With only two playoff appearances in the past six seasons, it is abundantly clear the Buffalo Sabres need to retool their roster and head in a new direction. Finishing last in the Northeast Division, the team's worst showing since the 2003-04 lockout, general manager Darcy Regier is preparing to usher in the post-Lindy Ruff era of Sabres hockey.
After finishing last in the Northeast Division for the first time since 2004 and missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season, the Buffalo Sabres are hitting the reset button. The first move was saying goodbye to head coach Lindy Ruff after 1,165 games behind the bench, then shipping captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild for two prospects and two picks.
It is an ongoing process for the Buffalo Sabres as they patiently wait for their prospects to develop. Most of their young players are already playing for the Sabres or their AHL affiliate in Rochester, and the ones still in college have improved by leaps and bounds. Below are the winners of the Buffalo Sabres Prospect Awards.
New York Islanders prospect Ryan Strome leads the 11-20 section of the Hockey's Future Spring ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects. Strome was one of the most productive players in the OHL this season, and was Mr. Everything for the Niagara IceDogs, figuring into over 40 percent of their total offense. He was not the only notable player to move up in the prospect rankings, however.
The Buffalo Sabres prospect pool is in a state of transition, with many of their top prospects, such as Mikhail Grigorenko and Marcus Foligno, now contributing to the NHL roster. Many of the Sabres other prospects, such as Andrey Makarov and Daniel Catenacci, are dominating their respective competition levels and appear poised to move on to the professional level next year. In general, the Sabres have good depth at every position, though they are deepest at center and on defense.