The Buffalo Sabres have a new general manager, according to reports from TSN's Bob McKenzie. The trusted hockey reporter tweeted out earlier this evening that, pending contract negotiations and ownership approval, the Sabres will hire Ottawa Senators assistant GM Tim Murray to run their hockey club for the next few years.
Murray, the nephew of Ottawa GM Brian Murray, has been with the Senators since 2007, and in addition to his duties as assistant GM, he is also in charge of Ottawa's scouting program, and runs their AHL club, the Binghamton Senators.
While he doesn't fit LaFontaine's initial criteria of being a man who owns a Stanley Cup ring, he did help put together the roster of the Anaheim Ducks that would eventually go on to win it all after Murray left for Ottawa. A strong scouting background was said to be important to LaFontaine, and Murray certainly has that, helping to draft key components in both Anaheim and Ottawa. He has also scouted for the Red Wings and Panthers.
Here's what our own Sens blog, Silver Seven, had to say about him last season:
I have always been a fan of Bryan Murray, even during the dark ages (TM), and he deserves oodles and oodles of credit for rebuilding and turning this team around. But alongside him every step of the way has been Tim. He has done a great job the last few years of luring quality veterans to Binghamton, and it is TIM who runs the scouting department with Pierre Dorian. He is an extremely good judge of talent.
The natural thing (unless things blow up in Sens Universe again) would be for Tim to take over as GM when his uncle retires. I just hope that happens before someone else scoops him up, because he's quite the catch.
Bear in mind that this is not a done deal yet, as there are still a few formal steps that must be taken before Murray is running the show here in Buffalo. However, he is certainly the first choice of Pat LaFontaine, and will most likely be confirmed very shortly.
To be clear on BUF GM, while T Murray is last man standing, formal offer, negotiation, ownership approval etc all still remain to be done.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 8, 2014
For those of you wondering about the other candidates, according to WGR's Paul Hamilton, the Boston Bruins gave LaFontaine a window in which to speak to Jim Benning, and that window closed today. According to Hamilton, the Sabres president of hockey operations had some "issues to think hard about," though it's not clear what those issues were.
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