By Brandon J. Koch
I used to love former Sabres GM Tim Murray.
Loved the way he talked, it was a breath of fresh air. He told it how it was. Loved the moves he made, trying to turn around this team. I knew he was a good scout….
I’ll leave it there.
That’s what former GMTM is, a scout.
Murray is now gone, leaving current general manager Jason Botterill to clean up the mess Murray left behind. That’s a process that will take some time.
The Buffalo Sabres are 5-10-4 to start this season, and are a complete mess. Most if not all of Murray’s nucleus of players are still here.
He drafted Jack Eichel, that’s by far his best move as GM. I should say settled, Murray had an Obsession with Connor McDavid. Jack Eichel, I believe, will be a top 5 scorer one day.
As I start to look back, where did all the draft capital go? Where’s the deep prospect pool? It’s all gone. There’s Brendan Guhle, which is a Murray pick. He’s looking to be an absolute solid hockey player. Rasmus Asplund has some promise, he could be a year away. 2014 2nd round pick Vaclav Karabacek has talent, waiting to see what he does.
The trade on 2015 draft night was an absolute steal. He took advantage of the Avs, getting Ryan O’Reilly. His contract extension? Left as a TBD.
But it’s starting to look like the bad moves are outweighing the good moves.
1. Signing of Matt Moulson
The 5-year, $25 million dollar move was made to get to the cap floor, but there were plenty of other ways to get there. It’s hurting the Sabres now badly in terms of cap and on the ice, he’s barley playing. Still have a few more seasons at a 5 million dollar cap hit.
2. Robin Lehner trade
I like Lehner as a goaltender, I think he can help this hockey team moving forward. But giving up a 1st round pick for him is to me, the second worst move he has done as GM. If you were going to trade a 1st rounder, make it for something better. Also David Legwand was acquired as well…
3. Trading for Josh Gorges
Yeah I understand he brings leadership and toughness, yadi yada. For a 3.9 million dollar cap hit the Sabres are not getting enough play out of Gorges. Once again in and out of lineup. I remember Murray said he would help shape up the locker room, well there were a bunch of problems last year. Gorges is in his last year of deal.
4. Pysyk- Kulikov trade.
2016 Draft saw Murray trade Mark Pysyk, a 2016 2nd round pick, and 2016 3rd round pick for Dmitry Kulikov and a 2016 2nd round pick. I like puck possession that Pysyk brought, but Kulikov was a DISASTER last season. I liked the trade at first, Kulikov had talent and seemed like an upgrade. Boy, was I wrong.
5. Lack of goal scoring signings
Summer 2016: yeah the Okposo signing was going to help scoring. But I’m taking about bargain deals. Players like Michael Grabner, Patrick Eaves, Thomas Vanek. All signed for cheap and put up goals. The Sabres were bottom in 5 on 5 scoring last season.
Grabner: $1.6- 27 goals on 2016
Eaves: $1 mil- 32 goals in 79 games with Stars and Ducks
Vanek: $2.6- 17 goals for Florida and Detroit.
Can’t help to think that I was wrong about GMTM and that his history of bad moves are big reasons why the Sabres are in the position they are now.
By Brandon J. Koch