“Evaluating is everything in our game.”
Those were the words of new Sabres general manager Tim Murray, introduced at a press conference this morning in Buffalo.
Lauded as one of the top talent evaluators in the game, it was no surprise to hear Murray accentuate the importance of what’s considered his best strength.
“We judge every day, and you want to make better judgments every day versus making poor judgments,” said Murray.
“My background is in scouting. I’ve done a lot of different managerial jobs, as far as contracts and stuff like that, but the main thing is evaluating players, being able to project players, being able to understand what constitutes a good trade, an average trade, or a bad trade.”
He added: “I believe having a pretty good eye has set me up to get into this position right now.”
It’s also no surprise that a candidate with Murray’s credentials (most recently the assistant GM in Ottawa) was given the job by president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine. Going forward, the draft will be paramount for the last-place Sabres. Expect some trades, too. Which is to say, there will be all sorts of roster turnover. Who should they get? Who should they keep? To answer those questions successfully, a good talent evaluator will be required.
Other key quotes from Murray today:
On player development: “You can draft a guy in the first round. If you don’t develop him right…you can lose him. The other side is, you can draft a guy in the fifth round and if he’s developed right and you do all the right things, he could become a player.”
On the future of head coach Ted Nolan: “There’s no preconceived notions. He’s the coach of the hockey team and I’m looking forward to getting to know him, getting to know the staff, and getting to know the style of coaches they are and the style they want to play. I have ideas. Pat has ideas. It’s a clean slate here.”
On the team’s pending unrestricted free agents, like goalie Ryan Miller: “This team’s in last place right now. Everybody could be traded.”
On the importance of the draft: “You build a team through the draft. Good drafting allows you to trade well, and then you use free agency to put you over the top.”
Following is the audio from today’s presser:
The Sabres also hired Craig Patrick to serve as a special assistant and advisor to the hockey department.