After scoring a second interview with the Buffalo Sabres, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl believes that Jason Botterill is the favorite to replace Tim Murray as general manager. Vogl reports that the Buffalo News has yet to hear if another candidate has received a second interview. As far as this writing, only Botterill has visited with the Sabres twice. From Vogl:
Buffalo has held a second interview with Botterill for its GM job, according to multiple reports Wednesday. It’s not known how many of the seven candidates are getting second looks, but The Buffalo News has learned that one has not been contacted for another talk.
That would point to Botterill as a favorite.
Vogl goes on to list several reasons why the former Buffalo forward–and Michigan graduate–could end up getting the top job. First, with a background in hockey and a degree in economics, he’s become an “expert” in salary cap analysis. Working as an assistant general manager with defending champion Pittsburgh for over a decade, he has seen first hand how to juggle high salaries while filling in the lineup with talent at a cheaper price. In addition to being the GM of the AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, a team that has seen rousing success, Botterill has also helped the NHL front office with everything from scouting to player development. With a resume boasting so many rich assets, especially for a team that has seen considerable success for a decade, it’s obvious why Boterrill would be considered a “slam dunk” for the job.
The Sabres desperately need that success after being out of the playoffs for the past six seasons, despite drafting a dominant player in Jack Eichel back in 2015. The firings of Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma led many to conclude that it was Eichel’s doing, though that story was dismissed later by Eichel. But it still makes the next coach hire tricky.
Should it be Botterill, he’s already had considerable success hiring coaches, as it was his decision to bring Mike Sullivan aboard for Wilkes-Barre. Sullivan was promoted last season to the big club, and eventually led the Pens to a Stanley Cup.
If the past is any indication of future success, Buffalo may be in for a home run hire should it be Botterill.