Now that we’re past the All-Star break, things will start to heat up in Buffalo. The Sabres have a busy month ahead and things will start to get interesting in hockey heaven. Over the next month, decisions will be made on pending free agents and new faces may enter the fold. Games will become more important, as the Sabres look to get to the finish line with their season long goal.
Staying in the Drivers Seat
After putting some fans in full panic mode, the Sabres are back at the bottom of the NHL standings. They currently sit in the drivers seat in the race to finish last overall. It’s been no mystery that this has been the goal of this season. One more year
of “suffering” for the ultimate prize of McDavid or Eichel.
Only 35 games remain in the 2014-15 season for the Sabres. They’ve come this far and now need to get it to the garage. Games
will start to become bigger in not only Buffalo, but around the league. The way I like to look at it is a reverse playoff race. In a season that certainly never had a true chance at the playoffs, this is the way I made the season interesting for myself. As the deadline approaches teams will start to try to position themselves into the race to the bottom. Arizona is an example of a team that has entered their name into the race. Coyotes GM Don Maloney told fans in Arizona that the long term plan in the desert “may result in some long nights ahead.” A similar phrase was dropped in Buffalo, by former GM and now Coyotes Assistant GM Darcy Regier, with his “suffering” plan. Other teams like Columbus with the loss of star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the next month, will likely enter the race, along with the usual clubs Edmonton and Carolina.
The Sabres come out of the All-Star break this week with a Western Canada trip with visits to Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. If things go the Sabres way, they could start to create some distance from the pack.
The 2015 NHL trade deadline is only five weeks away and the Sabres almost certainly will be active. They have decisions to make on numerous UFA’s such as Stewart, Stafford, Mitchell, Neuvirth, and Enroth. Buffalo GM Tim Murray will look to stock the cupboard some more with picks and prospects. After this season the approach for the Sabres will take a quick 180 and the playoffs will be the goal.
Along with pending UFA’s the Sabres may look to dangle players like Tyler Myers and Cody Hodgson to other teams around the league to make an old fashioned “hockey trade”. Don’t be surprised if Murray looks to add at least one NHL player to his club with the idea of that player being part of the future.
Rumors are always fun to talk about and ponder as real ideas. Last year a few big names were moved and the same may be true this year. Sure the Sabres don’t have a Miller, Ott, or Moulson to trade, but still some exciting returns are likely for Sabres fans to enjoy.
Things will start to move quickly over the next month on and off the ice. Buckle up your seat belts, this is the fun part of the season that has mostly brought headaches.