Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning was one of the two finalists for the GM position with the Sabres, but apparently won't get the top hockey ops job in Buffalo. Ottawa Senators assistant GM Tim Murray will be named the new GM of the Sabres this morning under new team president Pat Lafontaine, according to reports out of Buffalo.
Benning, known for his keen eye in recognizing young hockey talent, was still in the running at the end of last week before a window closed for the Sabres organization to talk to the B’s assistant GM. Benning had told CSNNE.com last month that he was certainly intrigued at the prospect of running his own team, but was also "more than happy to be doing what I'm doing with the Bruins in Boston.”
Benning spent 12 years in the Sabres organization as their director of amateur scouting before joining the Bruins in 2006, and is viewed league-wide, along with fellow B’s assistant general manager Don Sweeney, as future GM material in the NHL. Benning also had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Calgary Flames GM job, as Brian Burke conducts a search for that position, but doesn’t appear to be a candidate for that job.
Murray, the nephew of Ottawa GM Bryan Murray, began his career in Detroit as a scout with the Red Wings in 1993. He worked his way up to director of amateur scouting for the Florida Panthers before being hired as director of player personnel for Anaheim in 2002. He worked with the Ducks for three years, moved on to the Rangers for two years in the Player Personnel Department, then was hired as assistant general manager of the Senators, and GM of their AHL affiliate.
In essence, Murray was hired as the replacement for Peter Chiarelli when Chiarelli left to run the Bruins eight years ago.