24 hours ago Sabres owner Terry Pegula was asked if the next general manager of the franchise would have experience, in an effort to help bolster the culture change he's looking to usher in at KeyBank Center.
"I would say that's probably a safe assumption," Pegula told reporters Friday. "Experience is going to be key."
Former Sabres GM Tim Murray had served as general manager in the AHL and served as an assistant GM in Ottawa before being handed the reigns to the franchise in 2014 with Buffalo.
Pegula also admitted he wished he had been more involved with the hiring process three years ago.
However, according to SportsNet's John Shannon Pegula is eyeing "new blood" for his next GM.
Sabres have started building their list of candidates for GM. Sounds like they are looking for "new blood" as opposed to veteran manager.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) April 22, 2017
There are plenty of great candidates on the market, and Pegula gave a flat out denial he and his wife Kim met with former LA general manager Dean Lombardi the same day the franchise announced they fired Murray and Dan Bylsma.
It doesn't mean there isn't a guy out there with experience but young enough to relate younger players on the roster, while understanding the importance culture (as Pegula hit on multiple times during his press conference on Friday) and building a winning team.
Here are some names of the Sabres could be eyeing:
Norm MacIver, who has all ready been linked to the Sabres as a "strong candidate", was dubbed as the "architect" to the cup winning teams in Chicago.
MacIver, who is 52, was promoted to assistant GM of the Blackhawks following the 2012-2013 season and has been with the franchise since 2006. Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2012 and again in 2015.
Former fan favorite and captain in Buffalo Chris Drury has quickly climbed the ladder when it comes to management positions in the National Hockey League.
He was named the director of player development with the New York Rangers, who he also played for, in September of 2015. A year later, he promoted to assistant GM. He was also instrumental in luring Harvard star Jimmy Vesey to the Big Apple.
Drury will turn 41 in August.
Another former Sabres player, who was rumored to be a candidate for opening Buffalo prior to hiring of Murray, is current Penguins Associate General Manager Jason Botterill.
There are stars in Pittsburgh, which led to titles in 2009 and again in 2016, like there are in Buffalo with Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Evander Kane and Ryan O'Reilly.
Botterill (40), who is by many considered to be a cap expert, has also been key in finding young, versatile talent to helpkeep the Pens as cup contenders.