“Listen, I’m fed up with the losing and I’m fed up and I’m frustrated.” Those were the words of Buffalo Sabres superstar Jack Eichel per ESPN in May. “You know, it’s definitely not an easy pill to swallow right now,” he explained after realizing his Sabres would miss the playoffs again. “It’s been a tough five years with where things have gone.”
Well it looks like the owner of the Sabres received the message loudly and clearly. Jason Botteril has been fired as the Sabres general manager and has been replaced by SVP of Business Administration Kevyn Adams.
We have relieved Jason Botterill of his duties as General Manager.— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) June 16, 2020
Senior Vice President of Business Administration Kevyn Adams has been named General Manager. pic.twitter.com/TPAFXvAPej
There are also rumors that the changes in Buffalo are far from done. Sweeping changes are expected throughout the organization from minor league coaches, to scouts and more.
Terry and Kim Pegula held a press conference to explain the reasons for the moves and the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup. They noted “philosophical differences” with Botterill, end results were the real cause. Since Botterill joined the Sabres in May of 2017, Buffalo's combined record under his watch was an abysmal 88-115-30.
Sabres owners Kim and Terry Pegula cite "philosophical differences regarding how best to put ourselves in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup" as the reason for firing GM Jason Botterill.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 16, 2020
This move screams the need to keep Jack Eichel happy in Buffalo. He signed an eight-year deal for $80,000,000 in 2018. The 23-year-old star has rewarded the Sabres with 160 points in 145 games since inking the contract, including 64 goals. For his young career he has 337 points in 354 games. Unfortunately for him, the Sabres haven’t made the playoffs for five straight seasons.
Matter of fact, the only things Eichel has experienced are two coaching changes and a GM firing already. Not exactly the definition of stability in Buffalo.
So will this send Eichel the message they hope he wants to hear? It will all boils down to what they do and what team the Sabres put on the ice next season. If Eichel is scoring big goals and adding tons of points but the Sabres go a sixth straight season with no postseason, it won’t take long for that frustration to lead to a trade demand.