In three years from now, the Buffalo Sabres will be a completely different team, but that could be said about any team. The Sabres have a big couple of years ahead of them that will prove whether or not they will be a contender come playoff time.
The management will likely change soon, which may not be a bad thing. Lindy Ruff had and will face criticism regardless of what happens. Some fans complain that he can't get them far in the playoffs, while others are content that the team even got into the postseason.
If you take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, you will see how good of management they have. In a few years, the entire Northeast Division may fear the Leafs. General Manager Brian Burke knows what he is doing with every move he makes.
After winning the Stanley Cup with Anaheim, Burke headed to Toronto and has basically started from scratch. His first move was acquiring J.S. Giguere who is signed through this upcoming season for six million.
Burke then took a private jet to go and see Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson, who is currently a restricted free agent. Seeing that Dion Phaneuf wasn't happy in Calgary, Burke signed him too. Phaneuf's physical play and strong defense earned him a 32.5 million dollar contract through 2014.
Now, there are plenty of free agents about to hit the market on July 1st, and Burke is probably ready to make a few offers. This is the difference between the Maple Leafs and the Sabres. After watching Burke lead Anaheim to a Cup, and now piecing together Toronto, it's scary to think where Toronto will be in the standings in a few years.
Sabres fans know what Darcy Regier has done in the past. While he has made some solid moves, it's all been downhill since the Sabres won the President's Trophy in the 2006-2007 season. Buffalo has some holes to fill in the roster and will have a huge opportunity this Summer.
There have already been rumors that the Sabres have interest in Tomas Kaberle. He would be an instant 40-50 point defenseman and would improve the defensive core even more. Buffalo allowed 207 goals last season, good for 4th best in the league. Imagine what the team could do with Kaberle and Myers as the first defensive pairing.
Kaberle shouldn't be the main priority for Buffalo, but he would be a nice addition. The Sabres need to prove to their fans, and the rest of the NHL, that they are not going to sit back. Although Buffalo won the division last season, they need to show that they can repeat that success.
Many players will be leaving, traded, and retiring over the next couple of years, so somewhere Regier is going to have to acquire some players. One or two solid additions would have the team set to go for a couple years.
This Summer, the differences between Burke and Regier will be highlighted once again. Even though I can't stand the Leafs, I'm excited to see how well they will do with Burke as the GM. Hopefully, the Sabres will be able to keep everything together and improve in order to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Kevin "Kaberle Sweepstakes " Freiheit