The Buffalo Sabres have fired general manager Jason Botterill, and have named Kevyn Adams as his successor. The news came early Tuesday morning, along with comments from team owners Kim and Terry Pegula that state key differences in opinion in terms of the team’s direction and pursuit of the Stanley Cup, as explanation for his firing.
Botterill, 44, was named GM in Buffalo back on May 11 of 2017. His tenure included zero playoff runs as well as a number of lopsided trades and big-number contracts. He also replaced then head coach Dan Bylsma with Phil Housley, before firing Housley this past offseason and bringing in fellow Manitoban Ralph Krueger to man the bench. This season, the Sabres went 30-31-8 and missed the playoffs for the ninth-straight year.
“This morning, we informed Jason Botterill he will no longer be the General Manager of the Sabres,” the Pegula family said in a team-issued press release. “This decision was made after many candid discussions with Jason during a full review of our hockey operation. We recognized we have philosophical differences regarding how best to put ourselves in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup. So, we decided to make this change. We wish Jason and his family all the best moving forward, and we thank him for his time and energy devoted to our organization and to the City of Buffalo.”
Botterill, who grew up in Winnipeg, spent eight seasons (1997-98 to 2004-05) trying to crack to the NHL, but seemingly came up short. Lacing up for the Dallas Stars, Atlanta Thrashers, Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound winger managed to stick for 88 games, where he collected five goals, 14 points and 89 penalty minutes. His management career with Buffalo wasn’t much better.
Back in June of 2019, the now former GM dished out a monstrous eight-year, $72 million contract to supposed rental player Jeff Skinner, after trading away Ryan O’Reilly, and adding veteran Wayne Simmonds. Botterill also neglected to sign any big-name free agents during each of the past three summer signing periods. To top off it all, he failed Buffalo’s prized possession, Jack Eichel. Now under the direction of Steinbach’s Ralph Krueger, the Sabres will look to turn things around before the start of the 2020-21 season.
“New General Manager Kevyn Adams and Head Coach Ralph Krueger already have a close working relationship and we are excited to see what they can do together as we reconfigure our hockey operations,” the Pegula family added. “We have the benefit of this long 2020 pause to take time to re-organize and re-energize our hockey department. We recognize the importance of this offseason with so many player decisions to be made.”