Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pegulas put up quite the smoke screen for Bills’ draft

Published by, 4-28-2017

From the sound of it, Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula wasn’t travelling from campus to campus to get to know his new head coach, Sean McDermott.

With the Bills playoff drought at 17 years and counting and with a quarterback in Tyrod Taylor who may or may not be the answer, Pegula joined McDermott on the Franchise Quarterback Tour to see just what his scouts are looking for at QB.

Terry and his wife Kim, who’s technically the big dog in the Bills hierarchy, have their hands full this dual off-season for both of their franchises. They’ve put the future of their football team in the hands of McDermott, a first time head coach playing the role of “one voice” while their general manager has been relegated to figure head, and they’re also in the process of trying to fill the GM and coaching positions for their hockey team.

With Pegula joining McDermott at various campuses looking at potential franchise quarterbacks, it was assumed that the Bills were serious about finding one and may have been looking at picking one with the 10th-overall pick in this year’s draft.

Lo and behold, they did not. The Bills apparently weren’t all that impressed with what they saw, but there was another team that was. Kansas City Chiefs head coach, and McDermott mentor, Andy Reid liked Pat Mahomes so much that he traded up from No. 27 to No. 10 to get him. The Bills received two picks in this year’s draft—Nos. 27 and 91—as well as the Chiefs first rounder in 2018.

It was a trade that worked for both teams as the Chiefs will be able to groom a very raw Mahomes for a couple of years while the Bills not only add picks in this draft, but also added a very valuable second first-rounder in a 2018 draft that’s said to be quarterback-heavy.

Perhaps when Pegula was shuffling around on T-Pegs I, what he really was doing was looking at potential GM candidates for his Sabres hockey team. Both Kim Pegula and Sabres President and Alternate Governor Russ Brandon stressed that the team is working hard on the GM search. “We’re keeping it under wraps,” said Kim Pegula to the media on Wednesday, “but definitely put a lot of work this week in, and next week.”

The Pegula’s through Pegula Sports and Entertainment, parent company to the Bills, Sabres and other enterprises, were also busy announcing other ventures that had come to fruition including a joint venture with Labatt USA and another partnership with Uber.

When it comes to the GM search, there wasn’t anything coming out of PSE but we did get some tidbits from reporters on Twitter.

Here’s how the GM search is going so far:

--One report had the Los Angeles Kings saying that the Sabres had not yet contacted them about fired two-time Cup-winning GM, Dean Lombardi
--Another said the Sabres inquired about the availablility of Phoenix Coyotes GM, John Chayka, but were rebuffed as the ‘Yotes told them the league’s youngest GM was unavailable.
--Buffalo also wanted to talk to former Sabre and current NY Rangers AGM, Chris Drury, about the position but when Drury was presented with this, the door was slammed on the idea
--The Sabres did get one interview in with Pittsburgh Penguins AGM, Bill Guerin. The two-time Cup winner as a player began his front-office career in 2011 after retiring from the game. He spent three years as player development coach for the Penguins before getting a promotion to his present position in 2014.

Still on the docket for the Sabres, supposedly, are:

--Chicago Blackhawks AGM, Norm MacIver
--Penguins Associate General Manager, Jason Botterill
--Senior VP of Hockey Ops for the Montreal Canadians, Rick Dudley

There are other names like TV analyst Pierre McGuire, Columbus Blue Jackets AGM, Bill Zito and, maybe others who’ve not come to the fore as of yet.

Not much is coming out of PSE on the search and we’re not even sure what they’re looking for. Terry Pegula said at his end of season presser that they’d be leaning towards experience while NHL insider John Shannon tweeted that the Pegula’s are looking for “new blood as opposed to veteran manger.”

Pegula and McDermott put up a pretty good smoke screen at the NFL Draft and got a haul in the process. As for the Sabres GM search, it’s pretty foggy right now.

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