Jason Botterill will be the new general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, the team announced on Thursday.
“We are very happy to welcome Jason Botterill to the Buffalo Sabres family,” Sabres owner Terry Pegula said in a statement. “Jason’s hockey knowledge, experience drafting and developing players, and his approach to management stood out to us during our interview process. Jason has built a solid reputation as a leader that connects strongly with players and staff around him. We are confident he will have a positive impact within our organization and will help us get to our ultimate goal.”
Pegula said in the press conference after Tim Murray was fired that he regretted not being part of that hiring process. He had a hand in this one, and after a number of candidates interviewed, Botterill, who’s long been worthy of a GM job, emerged as the favorite.
Botterill, 40, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2007 and has played a key role in helping build two Stanley Cup winning teams. He joined the team as Director of Hockey Administration and worked his way up to the title of Associate General Manager, a job he was promoted to in 2014. There he helped GM Jim Rutherford with scouting, player development, contract negotiations and managing the salary cap.
His first task will be to hire a new head coach to replace Dan Bylsma, who was dismissed along with Murray. Sportsnet reported over the weekend that Botterill, who spent parts of four seasons in the Sabres organization, could bring along Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet. If that’s going to be a reality it will likely have to wait until Pittsburgh’s season comes to a close.
Next will be sorting through personnel decisions, like who to re-sign and leave exposed in the Vegas expansion draft next month, and who’s his goalie going forward and if Evander Kane has a future in Buffalo.
Botterill will hit the ground running to reshape a Sabres team that has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs the last six seasons, and there’s a lot of work to do.
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