Welcome to our month-long series of team by team season recaps. We will start from the bottom and work our way up the standings…so without further delay,
The Buffalo Sabres finished dead last in the league with a record of 21-51-10, for 52 points. They finished 8th in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference, missing the playoffs by 41 points.
People knew it was going to be a down year as the Sabres were entering a rebuild stage after dealing some veterans at the previous trade deadline. They were on a youth movement and a playoff spot would have been a miracle.
- The Sabres got a good look at a number of prospects in game action like Rasmus Ristolainen, Zemgus Girgensons, and Johan Larsson
- The Buffalo Sabres managed to rid themselves of high priced veterans who were not in the rebuild plans (Steve Ott, Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Ryan Miller) to bring in much needed prospects and draft picks
- Brought in a new, young GM (Tim Murray) and brought back a very popular coach behind the bench from exile (Ted Nolan) to run the club in the foreseeable future
- I’m not sure they expected to fall so deep this season. This was their lowest point total in a non-lockout season since 1972-73
- Not winning the draft lottery to have their pick of the 2014 draft crop. The Sabres will have the #2 pick
- Traded away 2 captains this season, following the deal of one captain last season
PROGNOSIS FOR NEXT SEASON
The Sabres will still be a very young team that will be on the outside looking in when playoff time comes around. They could even be near the basement again, and will be in the Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel sweepstakes. Being able to draft either one of the highly touted prospects would speed the rebuild.
5 QUESTIONS WITH SABRENOISE
We asked the editor of Sabrenoise.com, Tim Redinger a few questions about the Sabres season. Here are his responses:
1) What was the biggest surprise for your team?
Biggest surprise for the Buffalo Sabres was the emergence of Drew Stafford late in the season. While his production normally picks up the second half of the season, many of his detractors are eagerly anticipating what will happen with Drew next season. Emerging from the shadows of other leaders, it is almost as if Drew Stafford wants to remain in Buffalo and wants to be “the guy” something that he potentially was overpassed for based on more talented guys on the roster. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stafford comes out next season wearing the “c” only to get traded away before the deadline unless the team resigns him long term.