HOW SERIOUS OF A CANDIDATE IS BOTTERILL?
Sabres owner Terry Pegula cleaned house today over hauling the hockey operations, hiring former Sabre Pat LaFontaine as their new President of Hockey Operations and former Buffalo coach Ted Nolan as interim head coach.
It remains to be seen if the hires are anything more than a PR hire as LaFontaine has little to no experience as a personnel man and Nolan is widely viewed by NHL people as not being an ideal coach for today’s NHL players.
The move, though, that will shape the franchise moving forward is the hiring of the new GM. Word is the hand picked person from top senior advisors in the Sabres organization is Penguins assistant General Manager Jason Botterill, NHL sources say, but Pegula’s hiring of LaFontaine is believed to be seen as lessening Botterill’s chances for the job.
Pegula has given LaFontaine a significant amount of power in shaping the franchise and the buzz in NHL circles is Rick Dudley being the favorite with Neil Smith a sleeper.
Appearing on NHL Live, TSN’s Bob McKenzie listed Botterill, Dudley and Smith as the three prominent names being mentioned. Buffalo News Bucky Gleason who is very well connected to the Sabres, threw two new names into the ring, writing “Four names to remember, in no particular order, for #Sabres GM: Jim Benning, Rick Dudley, Jason Botterill, Claude Loiselle.”