Botterill: My past experiences will help me in Buffalo

Hear from Sabres general manager Jason Botterill as he joined Howard and Jeremy in studio on Friday

Howard & Jeremy | Weekdays 6a-10a
May 12, 2017 - 12:02 pm

Photo: Brayton J. Wilson (@BJWilsonWGR)

It was a long wait for the Buffalo Sabres to officially name Jason Botterill as the eighth general manager in franchise history. On Thursday, Sabres owner Terry Pegula officially introduced Botterill as the general manager after the Pittsburgh Penguins wrapped up their series with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Botterill was in studio with Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Friday to talk about his future with the Sabres organization. Here are some of the most notable things he had to say:

One getting a feel for the Sabres roster:

"You always have a feel for it from afar. It's not as if I was on the other side of the world, I was in Pittsburgh. Three hours away. You're up here, you're in the Eastern Conference playing against Buffalo, you have a feel for the players and especially some of the players we have here in Buffalo. Whether it's on their junior teams, World Junior Championships, you see them develop and grow."


On finding depth for the roster:

"It's great having elite players [like the ones] they have here in Buffalo, but that allocates a lot of your salary cap. You have to find players, whether it's entry-level guys from Europe developing from your own system or guys on the open market that are undervalued a little bit. You bring them in for a year or two and see how they produce."


On the ideal candidate for a head coach:

"You want to have a coach that has that precense in the locker room, that everyone knows that he's in charge. But there needs to be a communication element. We're in pro sports. The results matter, they matter a lot, but results come from players getting better. I don't care if the players are 18, 28 or 38, there's always room for development."


On his past experiences with the Penguins:

"Coming from Pittsburgh, everyone glorifies us because we did win two Stanley Cups there. We also went through some difficult times. Some first round exits, not meeting expectations, making coaching changes. All of those experiences I think will allow me to be prepared to see whatever happens here in Buffalo."


On the idea of using offer sheets:

"I think there's always a threat of offer sheets. I can't speak for other GMs, but I think most times people feel that the teams will eventually match the offers anyways and won't ever let those young players go for free. Even if you look at the draft pick compensation levels, it never usually equates to the talent of the player... The great thing about here in Buffalo is you at least have that option [to use an offer shert]. In Pittsburgh, we traded away a lot of draft picks so we never had a full reign of drafts to be able to go after an offer sheet."


On Viktor Antipin:

"I don't have an update for you or the fans right now, but it's a situation where we certainly have a very good relationship with his agent. We'll be following up with him immediately [after the World Championship] to see where that's at."


Thoughts on Rasmus Ristolainen:

"He's an amazing top-four defenseman who can play in all different situations. What I love about him is that he has won. Here's a guy who scored a game-winning goal in Sweden for Finland at the World Junior Championship. When we get a team that can be there come crunch time, he's a guy who you can really rely on."


In case you missed the interview with Howard and Jeremy, you can listen to it below:

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