The Buffalo Sabres have fired head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Tim Murray, the team announced Thursday.
“After reviewing the past season and looking at the future of our organization, Kim and I have decided to relieve General Manager Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma of their duties,” team owner Terry Pegula said via a statement Thursday morning. “We want to thank Tim and Dan for their hard work and efforts that they have put in during their tenures with the club. We wish them luck. We have begun the process to fill these positions immediately.”
Murray has been GM of the Sabres since January 2014, and was tasked with taking the team back to the playoffs—something that hasn’t happened since 2010-11.
Bylsma spent two seasons behind the bench in Buffalo, coaching the club to a combined 68-73-23 record with two nearly identical losing records. He was the fourth coach to join the team since Pegula bought the franchise in 2011. (Lindy Ruff, Ron Rolston, and Ted Nolan were the others.)
The decision to fire Bylsma comes amid reports of discontent between the coach and his players, most recently involving Jack Eichel.
The sophomore superstar reportedly expressed “no desire to sign a contract extension this summer if Bylsma remains the coach.”
Prior to joining the Sabres on a five-year deal in 2015, Bylsma got his start as an NHL head coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning the Stanley Cup in his first year with the club (2008-09) and qualifying for the post-season during each of the five seasons that followed until his dismissal in 2014. He had three more years left on his deal with the Sabres, each valued at $3 million.