Jason Botterill was introduced as the Buffalo Sabres eighth general manager in team history early Thursday evening.
Botterill, who spent the last eight seasons of his executive career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, knows what it takes to build a winner.
The forty year old was on the Pens staff for two Stanley Cup championships, the first in 2009 and the other in the 2016 season.
Perhaps Botterill’s biggest duty in Pittsburgh however was his overseeing of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. What Botterill did in WBS was create a similar model to the one the Sabres used in Rochester in the early to mid 2000s. The Amerks thrived due to contributions from Derek Roy, Tomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Ryan Miller. All of those players eventually made their way to the Sabres where they helped the team make it out of mediocrity.
The Baby Pens took this approach as well. Matt Murray spent two seasons in WBS, eventually playing well enough to earn a spot on the Pens roster where he has established himself as their goaltender of the future. Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary’s contributions to both clubs go without question, as Guentzel leads in goals scored in the NHL playoffs.
Aside from Sabres fans, the big winners here are Rochester Americans faithful.
Its been a long time since the Americans have had a general manager of their own. Rochester fans can find solace in the fact that Botterill plans on bringing in someone other than himself to run the Americans hockey operations.
Perhaps the most important asset Botterill brings to the team is being a winner. Being in charge of a successful AHL team and being on the staff of a perennial contender can groom anyone for success at a managerial position. Botterill fits the criteria Terry Pegula set up for the job to a T.
Botterill also comes from an organization that prized having lots of minds in the front office. The Penguins made the Associate GM position integral to their success and one can assume Botterill will bring that formula to KeyBank Center.
This choice for GM receives an A+ from us at SabresFanatics. Botterill brings a successful background to the team, something missing for too long.
Botterill faces lots of obstacles in his first season including re-signing Jack Eichel, negotiating with Robin Lehner and of course the upcoming Expansion Draft.
One thing is certain however, and that’s that the Sabres new General Manager knows how to build a winner.