It’s Buffalo Sabres day on PHT

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Welcome to our offseason initiative — 30 teams in 30 days.

From July 16 until Aug. 14, we’ll be dedicating each day to a new team by recapping the offseason and looking ahead to 2012-13.

There will also be a series of posts looking at key stories, player profiles and burning questions regarding each squad.

Thursday’s team is the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres entered last season as a chic pick to win the Northeast Division despite the Boston Bruins’ championship. Instead, they flopped and didn’t even make the playoffs.

That team already looks pretty different than last year’s version. Overall they’re tougher and younger yet considerably less sexy.

GM Darcy Regier traded top center Derek Roy for super pest Steve Ott, who will join forces with Patrick Kaleta to annoy opponents.

Adding John Scott to the mix should mean that teams will be less likely to run Ryan Miller – at least when Scott isn’t a healthy scratch.

The Sabres drafted two intriguing first-round centers (Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons) to bolster a youth movement including current NHLers Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis.

For the most part, the Sabres must improve from within, then. Today’s slate of stories will examine how likely that might be.