Ever since that explosive day where Terry Pegula came down from on high and announced sweeping changes to his hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres have been without one key element of their rebuild - a general manager.
Pat LaFontaine, he of the newly created President of Hockey Operations position, has been tasked with finding that man, and his search is now almost a week underway. There have been plenty of rumors floating around, and some candidates have even gone so far as to ask for an interview, but this post is all about the facts that have been stated by LaFontaine or the Sabres organization, or reported by reputable enough sources that we can bank on their truth.
First and foremost, LaFontaine himself has stated that there's no timetable for the search, and that he promised (someone) that he wouldn't give out any names. He also said that he wants to be very thorough with the search, and to wait for the right candidate to jump out at him, someone who could potentially be here for many years to come. This search can't last too long, because you obviously want to have someone in place to talk trades (the team has assistant GM Kevin Devine handling that right now) but I would suspect we could be looking at a few more weeks before an announcement is made.
The new team Prez began this search with a small list, but has since added to it. LaFontaine is targeting "young, Assistant GM-types", and the names we've seen linked to the search confirms that. He began his search this past Monday, and has already conducted a few meetings; LaFontaine thus far has not wanted to commit to much hard information.
As for the names, two are official and two more heavily rumored. Sources around the league have confirmed that the Sabres have been granted permission to speak with both Pittsburgh Penguins Assistant GM Jason Botterill, and with Boston Bruins Assistant GM Jim Benning. The other two names that have been heavily linked to Buffalo are Nashville Predators Assistant GM Paul Fenton and Montreal Canadiens Assistant GM Rick Dudley, though no official reports have been made regarding any meetings with LaFontaine or the Sabres.
An that's about all the info we have at this time. The Sabres organization is keeping very quiet about their ongoing search, though they have stated that Devine and LaFontaine would be willing to make moves before hiring a new GM if the opportunity arose.
We'll be going more in-depth on each of the reported candidates here soon, so keep your eyes peeled to our Sabres Organizational Explosion StoryStream to keep track of any major moves.
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