Jan 9, 2014, 2:09 PM EST
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.”
Nov 22, 2014, 3:29 PM EST
He’s out Saturday, for sure.
Nov 22, 2014, 2:50 PM EST
A fun way to mislead people about Cory Schneider’s workhorse run.
Nov 22, 2014, 1:55 PM EST
NHL makes it official.
Nov 22, 2014, 1:36 PM EST
Not a lot of good news in Edmonton.
Nov 22, 2014, 12:40 PM EST
“They know who is the man.”
Nov 22, 2014, 11:32 AM EST
Tough loss for Vancouver.
Nov 22, 2014, 11:07 AM EST
His goal got the biggest reaction in Columbus on Friday.
Nov 22, 2014, 10:20 AM EST
He’s been hot in the AHL lately.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:45 AM EST
(Waits for “everything” jokes.)
Nov 22, 2014, 1:45 AM EST
Nov 22, 2014, 12:40 AM EST
Booed off the ice at the end of this game.
Nov 21, 2014, 11:52 PM EST
It was nice.
Nov 21, 2014, 11:29 PM EST
Going from bad to worse for Edmonton.
Nov 21, 2014, 10:51 PM EST
Lucic didn’t drop his gloves. Prout did. History between these two.
Nov 21, 2014, 10:17 PM EST
There’s a history between these two.
Nov 21, 2014, 10:02 PM EST
Columbus was leading 2-0 at the time.
Nov 21, 2014, 9:40 PM EST
Ranks seventh in the NHL in ice time.
Nov 21, 2014, 8:49 PM EST
Possible headbutt in this fight?
Nov 21, 2014, 8:11 PM EST
They’ve won big and they’ve lost big.
Nov 21, 2014, 7:14 PM EST
A San Jose draft pick from 2008.
- Report: Dan Hamhuis’ injury is significant, but not season-ending 2
- Been there, done that: Oilers lose five straight for second time this season 7
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ 77
- Video: Prout drops Lucic with one punch 42
- NHL grants Kings cap relief for Voynov, who’s still suspended indefinitely 31
- Trade: Stars get Demers from Sharks, send Dillon to San Jose 18
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now 77
- Dallas signs Jason Spezza to four-year, $30 million extension 18
- Video: Ovechkin with an unreal dangle, scores game-winner 17
- Video: Avs’ Tanguay takes Ovechkin shot to the face (Updated) 4
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (80)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (77)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Wild put Harding on waivers (Updated) (52)
- After Voynov suspension, Lombardi wonders if teams need a ‘cushion’ in case a player is a ‘bank robber, kleptomaniac’ (51)