The Sabres announced Tuesday morning that general manager Jason Botterill was fired after three years with the organization – and Buffalo fans are rejoicing.
Owner Terry Pegula subsequently promoted senior vice president of business administration and ex-NHLer Kevyn Adams to general manager, making him the third GM of the Sabres in the last six years.
“This morning, we informed Jason Botterill he will no longer be the General Manager of the Sabres,” the Pegula family said in a statement. “This decision was made after many candid discussions with Jason during a full review of our hockey operation. We recognized we have philosophical differences regarding how best to put ourselves in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup. So, we decided to make this change.
“We wish Jason and his family all the best moving forward, and we thank him for his time and energy devoted to our organization and to the City of Buffalo.”
Botterill, 44, added to a pre-existing foundation of Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart with Rasmus Dahlin, Casey Mittelstadt, but made some decisions that many Buffalo fans thought were questionable. He infamously shipped Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis in 2018, only for the forward to lead the Blues to the Stanley Cup the following season, taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP and the Selke Trophy, given to the most defensively-talented forward.
Sabres fans were thinking of that one Tuesday:
Some couldn’t contain their excitement:
The Sabres, who joined the NHL in 1970, have never won a Stanley Cup. Their 49 years without a title trails only the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 51-year drought for league haplessness. The franchise is at a league-high nine seasons without a playoff appearance. Team President Kim Pegula had told the Associated Press last month that Botterill, a one-time Sabres winger, would return for the 2020-21 season, but something changed in that span.
Eichel, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft and the team’s 23-year-old captain, recently made comments regarding the team’s management that may have had something to do with the seemingly sudden decision.
“I spoke with both [head coach] Ralph [Krueger] and Jason about it and they understand the frustration and they’re frustrated too,” Eichel told TSN last week. “I’m not the only guy that’s doing it, I might have expressed my opinion a little more bluntly but that’s just how it is.”