The Buffalo Sabres operated for most of last season with a skeleton management and scouting staff under GM Kevyn Adams, but after bringing in former Pittsburgh Penguins Assistant GM Jason Karmanos as second in command in April, the club has begun to add more layers to their hockey infrastructure.
On Monday, the Sabres hired 33-year-old Sam Ventura as vice president of hockey strategy and research and reassigned former analytics head Jason Nightingale to their Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting. Ventura spent the past six seasons with Karmanos in Pittsburgh as their director of analytics and will address the use of analytics in assembling talent in Buffalo, while Nightingale shifts to a scouting role full time.
With NHL Draft on July 23rd, Adams is focusing on who to select first overall, while also continuing to field offers on center Jack Eichel, forward Sam Reinhart, and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.
University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power is the presumptive top selection and according to Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News is scheduled to meet with the Sabres on Thursday.
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On the Eichel front, agent Peter Fish indicated last week that he and the Sabres were making progress towards a resolution on the team captain’s medical situation regarding his neck injury, while Buffalo continues to field offers for a potential trade.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Sabres asking price for Eichel remains exceedingly high for a player with an uncertain medical issue and $50 million owed on the final five years of his contract, but the clock may be ticking to get a deal done before teams begin to shop for free agents later this month.