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Tim Murray was a complete disaster for the Buffalo Sabres

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1 hour ago, Randall Flagg said:

FWIW, Murray's Amerks were just as capable of getting swept in the first round as Botterill's are. Each of them has won the same amount of AHL playoff games.

Edit: I lied, Murray's Amerks made the playoffs less but won more AHL playoff games to this point.

And Murray players are a big reason why Botterill's Amerks were good. Olofsson, Smith, Asplund, Nylander, Guhle (before trade), Borgen. That's not nothin, especially considering that was two seasons after Murray last made a decision for the team. In fact, I'd go as far as calling it surprisingly impressive. Their captain Porter also spent a season with Murray's Amerks before leaving for a couple of years.

And while Botterill appears to be able to identify better NHL defensemen (waiting for that to catch up in the most important counting stat: goals against, which was 222 (16th) and 237 (20th) under Tim and 280 (29th) and 271 (23rd) under Jason), his track record for forward depth is abominable so far, even compared to Tim, who often had a problematic fourth line but usually iced three pretty solid ones above them. 

If "getting us out of TM's bad contracts" means waiting for the Moulson/Gorges/Bogosian ones to expire, while moving the Ennis contract for an equal one in Pominville along with a new contract problem for this coming season in a sub-replacement-level Scandella, then sure. That is hardly a breathtaking accomplishment, any of us could have done the same. Skinner at 9 million is questionable, and it's his own fault that losing Skinner would have been even worse than signing that contract (which would have made every single one of us spit our drink out, horrified and dumbfounded, if we had been told those numbers last September). Reinhart's bridge deal is going to cost us millions per year in cap space in the long run as well. Taking Hunwick was a short-term cap annoyance, even moreso when you consider that it directly leads to us doing things like playing Matt Hunwick. Sobotka in that same boat. And thank god Berglund quit on the team, because that would have been problematic going forward as well.

I don't think he's been awful with the cap, but he hasn't been some wizard or genius, either. 

This is not a clean-cut, binary topic.

Murray’s teams (Sabres and Amerks) never made the playoffs in TM’s 2.5 years as GM.  Hard to win a playoff game if you don’t actually make the playoffs.

Other then Olofsson and Asplund in the second half last year, none of Murray’s draft picks have been key to the Amerks success the last two years, but they should be if he had drafted well.  First 3 round picks like Guhle, Cornel, Karabacek, Martin, Nylander, and Johansson should have been the core of a good Amerks team, but they aren’t.  Only 7th rd pick Olofsson and 2nd rd pick Asplund have really come through.  Guhle was Ok, but never showed the improvement to needed to win a top pairing assignment in the A or win a job full time in Buffalo and was traded because of it. Also TM had to have Asplund because he was the last player on his list with a 1st rd grade.  According to most of the pre-draft materials, Alex Debrincat had a higher grade. Sadly he went 39th and has since played 164 NHL games with 69g and 59a for 128 pts.  When TM grabbed Karabacek at 49, Dvorak , Donato and Montour were all still on the board.  So much for his talent evaluation skills.

Give TM a passing grade on drafting if you want, but that’s about all TM can hang his hat on.  When I look at his sending away guys like Zadorov, Compher and Lemieux, tossing away two 1st rd picks and the 31st overall pick in the depth 2015 draft. Dumping 2 2nd rd picks (one used on Cernak for TB) and McNabb for Fasching, it takes away any luster from getting lucky on a 2014 7th rd pick. I often wonder if TM had just kept these guys instead of rushing the rebuild, my guess is we’d have a much deeper and better team.

Also his draftees outside Jack and Sam have played a total of 52 NHL games so far for the Sabres. 

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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3 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Murray’s teams (Sabres and Amerks) never made the playoffs in TM’s 2.5 years as GM.  Hard to win a playoff game if you don’t actually make the playoffs.

