Communication was an essential attribute general manager Jason Botterill was looking for in his next head coach for the Sabres. Communicating, building relationships and teaching — Ralph Krueger checks all those boxes and the hope is he’s able to connect with the young core of this the team in the hopes of transforming them into a consistent winner and postseason contender.
“This is a really good mix. If you look at the young core with some experience now,” Krueger said. “Above all, this is a group that is ready to become a contender and compete with anybody on any given night. And, I’m confident that we can become that type of team quite quickly.”
“As I’ve sat here before and talked to you, a big part of our success is going to be the development of Rasmus Dahlin, development of Jack Eichel, development of Sam Reinhart, Casey Mittelstadt — players who are already at the National Hockey League level,” added general manager Jason Botterill.
“We’re going to expect Ralph to communicate well with them, expect Ralph to help their development to move along here for our organization to get to the next step.”
Another player to keep an eye on is Jeff Skinner, who if not re-signed, could become a free agent. Botterill said the winger wanted to know who the head coach was going to be before committing to longterm to the franchise.
Now, the focus shifts to how quickly the new head coach can build a relationship with one of the premiere players in the league.
“Its’s going to be very important for him to build a relationship with Jeff and make sure that he feels comfortable with what our plan is moving forward here, both as a team and organization, but where we see Jeff fitting into the mix.”
So, now that “Coach Watch” is over, let “Skinner Watch” begin.