The Buffalo Sabres are adding another talented executive to the front office, as Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that they will hire Sam Ventura as VP of hockey strategy and research. Ventura will be leaving his position with the Pittsburgh Penguins and rejoining former colleague Jason Karmanos, who was hired by the Sabres earlier this year.
As Greg Wyshynski of ESPN points out, Ventura comes from the hockey analytics world and has long been considered as a candidate for a future GM position in the NHL. For now, he’ll join a Sabres organization that has struggled to find any success in recent years, last making the playoffs in 2011.
- William Eklund, who continues to creep up draft boards, has been announced as the winner of the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence by the NHL. The award is given out by NHL Central Scouting to “the candidate who best exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism” in the upcoming draft class. Eklund is ranked as the top international skater even after a tumultuous 2020-21 campaign that included an emergency appendectomy, a positive COVID-19 test and a pre-tournament injury that kept him out of the World Championship.
- The Montreal Canadiens will make several lineup changes as they try to stave off elimination in the Stanley Cup Finals. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Erik Gustafsson, and Jon Merrill will all be scratched in favor of Jake Evans, Alexander Romanov, and Brett Kulak for tonight’s game four. When asked by Wyshynski why Tomas Tatar hasn’t made an appearance during the season, Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme explained that it is “just a matter of combinations and playing at that time of year.” Tatar is an unrestricted free agent this summer.