BUFFALO, N.Y. — Though his rebuilding job is far from complete, Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams signed a contract extension on Wednesday, an indication that ownership believes he has the franchise pointed in the right direction.
Terms of the extension were not revealed. Adams, who's in his third season as GM, signed the deal as players reported for the start of training camp.
The team that has undergone a significant transformation since Adams — a former NHL player with no hockey management experience — was promoted from a job on the team’s business side following the abrupt firing of Jason Botterill in June 2020.
In that time, the Sabres have changed coaches, going from Ralph Krueger to Don Granato, and purged much of the core of their team, highlighted by the trade that sent captain Jack Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights in November.
Adams' plan was to rebuild the Sabres through youth and around players who valued being in Buffalo. What remains unfinished is the Sabres contending for a playoff spot to end an 11-year postseason drought which now ranks as the longest in NHL history.
“Kevyn’s leadership and vision over the past two seasons has proven invaluable, and I’m confident in his ability to continue move us forward as an organization,” owner Terry Pegula said in statement. “I, along with fans and community, am happy to see Kevyn continue to build a winning culture both on and off the ice.”
The Sabres showed signs of promise last season, closing 12-6-3 to finish with a 32-39-11 record. Buffalo finished fifth in the Atlantic Division, matching the team’s best since it was third in 2011-12.
More important, the Sabres were led by their youngsters, including center Tage Thompson, who scored a career-best 38 goals. Thompson blossomed under Granato after struggling during Krueger's tenure.
Adams’ influence was also apparent from the impact of forwards Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs, who were acquired in the trade for Eichel. Through other moves, Adams has restocked the Sabres' farm system with a series of first-round draft selections, and freed up space under the salary cap by ridding the team of overpriced and underperforming players.
The 47-year-old Adams is from the Buffalo area and enjoyed a 10-year NHL playing career. He won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes.
After briefly serving as an agent, Adams joined the Sabres in 2009 in a player-development role and eventually served as an assistant coach. He also helped establish the Sabres-backed Academy of Hockey program, and was the team’s vice president of business operations when he took over as general manager.