The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 07/02/14 at 10:27 AM ET
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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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: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]