Buffalo Sabres: New York’s forgotten hockey team still making moves

Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Sabres have been working hard to add talent and depth this offseason regardless of their lack of New York public interest.

The Buffalo Sabres began their season red-hot last year, including a very impressive winning streak and a bright-looking future. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off the car and the team came crashing back to reality after December.

Sabres’ General Manager Jason Botterill made several moves mid-season to try to the right the ship, but the loses and injuries had already taken a toll on the young Sabres team at that point. Now fast forward to summer 2019, and the Sabres decided that they would continue building by any means possible. GM Botterill went out an found new coach Ralph Krueger who has a unique background and set of skills that will hopefully aid the young squad in progressing forward. Then over the next couple of months during the offseason, Botterill went about his business with a distinct purpose.

Reigning leading goal-scorer Jeff Skinner to a substantial but not detrimental to the long-term cap deal, drafting another good young player in Dylan Cozens (currently having his thumb repaired from summer injury). Along with several other young and depth players that they will stash with the Americans in Rochester. Botterill’s then continued his turnover by acquiring Colin Miller, another defenseman from the Vegas Knights. Then in a separate trade, he sent Alexander Nylander to Chicago for another right-handed defenseman in Henri Jokiharju

The Jokiharju trade came after the signing Marcus Johansson, who stated that the new coaches’ vision and philosophy attracted him to the queen city. This points to a positive trend if the Sabres can begin to get players to want to join their process. With a steady influx of young talent and solid veterans, the next thing that all Sabres fans are waiting for is the trade of Rasmus Ristolainen. Rumor is that the deal will be with a team willing to give up a solid forward for the young defender, not just a draft pick.

Two things are apparent during this style of offseason, first of all with Coach Krueger preparing to change things up and modify his scheme to fit the modern NHL Botterill’s took the initiative and went out in search of talent. Secondly, the Buffalo Sabres are not looking to add another lottery pick next year, and they feel they have a chance to compete throughout the entire season. Just like the New York Rangers that have expedited their rebuild with their offseason signings; the Sabres seem to have a direction to go and will ride this young corps back into meaningful games come springtime 2020.

With the constant improvement in Captain Jack Eichel, and the development of last year’s first-round pick Rasmus Dahlin. The Sabres will have the chance to show the rest of the NHL why they refused to sit quietly during this offseason. However, I hope for Botterill’s sake that the Sabres make this push or he very well could be the next person being sent out the door of Key Bank Center. For now, however, it will be exciting to see if the Sabres make any more moves this summer or if they stand firm with what they currently have.

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No matter how you look at it the Sabres have made some excellent additions, and if the new coaching staff can get them to buy into the new system and scheme, they could be a hazardous team going forward.