Tim Murray is one of the most refreshingly honest sports personalities to come to Buffalo in a while, and it often offers fans an extended peek into the future of the Buffalo Sabres organization.
Yesterday, Murray and new coach Dan Bylsma sat down with reporters from WGR550 for an informal chat about the future of many of the young players in the Sabres organization. The news that came out of that meeting shed some light on the futures of Cody Hodgson, Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Zadorov, and Sam Reinhart.
Murray has been disappointed with Hodgson's skating and conditioning, and said he is considering buying Hodgson out, though no decision has been officially made on that front. TSN's Bob McKenzie, on the other hand, praised Hodgson's hockey sense while echoing Murray's sentiments about his skating. McKenzie believes that if Murray's publicly talking about the possibility of buying out Hodgson, then in reality he's already decided to do it.
So what's Hodgson doing to help his own cause? He's in Sweden, training all summer with skating coach Andreas Larsson. Hodgson will be training with Larsson for at least six weeks, possibly all summer, running two-a-days in his "secret basement", which sound like either the best or most terrifying place to train.
Murray revealed that he will be giving Grigorenko a qualifying offer this summer, but the pending RFA is in a tough spot, having to pass through waivers if he were to be sent to Rochester. Can he find success on the wing in the NHL with Girgensons, Eichel, and possibly Reinhart solidified at center? Another strong summer of training like he had last year would be a good first step.
Dan Bylsma was impressed with Zadorov last year, saying he thought the young blueliner proved he belongs in the NHL. Tim Murray, however, is happy that the AHL is at least an option/threat to make sure Zadorov shows up more in shape this year.
of the AHL is there this year. He said if Zadorov shows up at 240 lbs again and has not learned from last year, he knows now he can go down.— Paul Hamilton (@pham1717) June 11, 2015
Zadorov is also apparently getting married this weekend, which we know since his buddy Grigorenko is attending. Congrats, Zads.
Sam Reinhart's biggest hurdle in making it to the NHL has so far been his strength and conditioning, which, according to Murray, improved during the season last year. Reinhart is spending much of the offseason training in Buffalo, and Murray doesn't see him starting the year in Rochester, thus answering one of our biggest offseason questions. So it looks like the Sabres will begin next season with a trio of young centers anchoring their top three lines - Girgensons, Eichel, and Reinhart.
Murray also shared that the organization has not begun interviewing candidates for the vacant Rochester Amerks head coaching position.
Give us your thoughts on Hodgson's skating, Reinhart's training, or Zadorov's love life in the comments.