Report: Bruins assistant Jim Benning is top candidate for Sabres' GM job

Dec 22, 10:44 AM

Pat LaFontaine and the Buffalo Sabres are getting close to naming a new general manager, and according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the top candidate for the job is Boston Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning.

Benning, 50, is in his seventh as Boston's assistant general manager, after serving twelve seasons in the Sabres organization including eight seasons as that team's Director of Amateur Scouting.

Jan 10, 1:10 PM

Report: Sabres to remove interim tag from head coach Nolan

Jan 10, 1:10 PM

The Buffalo Sabres are reportedly set to adjust Ted Nolan's job title.

The Sabres have gone 8-11-4 since Nolan was re-hired in November.

The 55-year-old coached the Sabres in 1995-96 and '96-'97, going 73-72-19 over that span.

Jan 9, 6:34 PM

New GM Tim Murray pledges 'quick rebuild' for Sabres; has assets to move

Jan 9, 6:34 PM

New general manager Tim Murray told Sabres TV he plans on doing a quick rebuild, which in his mind begins with good drafting, which leads to trades, and finally free agent signings.

It's a tall task for Murray, who inherits a team at the bottom of the league in terms of goals for at 74 while all other 29 teams have scored at least 100. Buffalo is 12-26-4, with just seven of those victories coming in regulation or overtime.

Murray has indicated a willingness to trade anyone on the roster if it will help the team, so here's a look at some of the pieces he could move to get his quick rebuild underway:

Matt Moulson

Former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier acquired Moulson from the New York Islanders along with a pair of high draft picks in exchange for pending UFA Thomas Vanek in one of his final moves before being fired. Moulson, 30, is also a pending UFA and can provide any team with a boost in goal-scoring, having scored at least 30 in each of the last three full seasons.

Moulson's 18 points with Buffalo place him second on the team and his eight goals are tied for the team lead, and the right team could be willing to pay high for his services at the trade deadline.

Steve Ott

Ott, 31, was named team captain at the beginning of the season, but his pending UFA status and truculent reputation make him a tantalizing target in spite of the rough season he is having. Ott has just 11 points and his shooting percentage (6.8) is the lowest it's been in seven years.

His declining production indicates he may be more suited to a supporting role going forward, but a cup contender could be willing to deal a pick or prospect to add Ott to its forward depth for a playoff run.

Ryan Miller

Miller, 33, has been with the Sabres his entire career, appearing in over 500 games and recording 280 wins. He has also been Buffalo's best player during this dismal season, posting a .927 save percentage in 30 appearances. Miller's loyalty and performance is a double-edged sword, as trading him would likely cripple the Sabres in the short-term, but the potential long-term benefits of trading one of the league's star goaltenders might be too much to pass up.

Playoff-hopeful teams like the Red Wings, Blackhawks and Capitals have all struggled with issues in the crease this season and have young assets to move to solidify their netminding situations, but it seems safe to assume Murray won't make a move involving Miller unless the return is ample.

Miller's limited no-trade clause makes trading him trickier, but his expiring contract raises the unappetizing possibility of losing him for nothing after the season ends.

Other assets

Tyler Ennis, 24, will be a restricted free agent after the season and the diminutive forward relative youth and controllable contract situation could attract some interest. Drew Stafford, 28, has two years remaining on his deal but could use a change of scenery with his production on the decline. Towering defenseman Tyler Myers, 23, has a no-trade clause that doesn't kick in until the 2016-17 season and could command a big return from a team that believes in his potential enough to shoulder his contract, which pays him $5.5 million per season until 2019.

Jan 9, 11:36 AM

Sabres name Tim Murray general manager

Jan 9, 11:36 AM

The Buffalo Sabres' search for a general manager is over.

The Sabres announced former Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray has been hired as the team's new GM.

Murray has been the Senators assistant GM for the last seven seasons, and he becomes the seventh GM in Sabres history.

The new general manager addressed the future of interim head coach Ted Nolan.

"He's the coach right now and whatever happens from this point will determine everything else. I'm looking forward to getting to know him."

Murray was asked about the possibility of trading players including goaltender Ryan Miller, and said no one on the current roster is untouchable.

"This team's in last place right now. Everybody could be traded."

The club also hired former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Craig Patrick as a special assistant and advisor to the hockey operations department. He had served as senior advisor to hockey operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets since 2011.

