The Buffalo Sabres are now in full “revolving door” mode as new general manager Tim Murray tries to clean up the mess left behind by former general manager Darcy Regier. One of the most dramatic examples of how badly Regier managed the young talent in Buffalo is the case of forward Mikhail Grigorenko.
Instead of doing the right thing and allowing Grigorenko to finish his career in the juniors before taking a spot with the Sabres’ AHL affiliate in Rochester, Regier brought Grigorenko right up to the big team in Buffalo. After severely mismanaging Grigorenko’s career by either benching him with the Sabres or randomly sending him down to Rochester, Regier finally decided to allow Grigorenko to play in international competition.
When Ted Nolan took over behind the bench as Sabres interim head coach, Grigorenko could not find a spot on the Sabres’ roster. The Russian teenager was sent to Rochester and, once again, was allowed to take part in international competition. When Murray took over as general manager just a few days ago, he tried to do what Regier should have done and send Grigorenko back to his junior team in Quebec. But now it is too late, and Grigorenko has refused his assignment. This is just one mess that Regier left behind that Murray will have to deal with.
Another interesting story is the one of Sabres’ young defenseman Brayden McNabb. The day after the Sabres lost to the Florida Panthers, the team sent McNabb down to Rochester. Less than 24 hours later, the team called McNabb back up to Buffalo with no explanation.
All of these strange moves are making people wonder if there is already a power struggle going on between Murray and Nolan. While the roles of the two men within the organization are very distinct, Nolan has been evaluating talent since November and he has a good idea as to what he has to work with right now. The Girgorenko move would have been a good one to make two years ago. But to make it now puts the Sabres in a tough spot. With Grigorenko refusing to report to Quebec, it is difficult to predict how this will end.
The flurry of up and down moves shows just how much damage Darcy Regier did to the organization over the past few years. Once again, Sabres fans will need to be patient as the team works through its issues and tries to get itself on a winning path.