5 things you should know about Sabres GM Tim Murray
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • January 08, 2014 @ 11:08am
(Update: Tim Murray was officially hired as the Buffalo Sabres’ new general manager during the team’s 11:30 a.m. press conference today. We’re wizards!)
What would possess a 50-year-old assistant general manager—currently working for his 71-year-old GM uncle—to choose to leave the comfort of familial relationships for move into a cacophonous situation?
Well, connections and opportunity, it appears.
According to the tweets of TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Buffalo’s reported hiring of Ottawa assistant general manager Tim Murray to replace fired Sabres GM Darcy Regier is all but a formality. Negotiations remain, but Murray seems to have nosed past the others who’ve applied for the vacancy.
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
The process of hiring a new general manager—who will answer to Buffalo’s president of hockey operations, Pat LaFontaine—has taken longer than most expected; nearly two months have elapsed since the Regier-Rolston to LaFontaine-Nolan saga took place.
It’s hard to accuse the Sabres of excessive stubbornness, as complex factors—such as the interim status of head coach Ted Nolan and his future with the club under the new hired GM—have certainly affected the process.
(Update: Murray is meeting with Terry Pegula today, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.)
I believe Tim Murray is meeting with the Sabres today This hire has to get owner Terry Pegula's approval. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) January 8, 2014
Since Murray appears to be the obvious frontrunner, we decided to break down why the move makes sense and shed a little light on Murray’s past:
1) Lineage and connections: At first glance, it would make perfect sense for Tim Murray to patiently wait to become the successor to his uncle, Bryan Murray, the present GM of the Sens. A closer look, however, points to a past working relationship between the younger Murray and LaFontaine, as both served in various facets—the former as a chief scout and the latter as a player—in the New York Rangers organization.
Plus, there’s this New York Times article from 1990 that has current Phoenix GM Don Maloney gushing over LaFontaine—and Tim Murray worked intimately with Maloney in New York as well. It’s not difficult to see where a relationship between Murray and LaFontaine may have been sparked.
2) Uncle Bryan’s shadow: As you’ve seen countless times in sports—like Bobby and Danny Hurley, Marty and Brian Schottenheimer, Jon and Jay Gruden, and so forth—the security of working alongside a family member eventually begins to wane as personal aspirations take priority.
When it was reported late in 2013 that Ottawa was in negotiations to extend Bryan Murray’s contract, the Senators opted against preventing Tim Murray talking to Buffalo.
3) Scouting background: First and foremost, Tim Murray’s chief gift is an eye for young talent. The former scout and assistant GM has played a role in drafting a few of the NHL’s best prospects and players—Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, the Rangers’ Marc Staal, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, to name a few.
4) Opportunity: Not only would his rise to Buffalo’s general manager post mark his first time at the helm of an NHL club, but the Sabres’ future would fall nicely in line with his strengths—consider it an opportunity inside of an opportunity. How many times can I write opportunity in one paragraph? Unclear.
In light of the Sabres’ nine selections in the first two rounds of the 2014 and 2015 NHL drafts combined—and the chance to stockpile even more if Ryan Miller and Matt Moulson are moved before the conclusion of this season, LaFontaine seems wise to bring on a premier talent evaluator.
5) Respect: Say what you want about the credibility of Ottawa hockey SB Nation blog Silver Seven Sens, but these few paragraphs from January 2013 are telling:
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.
(Header photo from OilersNation.com—see it originally here).