It’s been awhile since I’ve written. Part of the struggle right now, for just about all Sabres fans, is things don’t look too good for the Sabres at this point in time. It’s not a good position that they are setting themselves in for the upcoming season.
Buffalo is in the same position they find themselves in just about every year- stuck in the painful middle position.
The Sabres (no matter what some may write on here) are definitely not a playoff team. I have trouble seeing it this upcoming year. I think in the years to come, maybe, but I’m concerned about their ability to develop players. On paper, and that needs to be emphasized, ON PAPER, the Sabres have a bright future. We all know that doesn’t equate to success on the ice at the NHL level.
The Sabres aren’t one of those teams that goes into the NHL season for 2013-2014 that’s contending for the Cup. Not happening ladies and gentleman so get that delusion out of your head. Nor are the Sabres one of those teams whose been trying to get back on their feet, have succeeded, and have potential to actually make it to the playoffs. If Buffalo makes the playoffs, they should be counting their lucky stars that they made it.
However, Buffalo isn’t a team that is trying to fully jump into a rebuild either. They aren’t looking like they are going to be the type of team that will be cellar dwellers this season. Buffalo, at this time, isn’t going to be able to be one of the teams that can draft a game-changer with their first round pick next year (Not going to have a top 5 pick). Again, the Sabres just aren’t there. There’s a lot of hype surrounding Ristolainen. He could definitely help the defense (that has too many defensemen), but I don’t necessarily see him as one of those game changing players.
Buffalo continually finds themselves in the same position for the past 3 years. They either just squeak into the playoffs, or they just miss the playoffs. Draft pick wise, they’re generally somewhere from 8-15 overall. Yes, someone can get a good draft pick at that spot. However, this puts the Sabres in another difficult position.
A lot of people see the Sabres tanking this year. I’m not quite there yet (I know, I can’t believe I’m saying this either). Why don’t I? Simple, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller (as of right now) are still Buffalo Sabres. These are 2 great players, there’s no doubting that. Both Vanek and Miller are good for bailing the Sabres out several times during the season and helping them get a few wins that they wouldn’t normally get. I know the trade winds are blowing with these 2, but I’ve been hearing rumors all summer long about how they are on their way out of Buffalo. Look at how many of those are true. Personally, come October 2 in Detroit, #30 and #26 will still be wearing blue and gold.
This puts Buffalo into a holding pattern of sorts. They have some pieces in place that need experience, they have 2 stars on their team that can definitely help them this year, and they still seem to be not fully committed to a serious rebuild. I feel that if Miller and Vanek are traded, pending what comes back, Buffalo has a chance to start a serious rebuild, and start from scratch under Rolston. At this point in time, I feel Buffalo will finish about 10-12 place in the Eastern Conference, not good enough for the playoffs, not bad enough for a game changer draft pick.
We all know why this happens in Buffalo, I just won’t say it. Buffalo has the ability to potentially do a full out rebuild at this point. Where some teams don’t have this chance, Buffalo does if they move Vanek and/or Miller. They just aren’t doing it.
Once again, there are several holes in the Sabres lineup, with a few bright spots. Unfortunately, it seems that the off season approach is the equivalent to putting a band aid on several bullet wounds. This is the same approach used the past few seasons with Buffalo.
Doesn’t work too well, does it?
Now as we approach the season, I’ll be writing a lot more. Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB I live chat during games and whenever something big happens with the team.
As always, thanks for reading!