Sabres Changes on the Horizon

sabres_pegula

First of all, I would like to congratulate the LA Kings on their Stanley Cup victory. Watching it made me wonder how long the Buffalo Sabres will have to wait until they get to lift that cup and raise the banner. The rebuild will happen in 2 stages, the next 2 drafts and free agency.

In less than 2 weeks the Sabres will be drafting at number 2 overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. Nobody doubts that the player taken at number 2 will be a franchise changer. The last 5 years number 2 picks were Aleksander Barkov, Ryan Murray, Gabriel Landeskog, Tyler Seguin, and Victor Hedman. A player of that quality can certainly help turn around the Sabres. However, for all you Sabres fans that are excited to see a player of this quality playing this year, don’t get your hopes up. GM Tim Murray has stated a number of times that this will be a rebuild that will take 2 drafts. This means that the Sabres are planning on another difficult season. If this is the case, then why would he use up the first year of a franchise players contract? He wouldn’t. The Sabres are going to draft a franchise player, let him play one more year in the juniors, and hope to land a second player like Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. While this draft is going to be something that Sabres fans will be able to look back on and think “That is when it all started” it won’t be visible this year.

Who do you want the Sabres to draft? Take the Poll:

Sabres Draft Poll

Another side of the rebuild is the free agent market. A lot of big names will still be available come July 1st, however if the Sabres are all for rebuilding, will they make any moves? Many people have stated that with the cap room that the Sabres have they could land any combination, or even all of the following: Ryan Callahan, Steve Ott, Paul Stastny, Brooks Orpik, and Matt Moulson. That doesn’t seem like something a team dedicated to a two year rebuild would do. I feel the Sabres will attempt to lure their former captain Steve Ott and former player Matt Moulson¬†back. Also, I think hometown boy Ryan Callahan could be a possibility as it seems he wants to come to Buffalo. Even though the Sabres would benefit from all of these players, I don’t think Murray will be offering anything over a 4 year deal to any of these players. The entry level contract is 3 years, and the Sabres will be signing whoever they draft in the first round this year, and probably all 3 of their first round picks next year. They will need the salary cap room when those players entry contracts expire 4 years from now. I think the reality is the Sabres will be after more players that can help fill in the 3rd and 4th line, rather than bringing in the big name players.

 

In unrelated news, the Buyout period will begin shortly after midnight on Monday morning. To Sabres fans this means they can be saying goodbye to Ville Leino, or will they? There are a number of teams who have players that they want to buyout, due to performance or cap reasons, but the team does not have the funds to do so. The Sabres still have both of their compliance buyouts, and sources say they will attempt to “buy” first round picks with them. What this means is the Sabres would acquire a player and a first round pick in exchange for something much smaller like a 4th round pick or later. The Sabres then use their compliance buyout to buyout the player and end up where they started off, but with an additional first round pick. If the Sabres find 2 teams willing to do this would you feel comfortable with them keeping Leino if it means getting 2 additional first round picks?

What should the Sabres do with their buyouts? Vote here: Buyouts Poll

bmkoch14

Diehard Sabres fan. Striving to bring you the latest Sabres and Amerks news. Have questions or requests for certain information in my articles? Let me know at bmkoch14@gmail.com

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