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The Sabres Observer

Murray’s Aggressiveness Could Speed Up Sabres’ Rebuild

Tim Murray has put the Sabres hockey community on notice that he isn't messing around.  Turning over a quarter of your roster in one day will usually do that.

The Buffalo GM added Brian Gionta and Andrej Meszaros, brought back Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick, and traded a future draft pick for Josh Gorges.  He also signed restricted free agent Marcus Foligno, hefty raise and all.

Two things really stood out after all of these moves yesterday, and both are reasons for Sabres fans to get excited about what's ahead for this franchise.

First off, it's pretty apparent that Murray wasn't kidding when he said awhile back that this rebuild doesn't need to take five years.  He's acting like a man who is in no mood to sit around waiting for his draft picks to slowly and methodically transform into impact players. 

I wouldn't even put it past him to tell the hockey world one year from now that he wants the Sabres to compete for a playoff spot in 2015-16.

Second, Murray is clearly very cognizant of the environment to which he'll be exposing his young players.  Signing the former captain of the heralded Canadiens (and a one-time 48-goal scorer) in Gionta was clearly a move made with that in mind.

While Darcy Regier last season was throwing his teenagers into the fire and putting them in a toxic environment, Murray is going to treat second overall pick Sam Reinhart like the prized possession that he is by surrounding him with experience and proven leadership.

Gorges was beloved by many in Habs Nation, and they aren't exactly thrilled that he's gone.  And he's still young enough, at age 29, to be a part of the core that will attempt to push this Sabres team towards contender status hopefully sooner rather than later.

Same goes for Moulson, who had Buffalo at the top of his list when free agency opened.  There's been some criticism that his career numbers have been inflated by playing with John Tavares.

If Reinhart turns into a bona fide top-line center who helps to inflate Moulson's numbers here, I don't foresee too many Sabres fans complaining about it.

The Sabres' front office is in a good place right now.  They have understanding fans who know what's going on here.  Expectations are low while season ticket sales are still high.

But being a rebuilding team struggling to avoid the basement is one thing, and being one of the worst teams in history and a disgrace to the NHL is another.  It's a bit much to ask Sabres fans to tolerate the latter.

Murray doesn't come across as someone who will put up with it, either.  He and nobody else on the Sabres management team will admit this publicly, but a 15-point improvement over last season -- which could still land them Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in next spring's megadraft -- is a desired result.

Yesterday's roster makeover could be enough to do the trick.

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Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, sabres+rebuild, tim+murray

Comments

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

Wonder what it’s like to have an aggressive GM. Kenny built some kind of mythology around himself as being one of the best pre-cap. Smoke and mirrors.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 07/02/14 at 10:36 AM ET

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He can’t make em sign.  Turning down an extra 3+ million to avoid detroit is not a KH issue.  He offered the money.  Players didn’t want to come.  Not his fault.

Posted by SlimChance on 07/02/14 at 11:13 AM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

But players seem to want to go to places like Dallas and Tampa Bay. I’m not buying it’s not his fault excuse. There’s some disconnect in the overall pitch or something.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 07/02/14 at 11:20 AM ET

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I don’t think it’s Detroit “the hockey club” that’s the problem.  I think it’s the image of detroit being a cesspool drain on the entire state soon to be if not already in bankruptcy problem. Line up all the locations of the 30 teams and unless you have personal knowledge of the city, it easy to want to avoid the place at all costs.  Even a 3+ million cost as we just saw. Unless the players actually come out and give reasons why they refused, I think that’s gotta be in the top two if not #1 reason why.

Posted by SlimChance on 07/02/14 at 11:29 AM ET

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But players seem to want to go to places like Dallas and Tampa Bay. I’m not buying it’s not his fault excuse. There’s some disconnect in the overall pitch or something.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 07/02/14 at 11:20 AM ET

No individual state income taxes in TX and FL.

Posted by George0211 on 07/02/14 at 11:45 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I don’t think it’s Detroit “the hockey club” that’s the problem.  I think it’s the image of detroit being a cesspool drain on the entire state soon to be if not already in bankruptcy problem.

Posted by SlimChance

If it’s the city, then why would someone like Alfie choose to stay there even if he doesn’t play next year. And any player with half a brain knows the only time he’ll ever set foot in the city itself is when he’s at JLA or the new arena. He and his family will live where the rest of the Wings live – in the suburbs.

No, there has to be a lot more to it than Detroit’s image as a “cesspool.” And, from the players perspective, I’d sure love to know what it is.

Anyway, I have a question for you, Dave. What do you think the odds are that Murray is serious about trading Tyler Myers? And if he is serious, what would you, as someone with a vested interest in your team, be happy with as a return from the Wings in that trade? And, no, you can’t have Mantha, DeKeyser or Nyquist. grin

On a personal level, I’m sure you’re greatly encouraged by what took place yesterday. It should make this summer a lot more fun for you.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/02/14 at 11:50 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

No individual state income taxes in TX and FL.

Posted by George0211

Then why did Dan Boyle choose NY, with some of the most outrageous state and city taxes in the U.S., instead of Detroit when Holland offered him more than he got from the Rangers.

Honestly, I just don’t think it’s “the city” or “no state taxes” that are the main reasons that players simply turned their backs on Detroit’s offers of more money and (in some cases) longer terms. It just seems like there has to be more to it than that.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/02/14 at 11:56 AM ET

@DaveDavisHockey's avatar

“Anyway, I have a question for you, Dave. What do you think the odds are that Murray is serious about trading Tyler Myers? And if he is serious, what would you, as someone with a vested interest in your team, be happy with as a return from the Wings in that trade? And, no, you can’t have Mantha, DeKeyser or Nyquist. grin

On a personal level, I’m sure you’re greatly encouraged by what took place yesterday. It should make this summer a lot more fun for you.”

I don’t think Murray wants to trade him, especially with Ehrhoff out of the picture.  That’s why his asking price is so high.

Yes, we’re hoping for a turnaround here - although this season will still be awful.

And regardless of what you think of your GM, Detroit is definitely still considered a model franchise.

Posted by @DaveDavisHockey from Buffalo, NY on 07/02/14 at 12:00 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

But being a rebuilding team struggling to avoid the basement is one thing, and being one of the worst teams in history and a disgrace to the NHL is another.

Very well put.  Regier is such a piece that sometimes I get into a cold sweat about it and its not even my team.  Not a bad looking roster here.  Other than in G.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 07/02/14 at 10:55 PM ET

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

 

 

Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]