The Sabres have gone the Los Angeles route this offseason, as both general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma have been relieved of their duties.
The news came down from the Buffalo Sabres’ Twitter account on Thursday morning that both Murray and Bylsma would not return for the team’s 2017-18 season.
Buffalo owner Terry Pegula has released a statement on the house cleaning.
"After reviewing the past season and looking at the future of our organization, Kim and I have decided to relieve General Manager Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma of their duties. We want to thank Tim and Dan for their hard work and efforts that they have put in during their tenures with the club. We wish them luck. We have begun the process to fill these positions immediately."
The Sabres went 33-37-12 this season and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth straight year. Two years ago, Buffalo finished in last place and drafted Jack Eichel with the No. 2 overall pick.
Speaking of Eichel, this news comes down just a day removed from a heavily reported rumor that the young 20-year-old would not re-sign with the team if Bylsma was still the coach come next season. The rumor, which came from Buffalo radio station WGR 550, took off on Wednesday afternoon as it seemed another young player was attempting to make demands of his team’s management.
Eichel refuted the rumor in a piece with The Buffalo News shortly after, but the Pegula’s decision to clean house only fuels fire to the rumors that their star potentially had a hand in these firings.
Bylsma spent the last two seasons coaching the Sabres, putting up a 68-73-23 record after being a highly successful coach in Pittsburgh.
Murray, on the other had, was the Sabres’ general manager since 2014. Though he brought together some talent to Buffalo’s roster in Evander Kane and Ryan O'Reilly over the last few seasons, the Sabres failed to pull together a deep and successful team to complement Eichel.
Pegula will have a big task ahead of him, though he will have no shortage of NHL head coaching prospects to choose from.