NHL Rumors: Why Sabres Cleaned House, Seattle, Red Wings, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, we follow-up yesterday’s news about Jason Botterill being let go as GM of the Buffalo Sabres, detailing ownership’s reason as to why. What’s next for franchise? Who is safe? Who isn’t?

In Seattle, things are delayed, but how far behind are they? And, why haven’t they named their team yet?

Finally, if fans wants to see behind the scenes at how bad a season can go for one team, the Red Wings are going to make that possible.

Pegula’s Talk About Why They Changed GM’s

Saying their voices weren’t being heard by the former administration, the Pegulas decided to clean out most of the Sabres management staff on Tuesday and go with Kevyn Adams as the new general manager. Per The Athletic’s John Vogl, ownership now believes they have someone in place who will act on their input. In other words, it sounds like they wanted and got a “yes” man who would do what they ask.

Vogl writes:

While Botterill was the marquee name in the bloodletting, he was just the start. Hardly a soul was saved as the Pegulas fired the assistant GMs, the minor-league coaching staff, scouting directors, scouts and player development coaches.

source – ‘New Sabres GM Kevyn Adams inherits barren hockey operations department’ – John Vogl – The Athletic – 06/16/2020

Vogl also notes that Adams and the Pegulas had not yet decided if he’ll have an assistant GM. They did decide one of the first things on his to-do list is hire an amateur scouting staff, which could be tricky as teams will likely look to extend contracts with the NHL because of the pandemic pause and to get franchises through the upcoming draft.

Jeff Skinner and Jack Eichel
Buffalo Sabres’ Sam Reinhart (23), Jeff Skinner and Jack Eichel (9) celebrate a goal during the third period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Elliotte Friedman noted on his 31 Thoughts podcast a couple of the instances in which Botterill and the Pegula’s butted heads:

“I don’t think Botterill wanted to give Jack Eichel that contract and ownership said “we’re doing it”. And I don’t think Botterill wanted to give Jeff Skinner that deal. I think what Botterill wanted to do was offer big money for a low term. … Jason Botterill, from what I heard, is not a “term guy”. He says too many teams get burned by those mistakes and I think he was overruled. I think what they’re looking at right here is: There’s a finite amount of time here before Eichel says “I had enough.””

As for any players that might be on the move, NBC Sports columnist James O’Brien noted that defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen could be their most notable trade candidate. O’Brien wonders if Botterill was asking too steep a price for the blueliner and suggests the Sabres might be better off cutting their losses, even if they have to move him for a less-than ideal return.

Related: NHL Owners: Who Are They?

Seattle Arena Delayed

As per a report by TSN, and as one can imagine with the COVID-19 pandemic slowing almost everything down, Seattle president Todd Leiweke said that the schedule to have their arena renovations completed has been pushed back a few months. The good news is that they are still expected to be complete for the opening of the 2021-22 season.

Leiweke explained:

“Any delay is absolutely minimal. Given what we went through the workers have kept building. But there have been issues with supply lines,” Leiweke told the AP on Tuesday. “If it’s not going to be the date we hoped it’s not very long thereafter. And it’s impressive how they’ve actually kept things on schedule. If our target was early summer of 2021 to say we’re going to hit it sometime in the summer is pretty good considering all things.”

As for a name, the team is not ready to announce it. Both because this is the wrong environment to introduce such news and because of trademark delays.

Related: Best Current NHL Player From Each Canadian Province

Red Wings to Release Documentary

According to a report from Detroit Red Wings insider Ansar Khan, the Detroit Red Wings are giving fans a look at the disastrous season that was the 2019-20 campaign for the Red Wings in a documentary series.

The seven-part series is called The Winged Wheel and it will debut today on “The Word on Woodward,” from 3-5 p.m. on  DetroitRedWings.com  as well as the team’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitch channels.

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