Other then Olofsson and Asplund in the second half last year, none of Murray’s draft picks have been key to the Amerks success the last two years, but they should be if he had drafted well.  First 3 round picks like Guhle, Cornel, Karabacek, Martin, Nylander, and Johansson should have been the core of a good Amerks team, but they aren’t.  Only 7th rd pick Olofsson and 2nd rd pick Asplund have really come through.  Guhle was Ok, but never showed the improvement to needed to win a top pairing assignment in the A or win a job full time in Buffalo and was traded because of it. Also TM had to have Asplund because he was the last player on his list with a 1st rd grade.  According to most of the pre-draft materials, Alex Debrincat had a higher grade. Sadly he went 39th and has since played 164 NHL games with 69g and 59a for 128 pts.  When TM grabbed Karabacek at 49, Dvorak , Donato and Montour were all still on the board.  So much for his talent evaluation skills.

 Give TM a passing grade on drafting if you want, but that’s about all TM can hang his hat on.  When I look at his sending away guys like Zadorov, Compher and Lemieux, tossing away two 1st rd picks and the 31st overall pick in the depth 2015 draft. Dumping 2 2nd rd picks (one used on Cernak for TB) and McNabb for Fasching, it takes away any luster from getting lucky on a 2014 7th rd pick. I often wonder if TM had just kept these guys instead of rushing the rebuild, my guess is we’d have a much deeper and better team.

Also his draftees outside Jack and Sam have played a total of 52 NHL games so far for the Sabres. 

The Amerks made the playoffs and won playoff games in Murray's first season. But I'll give it to you since he didn't start that season here, he took over in November or something. They've won zero playoff games in Botts' first two years, even with better regular seasons.

Either way, I don't like giving Jason a lot of credit for "fixing Rochester" as it pertains to making the franchise better when the only player he added to this year's good Rochester squad that has any sort of Sabre future is Pilut. The rest of the exciting reasons that Rochester is good in the first place (exciting in that they may help the actually-important team in Buffalo someday) all come from Tim. 

You're focusing on the picks he gave away, but the reality is that a team that is only allowed 50 pro contracts simply cannot sit and make all of those picks. Like I said before, he brought in players capable of winning trophies and scoring a lot of goals with those trades, so it's not like they were wasted. Those moves in isolation are completely fine. And he still took 2 picks per draft more than Jason on average, and those picks were higher-value picks. They each had 3 drafts, and Tim made 7 more selections than Jason did. He made more picks in the first 2 rounds than Jason has.

That number (52) is going to go up as Asplund, Olofsson, Borgen etc. become regular NHLers. And they will, because they're all three good hockey players. 

You can do the same mid-round draft exercise with literally any general manager in existence, and paint the results to look awful. That's literally what drafting is. Though 2014 was certainly not good, but didn't we all learn that he was hampered in that regard by coming into the season when it was already in full swing? Either way - I'm totally fine with his drafting on the whole, and look forward to the rest of his young players entering the big club. 

Anyway, I still think Tim should have been fired, so I'm not vouching that he was a successful GM. But I'm not pretending there's a clear distinction between him and Jason either. 

Jason came into the organization and hired a rookie coach. Both said they were giving everyone a clean slate, and his coach in particular said that they wouldn't be watching any tape from the season before. He made about six A W F U L forward depth acquisitions and the combined result of doing all of this was a dead-effing-last place finish, killing Jack & Sam's last ELC season. He then proceeded to violate literally every tenant of roster-building I've ever believed in with the trade of our second-most-valuable player/trade piece, furthering our forward depth problem with the return, and taking our only organizational strength and turning it into the worst in the league behind Jack. When his team actually showed signs of life, he decided "that's not who they are" and despite well-documented-at-the-time issues (by me and anyone else)  that were sure to lead to the season crumbling, sat on his hands and let them finish with by far the worst season any team with a 10 game win streak has ever had, playing out 70% of the campaign with what would project to be the worst record in the league again. Phrased another way, in Jason's second full season, the first being dead last, outside of a 25 game stretch in which the Sabres were bottom of the barrel in any scoring chance for/against metric but bailed out by the first lights-out goaltending they've seen in years, they were a dead effing last team again. And he sat on his hands while watching the 70% even though it could be seen coming from a mile away. 

Having a good AHL season because of Murray's picks, and players that will never touch the Sabres roster, doesn't cover this up, and neither does supposedly drafting better than the 2014 non-first-rounders. And if 2019-20 looks even close to his first two seasons, he's probably gonezo. We all were fine with Tim until we trashed him after he was fired as if we knew he sucked all along. That's just how this works, and Jason is on shaky ground himself, with a very real chance of becoming the guy we defend in July 2019 but knew was awful all along in July 2020. I just don't want to call our situation "better" until it manifests itself as being better than what was so bad it got the last guy fired, for the first time. Because his first two attempts at it were objectively worse.

