First and foremost, my apologies from disappearing from the world for a bit. I With having my original job privatized, then getting a new job immediately afterwards, been a bit busy. However, I’m back for the 2014-2015 with renewed vigor.
We’re now officially a week away from the 2014 NHL draft. There’s one way to look at the past season;
You can’t get much worse than the 2013-2014 Buffalo Sabres NHL season.
However, I for one am cautiously optimistic for the Buffalo Sabres season.
First; Buffalo has the number 2 pick, and it looks like the Florida Panthers are going to take Aaron Ekblad. That gives Buffalo the pick of which Sam they want. Personally, I want Reinhart to come to Buffalo. I think he is the better player next to Bennett, and has been the top offensive forward in this draft. Buffalo doesn’t necessarily need defense, they need a forward who can score. Buffalo averaged 1.83 goals per game (stats from NHL.com) Reinhart has great numbers in the juniors, shows good skills, and is a solid building block.
For this draft, Buffalo needs to focus on getting players that are capable of putting the puck in the back of the net. For once, Buffalo finally has a GM who understands that, and I put faith in that he will make the right choices. I suspect that if Murray succeeds in finally trading up to get another first round pick, Sabres fans will see another forward coming to Buffalo.
Second; I see Buffalo making several trades leading up to/during the draft. Buffalo has a lot of cap space. Plus, they have several pieces that they can move. Tim Murray seems to be willing to discuss anyone and everyone in the Sabres organization. Buffalo has several defensemen and goalies that other teams may be interested in. Thanks to Darcy’s reign of terror, Buffalo has an overabundance of D. Time to move some of them
I would even be fine is Murray decided that it was time to move one of the many goaltenders that Buffalo has in the organization. I was pleasantly surprised with the goaltending of 2 of the young guns Buffalo has in Rochester. I loved what I saw from Nathan Lieuwen and Andrey Makarov in Rochester, and their brief time in Buffalo this past season. I’m fine with Buffalo not reinvesting in Matt Hackett. Buffalo is deep in goal, might be good to move a goalie or two, but lets keep Lieuwen or Makarov.
Tim Murray should be targeting the teams who need defense, and finding the best deal for his team.
Finally; Buffalo has a ton of cap space in free agency this coming season. Even after the team resigns Ennis, Foligno, and hopefully Conacher, they are going to have a ton of cap space to bring in some solid players. There are several solid players in the NHL free agent pool that Buffalo can snag, especially with their cap space. It would be nice is Paul Stastny was available to come to Buffalo. Mason Raymond or Dustin Penner would be welcome additions too. However, I’m hoping for Ryan Callahan, especially if the Sabres pick up Sam Rhinehart in the draft.
A daring prediction, as much as I don’t want to see any Sabres players go to Pittsburgh, but it would be a smart move to be trade partners with them. The Penguins have a huge chunk of salary invested in very few players. They need to free up cap space and try to balance out their team. The Penguins have over 50 million dollars invested in 8 players. That doesn’t work out to winning a Stanley Cup. I suspect that the new GM may be trying to move some cap space. Could be good trade partners.
I look forward to seeing what a new GM does with free agency and the 2014 NHL draft. From my end, I feel the future is finally bright for the Buffalo Sabres and their faithful fans.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB
And thanks for reading!