The Buffalo Sabres have not made the playoffs since 2011 and have been without a cohesive plan for success. After a disappointing under new coach Ralph Kreuger, co-owner and team president Kim Pegula indicated that Jason Botterill would return for a fourth year as the club’s general manager, but less than a month after the vote of confidence, the Sabres have fired Botterill and assistants Randy Sexton and Steve Greeley, and hiring former NHLer Kevyn Adams as their new GM.
“This decision was made after many candid discussions with Jason during a full review of our hockey operation.” The club said in a press release on Tuesday. “We recognized we have philosophical differences regarding how best to put ourselves in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup. So, we decided to make this change.”
Botterill was thought to be relatively safe in his position entering his third season with Buffalo, in spite of swinging and missing on Phil Housley as his first choice as head coach, but that assumption began to wane in February, as the club sold the expiring contracts of Marco Scandella, Conor Sheary and terminated the contract of defenseman Zach Bogosian while buying short-term fixes like Michael Frolik and Wayne Simmonds to stay in the playoff race.
Adams, 45, played for six clubs during an 11-year NHL career, winning a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006 and joined the Sabres organization as a player development coach in 2009. He served as an assistant coach under Lindy Ruff from 2011 to 2013 before being relieved of his duties and joining the management team of the Harborcenter as vice president and director of the Academy of Hockey. In September 2019, he was promoted to be the club’s Vice President of Business Administration.
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“We have had the pleasure of watching Kevyn build his post-playing career over the past nine years under multiple roles throughout our organizations. We are confident Kevyn and Ralph will work together to build a consistent contender. As always, we are here to provide the necessary resources.”
The Sabres finished with a 30-31-8 record and just outside of the expanded 24-team playoff format this season. It was likely that Botterill was facing the prospect of either making the playoffs next season or getting fired, which would make it necessary for him to make significant changes and additions to the current roster to make that possible.
Sabres Leading Scorers 2019/20