Longtime scout, assistant GM and right hand man to Uncle Bryan, Tim Murray left the Ottawa Senators organization in early January to take over the reins of divisional rival Buffalo Sabres who were in disarray and on its way to finishing on the basement of the entire NHL.
Murray inherited a club that was at a crossroads, with a new coach in former Sabres favorite Ted Nolan, and he was replacing a GM who was at the helm of the team for the better part of a generation (1997-2014), and had finally been shown the door.
Murray had some immediate issues to deal with, most notably pending UFA goalie Ryan Miller, which he handled at the trade deadline where he made deals with an eye to the future and began stocking his cupboards with young talent, prospects and draft picks.
To the surprise of many, but not to me he avoided dealing with his former club (and uncle) for the first part of his stay in Buffalo, the only move being to claim Cory Conacher off waivers at the trade deadline (a move that didn’t work out as Conacher continues to be the bane of the Murray family)
Nothing he was going to do in his first 8 months on the job was going to get the Sabres into immediate contention, but what he has done is amass a roster that, if nothing else, should be tough to play against and even fun to watch most of the time. The team is stacked with young defensive prospects, perhaps the deepest group in the NHL, and Murray tried to supplement that with some veteran talent that can lead by example and show the way.
Murray has done this while not spending too much money on wasted talent, biding his time and making the most of what he has been handed. His background is in scouting and player development, and that is an aspect of the game that he and his club are going to rely heavily upon as they try to drag themselves back to respectability.
It won’t happen overnight, but with the proper plan and the proper man in place, it will happen. Murray has done a good job distancing himself from the Senators and his relationship with uncle Bryan. Now, he can trade Chris Stewart to Ottawa. Please.