Robin Lehner was Tim Murray’s guy. It appears the goaltender will start as Jason Botterill’s guy, too.
The Sabres’ new general manager gave a vote of confidence to Lehner in a conversation with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“I have no problem starting next season with him in goal,” Botterill said in an article published Tuesday. “There are more pressing needs. I liked what I saw from him when he won the Calder Cup.”
Lehner, who won the American Hockey League title with Ottawa’s farm team in 2011, had a solid season for the Sabres. The pending restricted free agent had a .920 save percentage while going 23-26-8 with a 2.68 goals-against average.
Murray acquired Lehner and center David Legwand in exchange for a first-round pick in June 2015.
As he did during his introductory news conference, Botterill said NHL experience will not be required as he conducts his coaching search.
“It’s not a necessity, but I do see it as a value,” Botterill said. “You can develop as an AHL coach, but the scrutiny from fans, media and organization at the NHL level, how do you handle that? The expectation to win is much greater.
"That said, I’m not going to limit who we look at.”
The Sabres have interest in interviewing Ralph Krueger, TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported Tuesday. Formerly coach of the Edmonton Oilers, Krueger jumped into the spotlight last fall while successfully leading Team Europe to the title game at the World Cup of Hockey.
Krueger is presently in soccer, serving as chairman of the Southampton Football Club in the English Premier League.
Update: “It was nice and honorable that I was offered two NHL jobs postseason and I was happy they didn’t forget about me, but I turned them down,” Krueger said told NBCSports.com. “It just feels like we’ve only just got started here."
Not clear whether Krueger would even be available or interested in the Sabres' coaching job, but new GM Jason Botterill wants to talk to him
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 16, 2017
Botterill said he expects Kyle Okposo to be ready for training camp. The right winger suffered a concussion late last season and ended up in a neuro intensive care unit, reportedly because of a reaction to medication used to treat the ailment.
Botterill told Friedman he will look at every possible method of addition to bolster Buffalo’s defense.
“It’s not rocket science,” Botterill said. “We have to address the depth of our D corps. Rasmus Ristolainen is a great young player, but we have to help manage his minutes. It’s important.”