It has been almost 24 hours since the Buffalo Sabres made the groundbreaking announcement that Darcy Regier, General Manager of over 16 years, would no longer be employed by the franchise.
Under normal circumstances, it would be a mad dash to uncover who the new General Manger will be, but in this unique situation, things seem to be much different.
Newly-appointed President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine said there is “a short list” of candidates that he and assistant GM Kevin Dineen will sort through to determine the next GM of the Buffalo Sabres.
Under such trying circumstances, it seems logical that LaFontaine would want to get this decision completely right. The Buffalo Sabres are in a fragile rebuilding state, where LaFontaine stresses “patience” and understanding that “there is a direction”.
One of the following four may get the job, or it may be some other hockey mind. In a time where us hockey fans are patently looking to learn more about the Sabres’ potential future, there is no time better than now to dive into a few talked about names that will certainly be strong contenders for the newly-vacated General Manager position.
Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo Sports mentioned Smith’s name as a candidate, while Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal has recently refuted this claim. Either way, Smith surely is an interesting candidate. Smith is the architect of 1993-94 New York Rangers, who won the Stanley Cup. Smith was also responsible for drafting Doug Weight and Alexei Kovalev. During his tenure as Rangers GM, Smith put together a team that was dubbed “Edmonton 2.0” because of their penchant for acquiring Oilers who won the Stanley Cup previously. Smith also has a very personal relationship with Pat LaFontaine. In 2006, Neil Smith was named General Manager of the New York Islanders. During that time, LaFontaine had been working as a special assistant, and even had a role in Smith getting the Islanders job. Smith lasted 40 days as Isles’ GM, and LaFontaine left his position shortly after. To throw a wrench into this theory, who was the head coach of the Islanders while this all went down? Ted Nolan.
This name was originally brought forth by Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet last month, when Darcy Regier originally found himself on the hot seat. Botterill, a former member of the Buffalo Sabres, spent a total of four season in the Sabres organization. He played 36 games with the Sabres and 118 games with the Rochester Americans. Over the past few years, Botterill has worked his way into contention for a General Manager position as an assistant General Manager with the Pittsburgh Penguins. According to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Botterill has “crafted a reputation as a salary-cap specialist and a sharp talent evaluator.” That doesn’t even begin to mention the amount of Pittsburgh ties that this current Sabres organization has. Two ex-Penguins front office employees are currently employed by the Buffalo Sabres in high ranking positions: Senior Advisor Ken Sawyer, who previously was the CEO in Pittsburgh, and Team President Ted Black, former Vice President in Pittsburgh from 1998-2008.
This name was brought forth by the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington. Carriere certainly fits the mold for a few reasons. He currently works for the Montreal Canadiens as an assistant GM to Marc Bergevin. Carriere was drafted 25th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1972 NHL Draft. He played 207 games over four seasons with the franchise. Carriere later returned to the franchise as an Amateur Scout from 1983-1993, and was later promoted to the Director of Player Evaluation from 1993-1995. He also has ties to the Buffalo-area, as his son Nick is in his ninth season as the head coach of the Buffalo State Bengals.
This name has been brought forth all over the internet among respected media members. Dudley began his NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres, where he played in 279 games over six seasons. His first NHL coaching job was also with the Buffalo Sabres from 1989-1991, before he was fired 28 games into the 1991-1992 season. Dudley has served many different roles throughout his NHL front office career. He was the General Manager for the Ottawa Senators from 1998-1999, Tampa Bay Lightning from 1999-2002, Florida Panthers from 2002-2004, and Atlanta Thrashers from 2009-2011. Dudley also served as an assistant GM for the Chicago Blackhawks from 2004-2009, and served as the Toronto Maple Leafs Director of Player Personnel from 2011-2012. He currently serves as the Assistant General Manager to Marc Bergevin with the Montreal Canadiens. According to multiple sources, Dudley seems to be the early and strong favorite for the vacant Sabres General Manager job.
While the clubhouse leader in the General Manager search is not very clear, we do know that business has picked up at the First Niagara Center. Make sure you let us know who you think would best fit in the role of Buffalo Sabres General Manager.