On Wednesday afternoon Buffalo Sabres General Manager Tim Murray will address the media after an incredibly lackluster season. Judging by his past history with the media he won't hold back -- but what would you want to ask the mastermind behind the Sabres roster?
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) April 11, 2017
The Bylsma questions: The majority of the Twitter universe asked about Dan Bylsma. Some of the questions included:
"Why haven't you fired Bylsma yet?"
"Why didn't Bylsma get fired yet?"
"Who's the new coach?'
"Who is our new coach going to be???"
"Does Bylsma play the system that you want to see the Sabres play?"
This will likely be the most cut and dry portion of GMTM's media conference. Maybe there will be a move made before Wednesday afternoon, maybe there won't, but regardless we'll likely have a better idea what the coaching staff will look like moving into the offseason.
Jordan -- "How could you start the season thinking that the defense group was good enough?"
The defense was the clear cut weakness going into the season, but the Sabres were also decimated with injuries, specifically on the blue line. This season the team started 12 (!) different defensemen, which is absolutely unheard of. Yes, it should've been better from the start and injuries shouldn't be an excuse, but disappointing seasons from Dmitry Kulikov and Zach Bogosian really hurt the blue and gold.
Kulikov never looked healthy and missed 36 games. Maybe his struggles were from lingering injuries or maybe he's just lost a step, but Kulikov never lived up to his top-four potential.
Bogosian, like Kulikov, spent a good majority of the season sidelined, missing 26 games. On Monday he told reporters he was disappointed in his game this season, and for good reason. Moving forward the Sabres will need Bogosian to return to a viable top-four option, especially when you consider his hefty salary cap-hit over the next few seasons.
Seth -- "Where do you see our biggest need? Forwards, Defensemen or Goaltending? Also, what do you think we could do to solidify what our need is?"
I think it's defensemen and it's not even close. That being said, I would be shocked if Brendan Guhle wasn't on the team to start next season. Unless something changes, it sounds like the Sabres are still the front-runner to sign Viktor Antipin from the KHL too. If that happens he'll likely also make the team out of training camp.
Both Cody Franson and Kulikov are unrestricted free agents on July 1, making it an easy swap in the lineup for the two aforementioned players. However, that isn't enough, especially when you consider that Guhle and Antipin have a combined three games of NHL experience.
If the Sabres can add one more top-four defenseman then they should be in much better shape.Getting a player that caliber won't be cheap, so perhaps Murray can explore trades before the expansion draft so a team can get some sort of return, rather than losing their player for nothing.
Joe -- "Looking to sign Lehner to a long term or a bridge deal?"
That all depends on Cal Petersen. If the Sabres can sign Petersen than a bridge deal for Lehner would make the most sense.
Conveniently, this question was also asked: "Is cal peterson a sabre yet? if not ... why?"
It's Petersen, but Murray has said that he'd like to sign the Sabres 2013 draft pick. The ball is in Petersen's court, and the longer he goes without a contract the more likely it becomes that he'll head for greener pastures. On June 1 Petersen can sign with any team.
Murray will address the media at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday. We'll have updates throughout the day.