Hockey World Blog

Buffalo Pulls the Trigger on Bylsma and Murray

The rebuild in Buffalo will be taking on a new direction this summer after GM Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma ran out of time. The Sabres finished last in the Atlantic Division and while it is fair to say their rebuild is still on-going, I’m sure the owners and the fans would have expected more last season.

Both Murray and Bylsma were supposedly in Buffalo for the long haul, both had three years left on their contracts and had already been with the club for a while, Murray three years and Bylsma two. However, it is clear that the owners of the franchise are not happy with the speed of the rebuild and the results so far.

The one key component in this decision is young up and coming star Jack Eichel. Now, the chances are that Eichel’s actual input in all this is quite small, however, rumors have surfaced of his unhappiness with the management team. The internet rumor mill had various sources claiming that Eichel would not sign an extension to his contract in Buffalo if Bylsma remained the coach. This is a huge thing for the youngster to comment on, if true, but something that has now thrown the spotlight firmly on him.

For Eichel to comment on such a matter he comes across as thinking he is the heartbeat of the club and much more important than anyone else. That may actually be the case, but now what he has to do is go out onto the ice and play like that is what he is. The Sabres are not a bad team, they are young and have potential but now it is the time for them to move to the next level, and Eichel must lead them in that. He has nowhere to hide, he now has to stick with his team and drag them to the next level, becoming and elite level player himself.

One move that could make the Eichel situation even more fascinating is if the Sabres make a move for his former coach. Boston University coach David Quinn is apparently under the microscope and on the radar of a lot of NHL clubs, with Buffalo likely being one of them. He is in demand and if he does decide to move to the NHL, other clubs would want him and Buffalo would be in a fight. However, having Eichel would certainly make them favorites for that fight.

The Buffalo Sabres look set for a very interesting summer and a big campaign next season in which they must show the decisions made this week were the correct ones.

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