BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Once again Terry and Kim Pegula are taking a chance on another first-time general manager to try and turn things around as they’ve hired Kevyn Adams to replace Jason Botterill who was fired on Tuesday.
Adams is the third GM the Sabres have hired since the Pegulas bought the team in 2011. And they’ve known Adams this entire time which is what set him apart from other hires in their minds.
“We had Kevyn in mind very recently only because we know him over nine years. He has handled very admirably any job we’ve given him, loyal, communicative and we just feel that it’s a better place for us to be with Kevyn as our GM,” Sabres co-owner Terry Pegula said on a zoom call with reporters.
Adams was hired as the Senior Vice President of Business Administration for the Sabres in 2019. He first joined the management side of things in October 2013 and took over as vice president and director of the Academy of Hockey of LECOM Harborcenter. He was promoted to general manager of the complex in January 2019.
“There’s a difference between interviewing an individual for the first time and never having met that individual and putting that individual in a position of trust in the organization. We have known Kevyn for nine years and keep jamming him with responsibilities and he kept rising up the ladder. He’s a very knowledgeable and passionate person, he’s a great communicator and this isn’t some scattershot decision that we made,” Terry Pegula explained.
Before holding those positions with the Sabres, Adams first joined the organization as a player development coach in 2009. was an assistant coach from 2011-2013 but was fired when Ron Rolston took over as head coach.
And even though it’s another first-time GM with a head coach that didn’t get to finish his first season with the Sabres because of COVID-19, the Pegulas still don’t think a President of Hockey Operations is needed to help the inexperience.
Terry Pegula said he didn’t believe in that philosophy and likes the line of communication they have between ownership, the GM and head coach. Not adding someone like that doesn’t exactly sound ideal with this kind of inexperience and trying to break a nine year playoff drought that’s just one season shy of tying the NHL’s longest.
But Adams’ familiarity with the organization is why the Pegulas had him in mind immediately and didn’t bother opening up a search, rather just making the in-house hiring quickly.
“This is a dream come true for me. Many of you know that I grew up in Western New York, I wore number 11 when I started playing hockey because of watching Gilbert Perreault. This is a very special day for me and my family. I am so excited to start this job, learn from Ralph Krueger and his staff, work side by side on a daily basis. I believe that winning is doing it together. We’re gonna move forward, we’re gonna be positive, and I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead,” New Sabres GM Kevyn Adams said on a zoom call.
As Adams mentioned, he’s familiar with Western New York having grown up here. He was born in Washington, D.C. but was raised in Clarence, NY.
He spent 11 seasons in the NHL playing for the Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets, Panthers, Hurricanes, Coyotes and Blackhawks. He won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006 after the Hurricanes beat the Sabres in the Eastern Conference Final that year to advance to the Stanley Cup.
Now it’s about trying to lead the Sabres to that same prize. One of his first things he’s doing is getting to know his staff and players.
“Making sure that our staff understands the vision that Terry and Kim have put together, understands the relationship that Ralph and I already have from working this past year and now how we want to move forward together so I think that is the priority right now. I’d be lying if a few hours on the job if I didn’t tell you that the list is long and you can only tackle them one at a time but I’d start with that right at the top,” Adams explained.
With all of the changes, one thing that is staying the same is Ralph Krueger will remain as head coach and nothing more as some might question whether or not he’ll be more involved now in the hockey operations/player personnel side of things. Krueger shot down any talks of that.
“I signed on here as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres and I’m very proud to continue. All that matters is the actions we take moving forward and my actions will continue to be as the head coach. My role in this club is very clearly from the first day to be the best possible head coach I can be. I look forward to attacking all of these different levels of sports challenges together with Kevyn when it comes to the management side in the future but I will have enough responsibility when the gates open for us again,” Ralph Krueger said.
Adams already has his work cut out for him. Even though Kim Pegula said she doesn’t see this as a “rebuild”, they fired the Amerks coaching staff that includes head coach Chris Taylor and assistant coaches Gord Dineen and Toby Petersen.
Sabres Assistant general managers Randy Sexton and Steve Greeley were also let go as well as amateur scouting director Ryan Jankowski and other members of the scouting department.
He also has the task of restructuring this roster to add toughness that’s certainly been lacking and veteran talent. Once again this offseason the Sabres lack forward depth and are still relying on prospects to be ready in Rochester. That’s not going to fix these issues alone.