Tim Murray was hired on January 9th 2014, overseeing and helping the Sabres fall to the bottom in the 2nd half of that season. The team finished in 30th for 2 consecutive seasons under his guidance and are on their way to a 3rd season ending at 30th. They are battling Columbus this time around for the “Battle for the Bottom”.
Next season will be Murray’s 3rd full season as GM, 4th if you count the half season, and even though this year has some positives, the team needs to start showing results, or you can fully expect Murray to be on the Hot Seat. If Buffalo has a slow start to the season, don’t expect Terry Pegula to wait long to make a move, as fans are growing sick of the teams cellar dweller mentality.
The hiring of Dan Bsylma was a great move to help this rebuilding franchise, but it’s hard not to wonder if the Sabres are trending towards becoming the next Edmonton Oilers.
The 2015-2016 Buffalo Sabres are definitely more exciting than the Buffalo Tankers of the past 2 years, but still haven’t been able to produce the results fans desperately want.
Murray would be wise to make a few more big deals, acquiring 1 or 2 more solid defensemen, and 1 or 2 more NHL ready wingers, to help this team’s outlook for the 2016-2017 season. If Murray doesn’t make any moves, and expects this team to make a substantial leap next season, he will not be the GM for the full season. The team has too many prospects that aren’t ready yet, being 2-3 years away, and expecting them to make the NHL jump could cost the team greatly.
Murray should be calling teams to move NHL forwards such as Zemgus Girgensons, Tyler Ennis, Johan Larsson, Matt Moulson as these players have been huge disappointments.
Murray should also be willing to package the above players with the top prospect pool in the NHL, to acquire big named players to help end the rebuild. Names like Mark Psyk, Nic Baptiste, William Carrier, Justin Bailey, Vaclav Karabacek, Brycen Martin, and Brady Austin.
The expectations were set higher for this season, and they aren’t being achieved, so his seat is definitely warming up. Not making any moves and expecting Pegula to watch his franchise struggle to compete will not last long. Murray needs to go after and execute 3 to 4 more trades to bring in offensive and defensive players, to make sure he doesn’t get fired next January. 4 years of 30th place will not sit well with fans, even now it’s starting to get old. Murray needs to be smart, and not let his big picture be cut short by failing to have the team show any progress in the standings.