With 2014 near its end, the year has been an eventful one for Buffalo. We saw changes in the front office for the first time in over a decade and a trade of the face of the franchise. Here are my top five stories for the Buffalo Sabres for 2014.
5. Ted Nolan is Hired as Head Coach
On March 31st, Nolan signed a three year contract extension. Nolan was brought back as the interim coach by LaFontaine after Dracy Regier and Ron Rolston were fired. The fan base was re-energized by Nolan and LaFontaine taking over. After LaFontaine resigned, there was fear that Nolan would not want to remain the Sabres coach. Murray eventually was able get Nolan to sign an extension. So far Nolan appears to be the correct man for the job as he has his club overachieving so far in the 2014-15 season.
4. Drafting Sam Reinhart 2nd Overall
The Sabres continued their rebuild by selecting forward Sam Reinhart 2nd overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. Reinhart will play a huge role for Buffalo in the years
to come. Reinhart was the highest selection for the Sabres since 1987 when Pierre Turgeon was selected first overall. The Sabres may have the opportunity to pick high again in 2015 and draft one of the stars in Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid.
3. Pat LaFontaine Resigns
In a bizarre turn of events newly appointed Directory of Hockey Operations, Pat LaFontaine resigned from his role. It’s still a mystery to this day why exactly LaFontaine resigned. There was rumors of a disagreement between LaFontaine and Pegula associate. Also talk of LaFontaine not being thrilled with the Ryan Miller trade and his lack of involvement. This wasn’t the first time that LaFontaine bailed on an NHL team after a short stint. He pulled the same kind of move with the Islanders in 2006, resigning after being on the job for only six weeks. LaFontaine lasted three months in Buffalo.
2. Tim Murray Hired as GM
On January 9th Tim Murray was hired from Ottawa as the new General Manager of the Sabres. The hiring of Murray ushered in a new era of the Buffalo Sabres. As the man leading the hockey department, Murray is responsible for rebuilding the franchise. Murray has done well in his 11 months on the job and his no nonsense attitude has rubbed off onto his team. In the next year or two Murray will have his finger prints all over this team with a few offseasons under his belt.
1. Ryan Miller Traded to the St. Louis Blues
On February 28th Ryan Miller was traded to the St. Louis Blues along with Steve Ott for Chris Stewart, Jaroslav Halak, William Carrier, 2016 3rd round pick and a 2015 1st round pick. Miller was the face of the franchise and star goaltender since entering the league full time in 2005. The Sabres were in the middle of a full rebuild and Miller was looking for an opportunity to win. This combination lead to the unfortunate departure of a huge fan favorite and franchise altering trade. It still remains to be seen how the 2015 first round pick and William Carrier will turn out. Halak was flipped soon after the Miller trade and Stewart will likely be moved this trade deadline. A lot of the Miller deal still remains to be played out.
Chad DeDominicis was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Chad is currently a Buffalo Sabres contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is an avid sports fan and is passionate about the game of hockey. Chad works hard to share creative and quality content with his readers.