Tim Murray, the assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators, appears to be in line to become the new general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.
Murray, the nephew of current Ottawa GM and former Senators coach Bryan Murray, has apparently been selected by Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine to replace Darcy Regier.
Canadian television networks TSN and Sportsnet both reported late Tuesday night that the Sabres’ two-month search has landed on Murray. According to the reports, the parties will move into the process of getting approval from Sabres owner Terry Pegula and then negotiate a contract.
Sabres officials said they could neither confirm nor deny the Canadian reports, which also said LaFontaine has called other candidates to tell them they will not be getting the job.
Murray, 50, has had a 20-year career in the NHL, mostly in the scouting and personnel world. He has worked for Detroit, Florida, Anaheim and the New York Rangers before joining the Senators in July, 2007.
Murray was director of player personnel with the Ducks from 2002-05 — which included their trip to the 2003 Stanley Cup final — before joining the Rangers as assistant director of player personnel, where his duties expanded to include evaluation of NHL free agents. His duties in Ottawa included the role of GM of the AHL’s Binghamton Senators, who won the Calder Cup in 2011.
Murray generally travels with Ottawa but reporters who cover the Senators noted he did not make their current trip to Denver after returning from the World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden.
The Sabres were also known to be high on Boston assistant GM Jim Benning, a former Buffalo director of amateur scouting.
But the Bruins apparently did not want Benning to leave for another job until after the Olympics because GM Peter Chiarelli is on the executive board of Team Canada.
The Sabres, meanwhile, were unwilling to wait that long for Benning because the NHL trade deadline is March 5, just a week after the Sochi Games end.
It’s known the Sabres have also discussed the position with assistant GMs Jason Botterill (Pittsburgh), Paul Fenton (Nashville) and Brad Treliving (Phoenix), as well as Los Angeles scouting director Michael Futa.
It’s believed the Sabres’ final four consisted of Benning, Murray, Treliving and Futa.
Whoever gets the job has some immediate concerns on his plate.
One certainly is the status of interim coach Ted Nolan.
In addition, decisions may have to be made with free agents such as goalie Ryan Miller and forwards Steve Ott and Matt Moulson.