Thursday, November 21, 2013

Two possible GM candidates for Buffalo who haven't gotten much (if any) press

For obvious reasons, two assistant GM's with ties to Buffalo are at the forefront of the Sabres quest for a General Manager.

Jason Botterill is a 37 yr. old assistant GM in Pittsburgh and has his name on the Stanley Cup. Botterill is a former first-round pick (#20 overall, Dallas, 1994) and played in 88 NHL games including 36 games for the Sabres between 2002-2004.

His forte' is cap management and, according to Amy Moritz of the Buffalo News, player development.

Jim Benning was hired away from the Sabres by Boston in 2006 after spending 12 years in the Sabres amateur scouting department--the last eight as director of amateur scouting.

Benning was responsible for input into the drafting of former GM Darcy Regier's core from 1998-2006.

The suave' Rick Dudley
during his playing days.

Another GM candidate who's name has been thrown around left and right is Montreal AGM, Rick Dudley. "Duds" was drafted by the Sabres and played in 279 games in six seasons for Buffalo.

He also coached the Sabres from 1989-1991 compiling a 85-72-31 record in 168 games. His teams made the playoffs in both his full seasons, getting bounced in the first round each time.

Duds has an impressive resume' as an executive including helping a turnaround in Ottawa for the 1998-99 season. He was also the driving force behind the building of two Stanley Cup Champions:  Tampa Bay, 2003 and Chicago, 2010.

Two other names who may be on Director Pat LaFontaine's radar are Toronto AGM Claude Loiselle and Philadelphia AGM, Ron Hextall.

Loiselle started his career as a scout for Anaheim before taking an AGM position in 2010 with the Maple Leaves under former GM Brian Burke.

He was a pretty tough customer during his 13 years as an NHL player, including two-handing Philadelphia's Bobby Clarke. He's also said to be a tough contract negotiator.

For more on him, click here.

Ron Hextall was one of the toughest competitors in the NHL. He played 13 seasons in the league winning the Vezina in his rookie year (1986-87) and winning the Conn Smythe that same year for a Flyers team that lost in seven games to the Edmonton Oilers in the Finals.

Hextall was also the first goaltender to score a goal into an empty net and the first one to do so in the playoffs as well.

He was an sonofabitch in net as well collecting over 100 penalty minutes in each of his first three seasons.

In 2006 he was named Vice President and Assistant GM in Los Angeles. He has his name engraved on the Cup for the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.

Hextall is presently Assistant GM/Director of Hockey Ops in Philadelphia under GM Paul Holmgren.

Upon hearing the news that the Buffalo Sabres had cleaned house and were in the market for a GM, Hextall was approached by Rob Parent of the Delaware County Daily Times about the opening.

Hextall was quoted as saying that he's 'at peace right now with where he's at,' but also revealed that he still has a fire deep down to be a GM.

'I still want to be a general manager,' he said. 'I’ll say that until I either become one or I decide that the dream’s over.'

Parent brought up the open GM position in Buffalo saying "it might be the job of choice for an assistant GM with a championship resume'."

To which Hextall replied, 'I really haven’t given it any thought. I have no plans yet to go anywhere else. If anybody calls I’ll look at it and talk to Homer.'

Hextall has worked his way up the ranks since retiring from hockey in 1999. He started scouting for Philadelphia that same year and was named Director of Professional Player Personnel three years later before moving to Los Angeles in 2006.

Hextall, Loiselle and Dudley all played the game with a serious edge. And if the Sabres heirarchy truly want a team that is "tougher to play against," and if a team is said to be a mirror image of their GM, than one of these three is the answer.

And with interim coach Ted Nolan weilding the wrecking ball on Regier's 16 year experiment, one of those three will probably fit right in with the plan LaFontaine has.

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