Who is running the Sabres?

Many will pitch in

Paul Hamilton
April 21, 2017 - 3:18 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - As Terry and Kim Pegula begin interviewing candidates to run their hockey team, there is still day-to-day business that needs to take place.

The team has been trying to sign KHL defenseman Viktor Antipin. His season just ended, and on Friday the New York Rangers inked one of his teammates.

Cal Petersen is on Team USA for the World Championships, but he still has not declared if he’s leaving Notre Dame before his senior season. If he does, the Sabres have 30 days to sign their 2013 5th round pick or he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

The Sabres have until June 1 to sign 2015 picks Devante Stephens, Giorgio Estephan and Gustav Possler. If they don’t, they go back into the draft.

They have to finalize their protected list for the June 21 expansion draft.

Some of that stuff can be handled by assistant general manager Mark Jakubowski who has been responsible for keeping the Sabres under the salary cap.

Terry Pegula said he isn’t worried at how things will run, “We’ve got a lot of people in the organization that are pretty capable. Jeff Crisp will be heading up our amateur side. The pro side will be several people in the organization involved in decisions until that person comes in.” Crisp is head amateur scout.

Kevin Devine is still with the team as the director of player personnel. He ran quite a few drafts for Darcy Regier.

Graham Beamish is the pro scouting coordinator and could be the new point man for the Antipin talks.

As Pegula talked on Friday I got the impression that many of the assistant general managers across the league would not be considered candidates for Buffalo. Pegula said, “Without disclosing specifics on this search, we are going to find the best candidates. The structure will land depending on the first person that we bring in, what his attitude is and how we should work together.”

“Experience is going to be key in our search. Without disclosing specific details about what our plan is, our plan may change as we start talking to people, but the plan is to build a stronger organization from top to bottom.”

There was a timeline that happened this week before the Thursday announcement. Pegula said, “There were detailed conversations with Tim, Dan, others in the organization and yes, we talked to players and put it all together and the decision was made.”

Throughout the 15 minutes that he spoke, Pegula kept repeating communication, character, discipline and structure. Those are four words that will become the fabric of this organization. The owner said, “Its how you win. All of that stuff goes together with character. You’ve got to have character throughout the organization on the ice and they have to be in a disciplined, structured environment where everybody knows what everybody’s doing and everybody is talking.”

The team missed the playoffs by 17 points and went backwards instead of forwards. Pegula was asked what he feels his mistakes have been. He had one that seems to stick with him, “I can tell you that I was not involved in the last general manager/coach search to a large extent and I regret that move.”

There were reports out there that Pegula interviewed Dean Lombardi on Thursday. He said he has not talked to or met with anybody yet.