The Buffalo Sabres needed a facelift at the 2010 NHL Draft. Once a high-flying scoring machine, the Sabres never adequately addressed the departures of co-captains Chris Drury and Danny Briere in 2007. With a potential franchise defenseman in Tyler Myers and the emergence of Ryan Miller as an elite goaltender, the Sabres nevertheless decided that they needed to re-tool from the back end out. It was a strange move, given that the team’s 207 goals allowed in 2009-10 season were the fewest in seven years—a big reason why they managed to capture a division title after failing to make the playoffs in the two previous seasons. Read more»
Despite the return of their top scorers, an influx of new talent, and the continuing development of their top players, the Rochester Americans are having a disappointing season. After making the AHL playoffs in three consecutive years, the Amerks sit last in the North Division and 14th in the Western Conference. The team has just two wins in their past 10 games.
Once the Buffalo Sabres are done collecting their puzzle pieces, it will be a matter of figuring out how they will all fit together. The Sabres have the cornerstones in place with Sam Reinhart at center and Rasmus Ristolainen on defense, but the short-term focus is to make sure that every prospect in the organization takes a step forward.
The Rochester Americans, the AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, made their return to the Spengler Cup this winter after placing third in 1996. However, the Amerks were outmatched in the prestigious tournament this time around, allowing 15 goals and losing all three of their games. Participating in the tournament meant taking a 12-day break from AHL play, but three extra games' worth of experience can be beneficial to a young team.
Currently amid a full-scale rebuild, the Buffalo Sabres have 43 prospects in their system, including seven first-round picks, giving them both quantity and quality at every position. The Sabres also have many prospects already contributing at the NHL level, including forwards Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Johan Larsson.