Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Buffalo Sabres.
The Sabres entered 2013-14 with low expectations, but even with that in mind it was a disappointing campaign. They got off to a 0-6-1 start, never did better than a three-game winning streak, and finished the season with 52 points, which was 14 less than the next worst team.
Buffalo’s offense was a disaster. Only four players recorded at least 10 goals with the Sabres and Cody Hodgson led the team with 44 points. Collectively, they averaged just 1.83 goals per game, which is worse than any team has done since the dawn of the 21st century.
And yet, it’s not all doom-and-gloom in Buffalo. The Sabres made some moves that should help them down the road, starting with the trade of Thomas Vanek to the Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson, a 2015 first-round pick, and a second round selection. They later dealt Moulson and Cody McCormick to Minnesota in exchange for Torrey Mitchell and a pair of second rounders.
Buffalo also sent goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to St. Louis and got, among other things, Chris Stewart, another 2015 first rounder, and goaltender Jaroslav Halak (who they later flipped to Washington in a deal that brought goalie Michal Neuvirth to Buffalo).
Losing the likes of Vanek, Miller, and Ott had to hurt, but they might have walked away as free agents anyways and Buffalo now has three 2015 first round picks to work with.
Over the summer, Buffalo brought back Moulson on a five-year, $25 million contract and also added veterans Brian Gionta, Cody McCormick, and Andrej Meszaros. The hope is that they’ll help guide the Sabres’ young core.
On paper, the Sabres look like a team in for another long season, but at least there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Buffalo’s future.