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21 hours ago, Taro T said:

A strong case could be made for Bowman.

He took a team that had gotten 100+ points 4 of the previous 5 seasons & managed to get them to miss the playoffs 2 consecutive seasons (when 4 of 5 teams made the playoffs) & drove them to win the Turgeon race (which is what eventually got him fired that season).

Nah ... he still fielded some good teams and drafted a few Hall if Fame players plus several Hall if very good players.  

He he did crash and burn though, I’ll give you that.  

 

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Murray did not get it done despite having a lot of capital to work with.  He has had Zero GM offers since he left so that tells you something.  

JBot is opposite of Murray in philosophy and he is “good at communication“ but he could eventually challenge Murray for ineptness.   This year is critical for him 

Just everyone face it, I was the best GM ever.  No one drafted better.  No one traded better, and no one out a better product on the ice.  

I knew I should have taken Bossey but we had scorers and we needed to tighten up so I went with Seiling.   Forget that.  My second round picks were better than most first rounders.  Anyone see Crow?  

 

Edited by Pimlach
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While the Botterill  references and comparisons are understandable, outside of the Bowman comparison, I've seen nothing that compares to the capital in picks and prospects Murray blew threw and got nowhere with in return. And Yes, I concede the Bowman years weren't good, but I after looking at both Bowman and Murray's years, the assets available, the expenditures made, I do not believe Bowman comes even close to just what Murray pissed away imo.

I am going to read some more this evening on a few others, but man, Murray had a boat load of top 60 picks, and prospects. What a freaking disaster he was given the outcome imo.

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I think Boterill has been just as bad with not much better results. Murray at least tried to be awful andhad about the same success as Botterill (who has tried to be good).

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1 hour ago, CallawaySabres said:

I think Boterill has been just as bad with not much better results. Murray at least tried to be awful andhad about the same success as Botterill (who has tried to be good).

Hasn’t board reaction to Johansson/Berglund and Vesey/Sobotka been pretty much the same?

Isnt there a decent chance they make similar contributions? Johansson has 18 goals and 44 points in the past two seasons combined.

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Let's make a few things clear:

  1. Tim Murray, in retrospect, was awful at his job. Yes I bought into the hype too. I'm as guility as anyone else. But there's a reason he hasn't even come up in rumors for GM openings (Bylsma got some murmurings for HC jobs this year, just as a reference)
  2. Reinhart's a very good player. Probably not the 2nd best from that draft as @GASabresIUFAN mentioned, but I certainly don't mind having him on my team.
  3. He drafted Jack Eichel. Yay. Good for him. He didn't accidentally say "Dylan Strome" at the podium. (Yes same credit for JBot with Dahlin.)
  4. When Lehner wrote his tell-all about his rock bottom and recovery, he only had good things to say about JBot and his role in helping him move forward. No mention of the guy who scouted him for OTT and brought him here.
  5. He overpaid in trades. While I consider the trade with WPG to a small wash in WPG's favor, did he really need to thrown in a 1st AND Armia for Kane and Bogo? Compared to JBOT who just needed 2nd/3rd/6th rounders in different drafts and a prospect with a funny name to get Skinner. Had Murray made that trade, I imagine Buffalo would have given up (I exaggerate some parts, but you get the idea):
    1. Sam Reinhart
    2. 1st rounder (not lotto protected)
    3. Evan Rodrigues
    4. UPL
    5. Devante Stephens
    6. a 3rd rounder in 2030
    7. Sabretooth's urine sample
    8. the Rights to Ron Guidry
  6. And here's the one I'll go down with the ship for: Ryan O'Reilly. The GOAT-head. Mr. Sabre. He got lucky this year. He got paired with other players who could carry the load for him and a coaching change. He's not a franchise player. He's a very good player who wins faceoffs and score points, but he's not someone to build the team around or be a veteran safety net. That's what was expected when Murray traded for him. O'Reilly failed miserably in those regards. No I don't like the return of Berglund or Sobotka, but anyone who thinks ROR would have been the difference maker this year is delusional. In fact, I'm willing to bet they would have done even worse this year with Captain Eeyore in the room. For all of the pain and suffering this team went through this year, you didn't hear rumblings of locker room tension and disfunction that you did when ROR and Lehner were in town. Coincidence? I think not.
  7. (This is the actor Ho-Chi-Sock who plays Ho-Chi-Sock on SabreSpace speaking): While I can understand some of the trepidation with JBott, I support him. I think he has the right idea when it comes to roster building. I like most of his moves and can see he has a very results-oriented mindset and willing to take responsibility for any miscues. He just has the misfortune of working for a team with a very impatient and passioniate fanbase.
  8. GMTM and his outspokenness: He's like the "cool boss" you have in your 20s. The one who lets you wear beer shirts to work and has a fooseball table in the office. It seems all well good at first, and then you think twice about his comments about your female clients, and notice that the company keeps losing money and your paycheck has taken a hit as a result. Then you realize "Hey this guy's not very good at his job." That's how I am with Murray. Maybe he'll get a 2nd chance but I'm not holding my breath.
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I still say Berglund was an ok return for O'Reilly.   Sobotka was only added to make the cap work.    I thought especially Berglund would make our bottom 6 stronger.

