Friday, August 21, 2015

More changes for the Sabres front office

Reprinted with permission from

According to reports Buffalo Sabres head amateur scout Dave Torrie, is headed to Los Angeles to join the Kings scouting department. Torrie was offered a new contract by GM Tim Murray and the Sabres, but turned it down to head to Los Angeles as a pro scout.

Buffalo assistant general manager Kevin Devine hired the former Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds general manager in September, 2011 as a regional amateur scout covering Ontario and Michigan. Very soon after, Torrie found himself in an expanded role, covering more territory with Devine and head amateur scout, Al MacAdam.

Last season, according to the Buffalo Sabres media guide, Torrie was just under the director of amateur scouting, Greg Royce. Royce was hired by Murray last August in a front office shift that saw Devine move to his new position as director of player personnel. Torrie sat atop a large amateur scouting staff of 17 scouts.

The Sabres have had quite a bit of success drafting since Torrie was hired and the scouting department expanded under owner Terry Pegula. Since a rough start in 2011, the Sabres catapulted to the top of the team prospects world last year before a number of moves by Murray depleted the ranks. Amongst the players looking to make healthy contributions to the future of the Blue and Gold are Zemgus Girgensons (2012, 14th overall,) Jake McCabe (2012, 44th,) Rasmus Ristolainen, (2013, 8th,) Nick Baptiste, (2013, 69th) and Sam Reinhart (2014, 2nd.)

Torrie heads to Los Angeles as a pro scout for a Kings team that has won two Stanley Cups over the last four years and is loaded for bear once again after missing the playoffs last season.

According to Mark Malone of the Chatham Daily News (Ontario,) Torrie felt his time with the Sabres had run it's course. “I don't know if there was any one reason (for leaving),” he told Malone. “I've been with Buffalo for four years on the amateur side of the scouting. Over the four years, there have been some changes in the organization. My contract was coming up and they made me a contract offer, but I felt maybe it was time to look at something different. After four years, it was time for a change.

"It seemed like a good time to make a change and try something different.

“It'll be more for trades and free agents and tracking and rating pro players,” he said. “I think it'll cut down a little bit on my travel. At worst, I won't be going over to Europe six, seven times a year like when I was in Buffalo.”

The difference between Buffalo and Los Angeles, like Torries new role, is night and day. While the Kings were busy as perennial Stanley Cup contenders, winning twice in the last four years, Buffalo was tearing down, something not lost on Torrie.

“It was a frustrating four years in Buffalo; we never made the playoffs. ... Buffalo's at a point where they're about to become more competitive … and have a chance down the road to be an elite team and contend for the Stanley Cup.”

There have been huge changes in the Sabres front office this summer. Team President Ted Black, who was a part of Pegula's initial team, was released and replaced by Russ Brandon who was and is President of the Buffalo Bills, also owned by the Pegulas. Vice President of Hockey Related Business Joe Batista, who was a part of Pegula's inner circle, stepped down, supposedly to spend more time with his family.

Joining Torrie on his way out the door is long-time strength and conditioning coach, Doug McKenney.

According to WIVB in Buffalo, McKenney, who had been with the team since 1995, is no longer with the team. The report states that the Sabres and McKenney have "parted ways" with his destination "unknown."

From a player personnel perspective, it's been a quiet summer on the Sabres front, but there've been some bombs coming out of the front office.

Special thanks to Malone for his article on Torrie.

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