greely, as well.
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Owners Kim and Terry Pegula also announced that the team's AHL staff for the Rochester Americans have been fired, as well.
In effect, the Pegulas cleaned house. Now there's a belief that Sabres superstar captain Jack Eichel might be at the center of things.
Check out these comments from NHL insider Elliotte Friedman on his latest 31 Thoughts podcast:
"I don't think Botterill wanted to give Jack Eichel that contract and ownership said "we're doing it". And I don't think Botterill wanted to give Jeff Skinner that deal. I think what Botterill wanted to do was offer big money for a low term.
"Jason Botterill, from what I heard, is not a "term guy". He says too many teams get burned by those mistakes and I think he was overruled. I think what they're looking at right here is: There's a finite amount of time here before Eichel says "I had enough.""
Assuming what Friedman is reporting is true, it really confirms things for a lot of Sabres fans. The real belief is that the Pegulas, particularly Kim, has been the brains behind many of the team's big moves. At the very least, the Pegulas get final say on big transactions and signings. Even overruling the GM when necessary.
Fan have been calling for Botterill's head since the season officially ended for the Sabres earlier this month. But Sabres owners Kim and Terry Pegula had given the GM of three seasons some job assurance. Today though, that seems to be all out the window as Kim and Terry Pegula cite "philosophical differences regarding how best to put ourselves in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup" as the reason for firing GM Jason Botterill.
Botterill was a high profile signing by the Sabres when he was hired in May of 2017. He had spent the previous decade with the Pittsburgh Penguins in various executive roles and was even the team's interim general manager in 2014 before the hiring of Jim Rutherford. Botterill was seen as a hot shot, can't miss hiring by the Sabres just three years ago. But in his three years with the club he failed to address many of the team's shortcomings, even compounding matter in some cases with bad trades and questionable signings.
"We have the benefit of this long 2020 pause to take time to reorganize and re-energize our hockey department," the Pegulas said in a prepared statement. "We recognize the importance of this offseason with so many player decisions to be made."
As for Adams, the former NHLer who played 546 career games split between the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, has been in the Sabres organization since 2011. "New General Manager Kevyn Adams and Head Coach Ralph Krueger already have a close working relationship and we are excited to see what they can do together as we reconfigure our hockey operations," the Pegulas statement went on the read.
Read below for the full statement:
The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has relieved Jason Botterill of his duties as General Manager.
Senior Vice President of Business Administration Kevyn Adams has been named General Manager.
"This morning, we informed Jason Botterill he will no longer be the General Manager of the Sabres. This decision was made after many candid discussions with Jason during a full review of our hockey operation. We recognized we have philosophical differences regarding how best to put ourselves in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup. So, we decided to make this change.
"We wish Jason and his family all the best moving forward, and we thank him for his time and energy devoted to our organization and to the City of Buffalo.
"New General Manager Kevyn Adams and Head Coach Ralph Krueger already have a close working relationship and we are excited to see what they can do together as we reconfigure our hockey operations. We have the benefit of this long 2020 pause to take time to reorganize and re-energize our hockey department. We recognize the importance of this offseason with so many player decisions to be made.
"We have had the pleasure of watching Kevyn build his post-playing career over the past nine years under multiple roles throughout our organizations. We are confident Kevyn and Ralph will work together to build a consistent contender. As always, we are here to provide the necessary resources.
"Our fans deserve better, and we are all tasked with the burden to improve and provide them a consistent, contending team for years to come."
-Terry and Kim Pegula, Owners, Buffalo Sabres