Which he actually did , I keep saying Berglund - Larsson - Zemgus was one of the best 4th lines we ever had.

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LOL @Ho-Chi-Sock the actor who plays Ho-Chi-Sock on SabreSpace.

The rest of your post is an interesting take too.  Murray's biggest issue, IMO, is that he overpaid on just about every deal he made.  Maybe he had orders to step up the rebuild process?  Other than that he seems to live up the ZFG thing and was a very loose cannon.

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5 hours ago, dudacek said:

Hasn’t board reaction to Johansson/Berglund and Vesey/Sobotka been pretty much the same?

Isnt there a decent chance they make similar contributions? Johansson has 18 goals and 44 points in the past two seasons combined.

I don't think so. I definitely think Johansson has the ability to provide more than I ever thought Berglund might, when he was acquired. 

There's risk with Johansson, a low floor, because as you mentioned he only has 44 points the last 2 seasons, but as you know he only played 29 games two seasons ago. I'm more excited for the Johansson add because in a best case scenario there's much more potential than there was with Berglund - Johansson had 58 points the season before he got hurt.

His strong playoffs this past season (11 points) gives me hope. 

Edited by Thorny

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1 hour ago, Thorny said:

I don't think so. I definitely think Johansson has the ability to provide more than I ever thought Berglund might, when he was acquired. 

There's risk with Johansson, a low floor, because as you mentioned he only has 44 points the last 2 seasons, but as you know he only played 29 games two seasons ago. I'm more excited for the Johansson add because in a best case scenario there's much more potential than there was with Berglund - Johansson had 58 points the season before he got hurt.

His strong playoffs this past season (11 points) gives me hope. 

I’m sure plenty of individuals had different expectations. I was speaking in more generic terms about the types of things I see and hear.

“He’s a good vet” 

“He should help the middle six.”

”He was hurt last year, but when he played he looked pretty good.”

“He adds experience and versatility.”

”He’s always produced.”

”He’s played his share of centre.”

”He should fit in good with all our Swedes.”

“He’ll be better than who we had in the role last year.”

Each could easily apply to Berglund or Johansson.

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There are always going to be similarities in the “compare” side of compare and contrast. At the end of the day, Berglund isn’t in the same skill class as Johansson. 

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The expectation for Berglund was that he would win some face offs, play two way hockey and score 15 goals.  

Johansson is a 45 pt player who drives puck possession and offense.  These players couldn’t be any more different.

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I can't wait for the Botterill was a complete disaster for the Sabres thread that will come in a year or two after he gets fired.

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14 minutes ago, Drunkard said:

I can't wait for the Botterill was a complete disaster for the Sabres thread that will come in a year or two after he gets fired.

Hopefully the thread is a year or two after he gets fired rather than in a year or two if he gets fired soon. Ideally the complaints are something like “with a roster so stacked, how did we only win three cups?”

