Jan 9, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT
As we wrote this morning, Tim Murray is considered one of the top talent evaluators in the game. Suffice to say, the new general manager of the Buffalo Sabres will need to use all his evaluating expertise to take the NHL’s last-place team and turn it into a Stanley Cup contender.
The draft is obviously going to be important.
“You build a team through the draft,” said Murray. “Good drafting allows you to trade well, and then you use free agency to put you over the top.”
But there are other pressing issues for Murray. Such as…
What does he do with Ryan Miller?
The club’s 33-year-old franchise goalie is a pending unrestricted free agent who said in December that he’s “not going to sit around and let promises get thrown around” by management.
When asked about Miller this morning, Murray said he first needed to get a feel for the trade market before making any decisions about the club’s list of pending UFAs, which also includes captain Steve Ott, Matt Moulson, and Henrik Tallinder.
“The market dictates that,” said Murray. “I can’t go out and tell you right now I’m going to trade all the pending UFAs if there’s no market to trade them. If there’s a market and it makes sense…this team’s in last place right now; everybody could be traded.”
The market for Miller is a tough one to predict. Typically, Stanley Cup contenders are already set in goal. There’s been speculation (much of it ours) that St. Louis could be a potential landing spot for Miller prior to the March 5 deadline, but if there’s no guarantee of re-signing him beyond this season, the market for a rental goalie will be limited.
What does he do with Mikhail Grigorenko?
“You can draft a guy in the first round. If you don’t develop him right…you can lose him.”
That was Murray this morning, and it wasn’t hard to picture Grigorenko while he was saying it. The Sabres selected the talented 19-year-old in 2012 with the 12th overall pick. In hindsight, they shouldn’t have kept him with the big club last season. They did eventually send him back to junior, but not until the first year of his entry-level contract had been triggered.
In 43 NHL games, Grigorenko has just three goals and five assists. Right now he’s in limbo, unable to go to the AHL and possibly unable to go to junior. Obviously, Murray needs to figure out a better development plan than the one that’s gotten the situation to this point.
What does he do with Ted Nolan?
Murray was non-committal when asked about the Sabres’ head coach.
“There’s no preconceived notions,” he said. “He’s the coach of the hockey team and I’m looking forward to getting to know him, getting to know the staff, and getting to know the style of coaches they are and the style they want to play…It’s a clean slate here.”
The consensus opinion is that Murray will hire his own bench boss when all’s said and done. But while that may well be the case, it’s not unheard of for a new GM to stick with the coach.
Off the top of my head, when Mike Gillis was hired as the new GM in Vancouver, it seemed likely that Alain Vigneault would be fired. Instead, Gillis stuck with Vigneault and nearly won the Stanley Cup a few seasons later.
In fact, here’s what Gillis said after he got the job: “I haven’t made any predisposed decisions…This is a clean slate moving forward.”
Jul 29, 2015, 10:40 PM EDT
He played in 502 games, primarily with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Jul 29, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT
The 24-year-old gives agreed to an entry-level deal.
Jul 29, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT
Will he live up to his next contract?
Jul 29, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT
“It really wasn’t about Dainius himself.”
Jul 29, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT
His collection can be had for $5.7 million.
Jul 29, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
The contest will air on Dec. 31 while the Classic itself is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET on Jan. 1.
Jul 29, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT
Staying healthy would help, too.
Jul 29, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT
The Seal Beach Detention Center isn’t exactly Shawshank.
Jul 29, 2015, 1:03 PM EDT
“I relaxed down there and came back with the same attitude and everything kind of took care of itself.”
Jul 29, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT
Veteran forward had just four goals and six assists in 74 games last season.
Jul 29, 2015, 11:58 AM EDT
“So hopefully it’s nothing that keeps coming back.”
Jul 29, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT
Can he give the Oilers the goaltending they so badly need?
Jul 29, 2015, 10:21 AM EDT
The 26-year-old goalie is coming off a tough season.
Jul 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Spent last season with Lugano in the Swiss League.
Jul 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Y’know, everyday stuff.
Jul 28, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT
Jul 28, 2015, 9:38 PM EDT
Potentially a move to Switzerland, or the Czech League.
Jul 28, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT
Returning him to Rochester for a third time.
Jul 28, 2015, 7:39 PM EDT
Washington d-man is expected to miss the next two weeks of offseason training.
Jul 28, 2015, 6:26 PM EDT
Swiss winger came over from Calgary at last year’s deadline.
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