With all the changes in executive personnel and Buffalo Sabres management, one has to wonder what that means for changes on the ice? A general manager’s job is to build a team that the coaching staff can use to form a winning group. At the very least, it’s fair to argue former Sabres GM Jason Botterill made some questionable choices.
He certainly made choices that didn’t mesh with how head coach Ralph Krueger deployed his players.
Now that a new GM is in place — and one that is publicly supposed to be on the same page as the coach — Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News writes that he wouldn’t be shocked to see the Sabres and new GM Kevyn Adam move a few pieces, Specifically, Harrington spoke of defensemen Brandon Montour and Colin Miller.
Montour will be a restricted free agent this offseason. Now 26, he was picked up from the Anaheim Ducks but his production has dropped with the Sabres. Miller is locked in with the Sabres for two more seasons after this one and for $3.875 million per season. He came over from the Vegas Golden Knights when he was acquired on June 28, 2019, prior to his Modified NTC coming into effect. The Sabres had the option to honor his trade clause and chose not to do so. Neither player seemed to fit into coach Krueger’s system.
As Harrington writes:
Brandon Montour and Colin Miller, acquired by Botterill in a five-month span last year, didn’t seem to be the the kind of defensemen who fit Krueger’s system. It would not be a shock to see Adams move them this summer to get some help up front.
These aren’t the only players whose names end with a big question mark.
A player who will be a lot less easy to move, Jeff Skinner, was not used in the manner Botterill likely intended. As such, what to do with him becomes a real uncertainty, especially considering his lofty salary.
In addition, Krueger simply wouldn’t play Jeff Skinner with Jack Eichel, and there’s no way Botterill could have been fine with that, especially as Skinner’s eight-year, $72 million contract with a full no-trade clause looked worse and worse by the day.
Will the coach and GM need to have a chat with their very expensive winger? Will they talk about whether he’d consider waiving him no-move clause? Even if he did, would anyone want to pick that contract up?
One player who might be safe is the often talked about Rasmus Ristolainen. Frequently, his name comes up in trade talks but there is speculation Krueger is a big fan. Talk surrounding the defenseman could quiet down.