Photo: Paul Hamilton (@pham1717)

Botterill - 'Winning is part of development'

The new Sabres general manager met with media after his hiring on Thursday

May 11, 2017 - 5:23 pm

Derek Kramer reporting


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill met with the media for the first time after being hired as the franchise's eighth general manager in team history on Thursday. 

"I'm looking forward to building a hockey operations department here that challenges me and creates a collaborative environment that will make the best decisions for our organization. I clearly understand there is work to be done, but I am excited about getting the job done and excited to work for these great owners, our loyal staff and our great fans."

The newest general manager was asked about what style of roster he would like to assemble, to which his answer had several parts, "This is a league that thrives on centermen. The fortunate thing here is we have a couple of amazing, high end centermen... The type of team I'd like to create here, and it will be in conjunction with the head coach we bring in, is a team that plays high tempo. People think 'high tempo - dump and chase', no. It's a high tempo, puck possession game." 

Botterill still needs to hire a head coach, but has an idea of what traits he wants in a coach, "I look forward to talking to a lot of people, I think there are some great candidates out there. A developer, an educator is going to be very important... I think in today's world, today's game, they have to have that strong communication with the players." 

Botterill mentioned several times the connection between NHL teams and their AHL affiliates. Several times during the press conference, he connected the Pittsburgh Penguins' AHL team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, as well as referencing how important the connection between the Sabres and the Rochester Americans. 

"We have young players, and it's imparitive now that we develop them. Whether they're in junior, or they're in Rochester or in the National Hockey League, they have to take the next step in their development... if anything falls apart in that line, it just doesn't work," Botterill said.

"Winning is a part of development. Here's a classic example, I was very proud of our team in Wilkes-Barre this year, we had the most points in the regular season in the American Hockey League. That was a huge accomplishment for that group, because of all of the injuries we had in Pittsburgh and how all these players came up into the National Hockey League and had success in the National Hockey League and allowed Pittsburgh to still make the playoffs."

Listen to the entire press conference below:

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