From left, general manager Kevyn Adams, coach Lindy Ruff and owner Terry Pegula stand Tuesday in the KeyBank Center pavilion. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Will Lindy Ruff have input in trades, other roster decisions?

BUFFALO – It’s no secret Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams leaned heavily on former coach Don Granato for roster decisions.

Adams regularly signed or traded for players Granato had connections to, often from his days coaching junior with the US National Team Development Program.

When the Sabres acquired winger Jordan Greenway prior to the trade deadline in 2023, Adams said Granato pounded the table for him. Adams made similar comments after they signed defenseman Connor Clifton last year and spoke of the respect and trust he and Granato shared.

Now, with Granato having been fired April 16, how much will Adams lean on Lindy Ruff? Expect his new coach to have plenty of roster input.

“No decisions are made in a vacuum,” Adams said Tuesday during Ruff’s re-introduction as coach in the KeyBank Center pavilion. “I’ve said that multiple times. It’s my style, first of all, to surround myself with people that are really challenging me. I always talk to our staff, it’s not about being right, it’s about getting it right. So we need to get it right.

“So, for sure, every decision when you are talking about the roster, you are going to debate. And Lindy’s going to have a big voice in that, because you need to be on the same page.”

When the Sabres held end-of-season meetings last week, winger Alex Tuch said he “had always been a huge fan of Ruff” growing up as a Buffalo fan in Baldwinsville. He added Ruff would be “a fantastic candidate.”

Ruff joked Tuch might regret his early support.

“He might say after the first week, ‘Oof, I was wrong about that’,” he said. “It’s great.”

Tuch, who watched the introduction with a few teammates, echoed Ruff, saying, “We’ll see how it feels a week into camp.”

Kidding aside, Tuch said he’s “super excited for the opportunity to be coached by such a legend.”

“Growing up being a Sabres fan and watching Lindy behind the bench all those years, it’s very nostalgic,” he said.

Players, of course, know Ruff, 64, is the winningest coach in Sabres history and fifth- winningest in NHL history. But Ruff said he understands he and his coaching staff “have to earn the players’ respect.”

“And this is how we’re going to play and this is the level of accountability we’ll hold you to, knowing that if we’re going to be the team that we want to be, this is the way we have to play the game,” he said. “And this is the way we’re going to operate from Day One moving forward.”

Tuch said he spoke to Ruff on the phone Monday and lives less than a mile from his new coach.

“We might belong to the same golf course as well so we might run into each other,” he said. “But I would love to sit down and meet with him on a more serious note and kind of see where he’s coming from and to learn about him and go into this season hitting the ground running.”

When Ruff was re-introduced, owner Terry Pegula spoke for almost four minutes, his first public comments about the Sabres since he fired Jason Botterill and hired Adams on June 16, 2020. Pegula did not take any questions.

“Donny told me, ‘I’m sorry that I let you, Kevyn, our fans and our players down,’” he said. “That goes to show you what kind of guy Donny is. He has left the Sabres in a better place and we appreciate that.”

Pegula said Ruff “may be the most competitive person I’ve ever met in my life.”

“Just go fishing with him and you may not ever go fishing with him again,” he said. “He’s also not going to ask anyone to do something that he wouldn’t do himself.”

One thought on “Sabres notes: Will Lindy Ruff have input in trades, other roster decisions?”

  1. Yeah. Adams needs to lean on somebody. Long-term investments for Power and Cozens aren’t looking wise IMO.
    And, Mittelstadt looks like he’s been playing on that 2nd line in Colorado for years. Casey looks great, and he was having his best year in Buffalo before being shipped out. But, I do like Byram. Oh ya, Adams, if you’re reading this, QUIT DRAFTING SMURFS. This team would get embarrassed in the playoffs, had we made it.

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