The Buffalo Sabres announced Thursday morning they have fired head coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Tim Murray. The Sabres made the news official on their twitter account:
General Manager Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma have been relieved of their duties.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 20, 2017
The Sabres tweeted out a statement from owner Terry Pegula along with the news:
After reviewing the past season and looking at the future of our organization, Kim and I have decided to relieve General Manager Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma of their duties. We want to thank Tim and Dan for their hard work and efforts that they have put in during their time tenures with the club. We wish them luck. We have begun the process to fill these positions immediately.
The Sabres finished the 2016-17 season with a 33-37-12 record, a small step back from their 2015-16 campaign that saw them win 35 games. But while their record was disappointing, their young core took another step forward. Young forwards Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart both had great seasons for the Sabres, and budding star Rasmus Ristolainen looks to be on his way to becoming a top NHL defenseman.
But while Eichel had a good season on the ice, he and Bylsma reportedly had issues off of it. Reports on Wednesday said Eichel would leave Buffalo when his contract is up if Bylsma remained the head coach, but his agent disputed the report.
Inside sources have told me that Eichel has no desire to sign a contract extension this summer if Bylsma remains the coach, so quite a bit hinges on this meeting. Eichel’s agent has told WGRZ’s Adam Benigni, “He is 100 percent on board assuming negotiations go well.” Eichel’s agent Peter Fish added that Bylsma’s status has nothing to do with it. Fish also told Adam, “Bottom line…He’s a competitor. He’s pissed his team isn’t in the playoffs. He places most of the burden on himself.”
So while he and his agents say differently, just days after Eichel’s exit meeting, and one day after he reportedly was leaving Buffalo, the team chose to commit to Eichel, removing the coach he did not agree with. Eichel is the star and future of the Sabres, and owner Terry Pegula is not going to risk losing him for anything.