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Well-known names abound as Sabres search for GM, coach

Lindy Ruff. Darcy Regier. Ron Rolston. Pat LaFontaine. Ted Nolan. Ted Black. Tim Murray. Dan Bylsma.

The Pegulas have gotten used to firing people, and that’s just with the Sabres for the dual-franchise owners. It also means they’ve gotten used to hiring people.

The search is back on after Buffalo cleaned house Thursday, relieving Murray of his role as general manager and Bylsma of his coaching duties.

There are plenty of candidates for both jobs. Here’s a look at some, keeping in mind the Pegulas could start by hiring a hockey czar and allowing him to name the coach and general manager.

Sabres fire Tim Murray, Dan Bylsma


Dean Lombardi – The former GM of the Los Angeles Kings is near the top of any team’s list. He built two Stanley Cup-winning teams in L.A., hoisting the trophy in 2012 and 2014.

The Kings missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons this year, and they fired the 59-year-old earlier this month after more than a decade on the job.

*Michael Futa – Los Angeles promoted the 49-year-old to assistant GM after Lombardi was fired. Futa has been with the Kings for 10 seasons, including the last three as vice president of hockey operations and director of player personnel.

Futa interviewed with the Sabres last time they needed a GM but lost out to Murray.

Sabres ask Kings to interview Futa, but not Lombardi

*Bill Zito – The 52-year-old is the assistant GM in Columbus and is GM for the Blue Jackets' minor-league team. The Cleveland Monsters, former known as Lake Erie, won the American Hockey League championship in 2016.

Zito joined Columbus in 2013 after helping found Acme World Sports, one of the top sports agencies. He played hockey for Yale and has a law degree from Wisconsin.

*Norm Maciver – The 52-year-old is in his fifth season as the assistant GM of the Chicago Blackhawks. He has 30 years of NHL experience, including a run as Chicago's director of player personnel. He has been described as the "co-architect" of the Blackhawks' Cup teams.

Maciver played 500 games in the NHL and was an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins.

Rick Dudley – The former player and coach in Buffalo remains a regular in the KeyBank Center press box as senior vice president of hockey operations for the Montreal Canadiens. The 68-year-old has an extensive hockey background, including the GM job in Atlanta, Florida, Tampa Bay and Ottawa.

* Bill Guerin – The longtime player is in his third year as the Penguins' assistant general manager. Pittsburgh's former player development coach serves as a liaison between management and the players.

Chris Drury – The former Sabres captain is quickly moving up the management charts. After one year as director of player development in New York, the Rangers promoted him to assistant GM this year. The 40-year-old is also serving on the management team of USA Hockey’s world championship squad, which will boast Jack Eichel as a player next month.

Drury, who played for the Sabres from 2003 to 2007, is highly regarded by Buffalo executives.

UPDATE: The Rangers have denied the Sabres' request to interview Drury.

Reports: Drury declines interview, Sabres' proposed deal with Vegas in flux

Jason Botterill – The Penguins’ associate general manager gets credit for helping create the 2009 and 2016 championship teams. The 40-year-old is in his 10th season with Pittsburgh, including his third as associate GM. He spent parts of three seasons as a player in the Sabres’ organization in the early 2000s.

Pierre McGuire – One of the more familiar faces in hockey, he’s the lead rinkside analyst for NBC Sports. The 55-year-old was the assistant GM for the Hartford Whalers for two seasons in the early 1990s and has expressed a desire to get back into management.

The Pegulas like to make a splash with their hires, and this would certainly do it.

Bucky Gleason's Hot Read: Sabres' problems start at the top

Tom Fitzgerald – He is in his second season as the assistant GM for the New Jersey Devils. The 48-year-old previously served as director of player personnel for Pittsburgh. Buffalo drafted his son, Casey, last year.


Ruff – Bringing back former coaches is the trend, and Ruff has a good relationship with the Pegulas. He is the winningest coach in Sabres history after working behind the bench from 1997 to 2013. He spent the last four seasons in Dallas, which opted not to renew his contract.

Ruff occasionally expressed a desire to get into management, so the 57-year-old could be a candidate for the GM job, too.

Phil Housley – The longtime Sabres defenseman is in his fourth season as assistant coach for Nashville. He coached the United States to a gold medal in the 2013 world juniors and served as an assistant at last year’s World Cup of Hockey.

Kevyn Adams – The 42-year-old is well-liked within the organization in his role running the Pegula-owned Academy of Hockey. Prior to taking that job, he was an assistant coach with the Sabres for two years and also worked as their player development coach.

David Quinn – The Boston University coach has led the team to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2015 title game with Eichel as his leading scorer. He is a former assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche who could be interested in returning to the NHL.

If the Sabres hired Quinn, it would give the appearance that Eichel is running the show.

Mike Harrington: With Tankmaster gone, a hockey czar is what Sabres need

Sheldon Keefe – One of the hottest names in the American Hockey League, the 36-year-old is in his second season with the Toronto Marlies. He has a 96-45-11 record. Keefe went 98-29-9 with St. Sault Marie of the Ontario Hockey League.

Darryl Sutter – The former Kings coach was shown the door along with Lombardi after leading L.A. to two Cups. The 58-year-old has also coached Chicago, San Jose and Calgary.

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