The Buffalo Sabres season ended for the seventh year running while sixteen NHL teams begin their respective roads to the Stanley Cup trophy later today. General Manager Jason Botterill addressed various members of the media and blogging world in his season-ending press conference earlier this afternoon, talking about what he saw this season and what he his hoping to achieve with this club going forward.
The questions ranged from the direct to the inane, but GMBot appeared to speak frankly, or as frankly as he can with where the franchise is now, 31st out of 31 teams in the NHL.
Not word for word, but among some of the key observations the GM had were that Phil Housley will certainly be the coach of the Sabres next season, 100%. GMBot also added that he really liked some aspects of his coaching, adding that the way he wants to build a team and the way Housley wants the Sabres to play work well together.
Linus Ullmark is going to be one of the two goalies in Buffalo next season. He was also very pleased with how Sam Reinhart closed out the season, and is also excited about the youth on the team.
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GMBot wants to improve teams speed, mentions Casey Mittelstadt and Nicholas Baptiste by name. No one asked for a trade in the exit interviews over the last couple of days.
On Jack Eichel - his game has matured on both sides of the puck. GMBot views him as a big leader on the team. More players need to step up in the locker room, louder players, stronger leadership from the players.
Terry Pegula is pretty angry about how the season turned out. As GMBot said, “It sucks, to have to watch playoff hockey on TV”. Added he has a strong relationship with Pegula, speaks to him everyday as does Housley.
April 11, 2018
“From a free agent standpoint, we will be involved with free agency. But I am a firm believer that you can’t build a team just through free agency, it has to come from within our organization.”