The Buffalo Sabres fired general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma after the team missed the playoffs for a sixth straight year, the team announced Thursday.

Last week, Murray had backed Bylsma returning for a third season as Sabres coach. Murray, however, noted that the ultimate decision on Bylsma and his own future rested with owner Terry Pegula.

Murray’s rebuilding plan took a step back this season. With a 33-37-12 record, the Sabres finished last in the Atlantic Division, with two fewer wins than the previous year.

“After reviewing the past season and looking at the future of our organization, Kim [Pegula] and I have decided to relieve General Manager Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma of their duties,” Terry Pegula said in a statement. “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.”

The Sabres had announced a contract extension for Murray before the season opener in October.

There had been rumblings that star Jack Eichel may not want to sign long term with Buffalo because of the losing.

On Wednesday, he denied trying to force out Bylsma.

Eichel, 20, is Buffalo’s franchise player after being selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, one spot behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

Eichel has one year left on his entry-level contract. Under NHL rules, the two sides can begin negotiating an extension starting on July 1.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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