Former Sabres GM Darcy Regier was fired on November 14 after 16 seasons at the helm.

Jan 7, 8:53 PM

Report: Tim Murray will be the Sabres new general manager

Jan 7, 8:53 PM

John Shannon of Sportsnet is reporting the Buffalo Sabres have decided on a new general manager. 

Tim Murray is currently the Ottawa Senators assistant general manager. All other candidates have been contacted letting them know the search is over. Murray and the Sabres still have to agree on a contract.

Dec 11, 11:18 PM

Report: Sabres ask permission to interview Kings exec Mike Futa for GM job

Dec 11, 11:18 PM

The ever expanding list of candidates in the Buffalo Sabres' search for a General Manager now includes Los Angeles Kings co-director of amateur scouting Mike Futa, according to a report from CBC's Elliotte Friedman.

The 44-year-old Futa lives in Toronto and has worked for the Kings as the co-director of amateur scouting since 2007.

Dec 5, 8:00 PM

LaFontaine will wait for the right GM, thinks Nolan's job is safe

Dec 5, 8:00 PM

Buffalo Sabres President of Hockey Operations joined the Sabres broadcast crew during their first intermission of Thursday's game against the New York Rangers. During this time he talked about the current general manager search, and the safety of interim head coach Ted Nolan's job.

"I want to make that decision, there's no timetable, there's right guys out there. I've had some good meetings, I've learned a lot, I've extended a few names... we have to take the patience to pick the right candidate."

On interim head coach Ted Nolan's position being safe with a new general manager:

"I think so. I think he has a great opportunity in front of him. That's a decision for the hockey department, he's a great communicator, great motivator, and he's done a tremendous job already. When you change a direction it takes a bit of time. We have a ways to go."

LaFontaine is committed to bringing the right candidate in to manage the Sabres and will not rush the process.

Dec 5, 7:17 PM

Report: Sabres list of GM candidates still expanding

Dec 5, 7:17 PM

The Buffalo Sabres and Pat LaFontaine, their newly appointed President of Hockey Operations, have yet to fill the club's vacant General Manager position. 

While LaFontaine has interviewed a number of assistant General Manager's including talented executives like Paul Fenton, Jim Benning and Tim Murray, it doesn't appear as if the Sabres are zeroing in on any one candidate.

"I don't believe they're getting any closer (to naming a new GM)," TSN reporter Bob McKenzie said in a radio appearance on TSN1050 on Thursday evening. "In fact, I think they're still expanding their list."

It certainly sounds as if Buffalo's search for a New General Manager could persist into the new year.

Dec 3, 11:11 PM

LaFontaine will likely hire a first-time GM for vacant Sabres job

Dec 3, 11:11 PM

The Buffalo Sabres are still looking for a general manager and have begun the process by interviewing candidates. Bob McKenzie divulged some details of the process Tuesday afternoon on TSN Radio 1050.

"Tim Murray's name has come up now out of Ottawa, I'm assuming that's the name mentioned as the new name. I'm not sure whether Brad Treliving from the Phoenix Coyotes, assistant GM, whether he's been interviewed or not. I know Jimmy Benning has, I believe Jason Botterill has so the process is underway. I think what people are realizing is Pat LaFontaine is going to be involved and I think whoever takes that job understands that and I think it was all well and good for Pat LaFontaine on the day he was named [GM] and he named Ted Nolan the interim head coach that any general manager who goes in there is going to have the task of understanding Ted Nolan is going to be the coach of the hockey team and it may not be the entire blank slate that some general managers want when they go in. 

The general manager that gets hired by LaFontaine will be somebody who's never been a general manager before, wants to be a general manager and doesn't have a problem working in close consort with Pat LaFontaine. My own personal view point... just a hunch is that Boston Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning... should be or could be the front-runner for that job."

McKenzie also said LaFontaine turned down the Sabres general manager job because he didn't know enough at the time about the league but wants to be on the side helping the new general manager. McKenzie explained what he thinks LaFontaine's philosophy is "I want to give my general manager the freedom to do his job, but I want to make sure I've got some significant input in this as well."

To listen to the entire segment, click here.

Nov 27, 5:13 PM

Canadiens executive Dudley receives raise, won't interview for Sabres job

Nov 27, 5:13 PM

Ex-Buffalo Sabres player and coach, and current Montreal Canadiens executive Rick Dudley will not interview to fill the vacant job as Buffalo's General Manager. 

