Bylsma and Murray's Days Should Be Numbered
After watching the Buffalo Sabres struggle to stay at .500 thus fat this season I've often wondered if the Braintrust of the team should be called into question. Well after watching the Sabres blow a 2 goal lead to an explosive Leafs team I have my answer. Bylsma and Murray had Sabres fans optimistic about this season and about their "process" but after watching their biggest rivals blow by them in the standings and blow them away last night there is no doubt in my mind that Terry Pegula needs to evaluate his organization.
Bylsma may be a good coach but his inability to change his philosophy to match his team's strengths make him a terrible fit for the Sabres. A coach that preaches defence first should not be in charge of a team that completely lacks depth beyond their top pair of McCabe and Ristolainen. Bylsma needs to focus on his strengths and that is his team's young talent and speed, instead of playing aging slower players like Gionta, Moulson and Deslauriers he should be playing young offensive talent like Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste and Alexander Nylander. As a fan of this team I'd rather see a young exciting team that loses than a team full of incapable players embarrass themselves and the team on a nightly basis. To make matters worse look at what Toronto has done, Babcock wouldn't normally play 7 rookies but the team has left him no choice and he's turning Toronto into the success story that Sabres fans thought this team would be.
Bylsma doesn't deserve all of the blame though, Tim Murray who has been a fairly good GM has begun to show his weaknesses. Trading a first round pick for Lehner was a good deal at the time, even though he was unproven as a starter he showed all of the potential to grow into that (and still very well may) but this team can't afford an unproven goaltender they need a legitimate number 1 especially with their coaches desire to stress defence first. Murray has also failed to build a legit core of defenders... outside of the top 2 there are no legit NHL defencemen on this roster. Franson and Bogosian are awful game in and game out, and Falk and Fedun are great 7th D options but not deserving of a regular spot in the rotation. Even if Kulikov anf Gorges were healthy their impact would be minimal on this roster. So the next logical idea would be play their young D prospects... but there are none, Guhle is their only legit NHL ready D prospect and outside of him there's basically no one.
The sad truth is Murray and Bylsma had Sabres fans falsely optimistic and I myself was one of these fans, but I can no longer sit back and watch this team crumble night in and night out. A tanking process that Sabres fans believed was over is still very much in the books and if this is the road that this season ends up going down then anyone not named Eichel, Reinhart, O'Reilly or Ristolainen had better beware because their days could be over in Blue and Gold; and if a top 5 pick ends up being in Buffalo's future then a new GM and a new Head Coach should be up on stage making the announcement ant the next NHL Entry Draft because this has been an utter disaster for the Sabres.