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15 hours ago, Ho-Chi-Sock said:

Let's make a few things clear:

  1. Tim Murray, in retrospect, was awful at his job. Yes I bought into the hype too. I'm as guility as anyone else. But there's a reason he hasn't even come up in rumors for GM openings (Bylsma got some murmurings for HC jobs this year, just as a reference)
  2. Reinhart's a very good player. Probably not the 2nd best from that draft as @GASabresIUFAN mentioned, but I certainly don't mind having him on my team.
  3. He drafted Jack Eichel. Yay. Good for him. He didn't accidentally say "Dylan Strome" at the podium. (Yes same credit for JBot with Dahlin.)
  4. When Lehner wrote his tell-all about his rock bottom and recovery, he only had good things to say about JBot and his role in helping him move forward. No mention of the guy who scouted him for OTT and brought him here.
  5. He overpaid in trades. While I consider the trade with WPG to a small wash in WPG's favor, did he really need to thrown in a 1st AND Armia for Kane and Bogo? Compared to JBOT who just needed 2nd/3rd/6th rounders in different drafts and a prospect with a funny name to get Skinner. Had Murray made that trade, I imagine Buffalo would have given up (I exaggerate some parts, but you get the idea):
    1. Sam Reinhart
    2. 1st rounder (not lotto protected)
    3. Evan Rodrigues
    4. UPL
    5. Devante Stephens
    6. a 3rd rounder in 2030
    7. Sabretooth's urine sample
    8. the Rights to Ron Guidry
  6. And here's the one I'll go down with the ship for: Ryan O'Reilly. The GOAT-head. Mr. Sabre. He got lucky this year. He got paired with other players who could carry the load for him and a coaching change. He's not a franchise player. He's a very good player who wins faceoffs and score points, but he's not someone to build the team around or be a veteran safety net. That's what was expected when Murray traded for him. O'Reilly failed miserably in those regards. No I don't like the return of Berglund or Sobotka, but anyone who thinks ROR would have been the difference maker this year is delusional. In fact, I'm willing to bet they would have done even worse this year with Captain Eeyore in the room. For all of the pain and suffering this team went through this year, you didn't hear rumblings of locker room tension and disfunction that you did when ROR and Lehner were in town. Coincidence? I think not.
  7. (This is the actor Ho-Chi-Sock who plays Ho-Chi-Sock on SabreSpace speaking): While I can understand some of the trepidation with JBott, I support him. I think he has the right idea when it comes to roster building. I like most of his moves and can see he has a very results-oriented mindset and willing to take responsibility for any miscues. He just has the misfortune of working for a team with a very impatient and passioniate fanbase.
  8. GMTM and his outspokenness: He's like the "cool boss" you have in your 20s. The one who lets you wear beer shirts to work and has a fooseball table in the office. It seems all well good at first, and then you think twice about his comments about your female clients, and notice that the company keeps losing money and your paycheck has taken a hit as a result. Then you realize "Hey this guy's not very good at his job." That's how I am with Murray. Maybe he'll get a 2nd chance but I'm not holding my breath.

I like everything in your post but this.

 

Three biggest reasons the Blues won - three pieces added that they never had before:

 

1. Binington - difference maker from the start and the reason they turned their season around - Cup or no cup. Binington made the biggest difference from "cup winning" Blues to past "very good" Blues. 

2. A  coach that combines "old school" dedication and work ethic to players from the "new school" and makes it work.

3.  ROR - "not a Franchise Player"  but the guy is good at everything .  Offense, defense, PP, PK, faceoffs, every single aspect of the game.  The players on the Blues took his example and his work ethic and built on it.  I have no explanation why this did not happen in Buffalo with Sam, Jack, etc ...   The chemistry is right with ROR on the Blues.    He deserves nothing but credit for this Selke, Calder and Stanley.   The blues did not carry him, it was the other way around. 

 

Edited by Pimlach

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20 minutes ago, Pimlach said:

I like everything in your post but this.

 

Three biggest reasons the Blues won - three pieces added that they never had before:

 

1. Binington - difference maker from the start and the reason they turned their season around - Cup or no cup. Binington made the biggest difference from "cup winning" Blues to past "very good" Blues. 