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Montreal Canadiens have given Dudley a raise rather than grant him permission to interview for the Sabres job.

Dudley has three years of experience as an NHL head coach and has worked as a front-office executive for a variety of teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Atlanta Thrashers and Ottawa Senators. Dudley is particularly well regarded for his ability as an amateur scout.

Nov 24, 9:31 AM

Predators assistant GM Fenton 'would love to' join Sabres

Nov 24, 9:31 AM

Nashville Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton is seen as a candidate for the vacant Buffalo Sabres general manager position, and the veteran executive is certainly interested.

“[Predators general manager David] Poile was talking to them about me being interested in the job,” Fenton told The Hockey News. “And I would love to get an opportunity to talk to them.”

The Hockey News reports Poile called new Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine to vouch for Fenton, but LaFontaine has yet to respond.

Fenton has been in the Predators organization for 16 years, including the last eight in his current role. The 54-year-old made it clear he is ready to take the next step:

"Quite honestly, I would have hoped that an opportunity would have presented itself and I feel like I’ve been prepared. Twenty-one years outside of playing, being involved with professional hockey for 30-plus years, running pro sides, running amateur sides, running player personnel things, being general manager of the American League team and probably being the guy who has had the most influence on any player personnel decision that we make in our organization from the beginning.”

The Pittsburgh Penguins' Jason Botterill, the Montreal Canadiens' Rick Dudley and Jim Benning of the Boston Bruins are the other candidates for the Sabres' job. All of them are assistant general managers. 

Fenton says at this point in his career, he deserves a chance:

“There’s nothing that I haven’t done in this business to say that I’m not ready to be a manager. I make decisions. I have been put on the spot to make decisions on everything from free agency to drafts to trades to any type of acquisition. I live it every day, so for me I think it’s a natural progression.”

Nov 24, 9:31 AM

Report: Coyotes executive Brad Treliving among Sabres GM candidates

Nov 24, 9:31 AM

The search for the next General Manager of the Buffalo Sabres is ongoing, but process reportedly began in earnest this past week. 

The Sabres have already interviewed Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton, and Bruins Assistant General Manager Jim Benning. "What I believe (LaFontaine's) done is contacted some teams and said "look, I am going to ask for permission, but just wait til I get to it,"" said CBC reporter Elliotte Friedman during Hockey Night in Canada's Hot Stove segment on Saturday night.

Added Friedman, "One of the guys who has been added to the list is Brad Treliving in Phoenix, I think he'll be a guy they'll reach out and talk to too."

Treliving, who is the sun of Jim Treliving of Dragon's Den fame, is currently Phoenix's Assistant General Manager and President of Hockey Operations, and has worked with the team since 2007. Treliving's portfolio includes managing the Portland Pirates, Phoenix's AHL affiliate, and managing Phoenix's pro and amateur scouting staffs.

Nov 19, 6:20 PM

Pat LaFontaine to meet with Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning

Nov 19, 6:20 PM

Pat LaFontaine's quest to find a new general manager for the Buffalo Sabres will make a pit-stop in Beantown.

Benning, who played 605 NHL games split between the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs, was a scout for the Sabres from 1994 until 1998.

Nov 17, 11:30 AM

Report: Pat LaFontaine will meet with 'very short list' of GM candidates

Nov 17, 11:30 AM

With the firing of Darcey Regier this past week, the Buffalo Sabres are currently without a General Manager. That's an untenable situation, obviously, and reportedly one that will be remedied soon.

According to CBC broadcaster Glen Healy, newly minted Sabres President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine is set to begin traveling and interviewing a "very short list" of candidates for the job shortly.

During Saturday night's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, Healy mentioned Boston assistant general manager Jim Benning, Canadiens executive Rick Dudley, Nashville Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton, and Pittsburgh Penguins executive Jason Botteril as qualifying for LaFontaine's "short list."

Dudley, a former General Manager and master scout, may be the most interesting name on this list. "I don't think he's the guy for the job," Healy opined during HNIC's Hotstove segment. "He's more of a give him a coffee and a car and let him go scout (type of guy)."

Friedman meanwhile passed along some Dudley related industry chatter: 

"There are people who believe that Rick Dudley never wanted to be a GM again except for Buffalo."

Dudley has previously spent a year as the General Manager of the Atlanta Thrashers, but wasn't retained when the club changed ownership and moved to Winnipeg.