Who is Pittsburgh Penguins associate general manager Jason Botterill? Rumors are running rampant and Botterill seems to be emerging as one of the favorites to be named the next general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, "It feels like Botterill is the guy, but they're still kind of going through the process."
Let's start with the basics -- Botterill is 40-years-old and has spent the last ten seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. Along with his duties in Pittsburgh, Botterill serves as the general manager of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins [AHL].
"If it wasn't for the kids and the coach [Mike Sullivan] coming from Wilkes-Barre, they [Penguins] wouldn't have won the cup last year," WTAE Sports Director Andrew Stockey said over the phone on Tuesday afternoon. "Even though you don't see him [Botterill] and hear much about him, clearly his footprint and his imprint are on the team and he's somebody who actually believes in building from within."
The team's official website says this about Botterill:
Botterill helped build Pittsburgh’s 2009 Stanley Cup-winning squad as Assistant GM and saw Pittsburgh capture the Cup again as Associate GM in 2016.
From all accounts, Botterill is ready to take the next step and run his own team, and that's still the plan in Pittsburgh, at least until something changes.
"The plan was to basically have Botterill work under Rutherford and then when Rutherford stepped aside and retired he would take over as GM," Stockey added. "Now obviously they've had so much success that Rutherford has kind of extended his stay, he's not publicly saying that but he's here now, but Botterill is still the heir apparent as far we know."
But what do Botterill's former teammates think? Is the ex-NHL player ready to become a GM?
"His track record really proceeds him, he's done a fantastic job wherever he's been, especially now in Pittsburgh," former Sabres teammate and hockey analyst Martin Biron said on the phone Tuesday. "I thought he was a very good candidate when he interviewed a couple years back, but I didn't think it was ready for it."
Well that was then and this is now -- Biron believes Botterill has taken major steps in the last few years and is confident the former Sabre can manage the team he once played for. Stockey agrees and believes Botterill's track record speaks for itself.
"Within the organization [he's] very well respected. Obviously, to say this is the guy to take over Mario Lemieux's hockey team says a lot about him."