2. A  coach that combines "old school" dedication and work ethic to players from the "new school" and makes it work.

3.  ROR - "not a Franchise Player"  but the guy is good at everything .  Offense, defense, PP, PK, faceoffs, every single aspect of the game.  The players on the Blues took his example and his work ethic and built on it.  I have no explanation why this did not happen in Buffalo with Sam, Jack, etc ...   The chemistry is right with ROR on the Blues.    He deserves nothing but credit for this Selke, Calder and Stanley.   The blues did not carry him, it was the other way around. 

 

Till Binington got there they where dead last.

I don't think ROR carried anything except for Biningtons skate bag.

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6 minutes ago, woods-racer said:

Till Binington got there they where dead last.

I don't think ROR carried anything except for Biningtons skate bag.

You can't win games 0-0 and I don't recall seeing Binnington scoring any goals or winning any faceoffs. Yes, his performance was critical to the Blues winning the cup, but so was O'Reilly's. O'Reilly was an integral part of the team and their winning of the cup and he was awarded the Conn Smythe in recognition of it. The fact that Armstrong was able to add O'Reilly and Tyler Bozak while shedding dead weight like Berglund and Sobotka played a big part as well. Ultimately it's a team game and they were fortunate to have the stars align for them.

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Binnington faced the fewest and least dangerous shots per unit ice time of any goalie to play NHL hockey this year

It was important that they got not-worst-in-league goaltending but he wasn't some Savior either. He did exactly what they needed and stopped the shots he should.

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4 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

Binnington faced the fewest and least dangerous shots per unit ice time of any goalie to play NHL hockey this year

It was important that they got not-worst-in-league goaltending but he wasn't some Savior either. He did exactly what they needed and stopped the shots he should.

I think Binnington lovers should look at what Carter Hutton did for the Blues before annointing him.

Binnington did save the Blues, and probably Doug Armstrong’s job, but that’s only because Allen was so bad.

That Armstrong is a cup-winning GM is kind of ironic because deciding to depend on Allen as your number one goalie is as stupid a move as trading Ryan O’Reilly for parts.

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2 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I think Binnington lovers should look at what Carter Hutton did for the Blues before annointing him.

Binnington did save the Blues, and probably Doug Armstrong’s job, but that’s only because Allen was so bad.

That Armstrong is a cup-winning GM is kind of ironic because deciding to depend on Allen as your number one goalie is as stupid a move as trading Ryan O’Reilly for parts.

I will say that watching in-season moves to try and rectify the situation made me jealous! ie firing a coach and bringing up a no-name goalie (though had that failed I wonder if he'd be gone now)

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2 hours ago, Drunkard said:

I can't wait for the Botterill was a complete disaster for the Sabres thread that will come in a year or two after he gets fired.

In the interest of full disclosure, Tim Murray was a complete disaster for the Buffalo Sabres......in my view. Which may or may not be correct, I just view him that way lol.

But, one lesson I did learn from the GMTM administration is that the 0 fux given strategy was ultimately a failed one. 🙂

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7 minutes ago, Scottysabres said:

In the interest of full disclosure, Tim Murray was a complete disaster for the Buffalo Sabres......in my view. Which may or may not be correct, I just view him that way lol.

But, one lesson I did learn from the GMTM administration is that the 0 fux given strategy was ultimately a failed one. 🙂

That's fine. You're welcome to your opinion. I think Botterill is worse than Murray in everything except communication with the owner. Murray's teams didn't go anywhere but most of his tenure his team was designed to lose on purpose to secure some top end talent. By the time Botterill got here it was supposed to be all about winning but he's had less success than Murray when Botterill is supposedly trying to win.

People tend to defend whoever is here and then shred them after they leave so the majority of people who are defending Botterill now will join me in criticizing him after he's gone. I look forward to that because:

1. It will be nice to actually agree with the majority opinion again.

2. I don't think the team will really turn a corner until he is replaced with someone who can evaluate talent instead of relying on volume shooting as his plan A in order to find diamonds in the rough.

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Does anyone here think we won’t be in the lottery next year?  Unfortunately I don’t feel Ristolainen has the value to return a top 6 forward. So we are deficient at RW and C. The Athletic says we’re due for 2 additional wins and I agree. 

Edited by freester

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