Report: Sabres on verge of handing GM gig to Tim Murray


The Buffalo Sabres are very close to naming Ottawa Senators assistant GM Tim Murray their new general manager, according to various reports.

(That news comes from both TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet’s John Shannon, though both emphasized that the two sides are still negotiating terms as of Tuesday night.)

Murray, 50, has been with the Senators since July 2007. His NHL experience stretches all the way back to his time as a Detroit Red Wings scout in 1993-94. Senators GM Bryan Murray is his uncle.

While Murray was named as the frontrunner, Boston Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning seemed to also be in the running as recently as Monday. The Sabres’ rights to chat up Benning expired today, however, according to McKenzie.

Grumblings among NHL execs

That window of negotiation points to a fascinating sub-story: NHL teams are complaining about the process in which rival teams interview (and sometimes poach) each others’ front office members. McKenzie reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Calgary Flames exec Brian Burke are among those who are pushing the hardest for compensation when it comes to losing front office members, yet it sounds like such an initative won’t move the needle with commissioner Gary Bettman.

In other words, don’t expect teams to pay in picks and money when a rising front office star is hired away (see: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers paying a ransom for Jon Gruden many moons ago).

That’s not to say that such distaste will have no impact on future movements, though, as McKenzie explains that NHL teams might not be as accommodating when it comes to the Flames’ own GM search.

Hey, maybe it will prompt Burke to say something sensational and angry again, though.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

Peter Budaj, Nick Leddy
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.