Tim Murray could be leaving Senators

The Ottawa Senators management team of Tim Murray and Pierre Dorion received plenty of praise at the world junior tournament in Sweden for the team’s decision to draft gritty power forward Curtis Lazar with its first-round selection last summer.

Tim Murray could be leaving Senators
Tim Murray. (Jean Levac/OTTAWA CITIZEN)

The Ottawa Senators management team of Tim Murray and Pierre Dorion received plenty of praise at the world junior tournament in Sweden for the team’s decision to draft gritty power forward Curtis Lazar with its first-round selection last summer.

Murray, however, may not be around to watch Lazar play for the Senators.

There was considerable speculation Monday that Murray, currently the Senators’ assistant general manager, is the leading candidate to become the new general manager of the Buffalo Sabres and that an announcement could be imminent.

Sportsnet analyst Doug MacLean, the former general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, categorically stated that Murray would be hired by Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine.

Murray interviewed for the post in December, as did Boston Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning and Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton.

Senators officials had no comment on the speculation before the team left for Colorado late Monday afternoon.

If Murray is on his way out, he deserves plenty of credit for helping re-stock the Senators organization with talented prospects.

Defenceman Cody Ceci and right winger Mark Stone are the latest recalls from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to make an impact, while Lazar was among the most impressive forwards for the ultimately disappointing Canadian team, which finished fourth at the world juniors.

“Curtis had a great tournament,” said Dorion, who returned home to Ottawa with Murray on Sunday.

“I think he was the only (Canadian) player who played both power play and penalty killing. He started a lot of games. He played all three forward positions when they needed him to.”

Dorion says Lazar, who was selected 17th overall at the 2013 draft in New Jersey, is the type of player all coaches like because of his determination.

“It’s the way he approaches the game, his character, just the way he works on the ice and the way he generates chances through his skill and work ethic. I think we have a very good prospect there.”

Lazar is eligible to return to the tournament next year, but if he can continue to develop, it’s entirely possible he’ll be wearing a Senators uniform next season.

“He’s strong on the puck,” said Dorion. “He goes to the dirty areas, he overpowers goalies with shots and he’s great off the cycle.”

Lazar has scored 21 goals and 16 assists in 27 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League this season.

Dorion was also impressed with the play of Quentin Shore, a centre drafted in the seventh round last summer (168th overall), who served as a role player for the Americans at the tournament. Goaltender Marcus Hogberg, selected by the Senators in the third round (78th overall), served as a backup for the silver medal-winning Swedes and played only one game.

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