The Buffalo Sabres were one of the biggest stories of the 2014-15 season for all of the wrong reasons. They were the center of the tanking controversy revolving around two generational talents in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. After settling for Eichel, the Sabres look ready to start competing again once the 2015-16 season gets underway.
Many look at last year’s roster as an embarrassment since there were few players that were NHL players. As a result, the Sabres took notice and revamped their roster to make a playoff run this upcoming year. Along with current stars Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons, they added Evander Kane in one of the biggest trades of the trade deadline. Kane is a top-line forward in the NHL and will help smooth the transition of the Sabres’ young stars.
They were also able to steal Ryan O’Reilly away from the Colorado Avalanche for prospects. I don’t understand how a player like O’Reilly is acquired for a package of questionable prospects and a second-round pick. Nonetheless, the Sabres added two young superstars to go along with their prospects for this upcoming season.
Speaking of their prospects, there is a good chance that 2015-16 will mark the rookie seasons for second overall picks Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Since there is a possibility of these two having a similar impact as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the Sabres are making the right decisions to ensure that they compete while these players are still on their entry-level contracts. Having the ability to use these two players down the middle will give this team ridiculous depth at center for years to come.
One move I don’t understand was the acquisition of Robin Lehner. All contending teams in the NHL need a potential starting goalie like Lehner but to give up a first-round pick for him isn’t optimal. Especially when the Sabres had a starting goalie in Michal Neuvirth and traded him away in their tanking efforts.
Besides that, Sabres fans should be excited for the future of this team as they are avoiding the mistake that the Edmonton Oilers make often. They are taking advantage of their entry-level contracts by acquiring star players to complement them while they can.