The Sabres Offseason Moves in Review, and Looking Towards the Future


Andrew Forsyth, Staff Writer

The Buffalo Sabres for years have disappointed the fans and city of Buffalo. This year especially was not great. The second year of Jeff Skinner’s hefty 9 million dollar deal and the second year in a row where he just failed to live up to the price of that contract since he scored 40 goals for the Buffalo Sabres just two seasons ago.
Another dark spot on the season among many was the performance of offseason acquisition Taylor Hall. Former MVP Taylor Hall was thought to be the piece needed to revive Skinner and hopefully get the Sabres to the playoffs for the first time since the 2011 season a decade ago.
The biggest most important issue is the ongoing Jack Eichel saga. Eichel, the Sabres centerpiece and captain of the team, wants out. Eichel has produced points for the team but it is not enough for playoffs and he is sick of being here. Trade rumors are swirling all around, will he go to New York, Anaheim, Calgary? Right now he is still in Buffalo. Although as training camp and the preseason nears Eichel is still a Sabre.
Eichel is in Buffalo for camp but the question remains on if he will suit up or if he has already played his last game in the beautiful royal blue jerseys.
Off the ice the ownership of the Pegulas who also own the Buffalo Bills has been fairly negligent towards the team. From pay cuts out of the blue to layoffs. The clear notion is they do not care for the team and are more focused on the successful “sister team” of the bills.

The Good

It is not all doom and gloom for the Buffalo Sabres as they have some promising young talent in the system.
Players such as Dylan Cozens, Casey Mittelstadt, Victor Olofsson, Arttu Ruotsalainen, and former first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin. Those are just players we’ve seen in action not to mention recent first overall pick Owen Power or even Isak Rosen. Along with players acquired through trades such as Anders Bjork who has been better than many expected him to be on this team. Even Devon Levi acquired in trade of fan favorite Sam Reinhart looks to be a possible answer in goal for the Sabres along with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
The Sabres also made some very good trades this offseason when getting rid of previous members of the core of the past few years. The Sabres pulled off what many considered robbery in the Rasmus Ristolainen deal to the Philadelphia Flyers

The Sabres Trade
Rasmus Ristolainen

The Sabres Receive
Robert Hagg (Defenseman)
1st Round Pick (Isak Rosen)
2023 Second Round Pick

Now to be completely honest this was a wild overpay by Philadelphia. Ristolainen is well past his prime and was a large defensive liability for Buffalo. Hagg is a cheaper and more responsible defenseman which is what Buffalo needs right now.
Onto the Sam Reinhart trade. A good deal for sure….but the Sabres could’ve gotten more in my opinion
That is not to say they didn’t get good value for Reinhart but they definitely could’ve maybe gotten an extra pick as Reinhart can play both center and wing which is a big commodity in the NHL. Here’s the trade.

The Sabres Trade
Sam Reinhart

The Sabres Receive
Devon Levi (Goalie)
2022 First Round Pick

As mentioned above the trade is not terrible but the Sabres already have what many considered as a top goalie prospect in Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen. Although Levi is i good prospect to have as well as he has shown to be very promising and is only 19 whereas Ukko-Pekka Lukkonnen is 22. Especially with the loss of starting goalie Linus Ullmark there is a big need for some goalies in buffalo
The Sabres made it clear this offseason that they want a fresh start with a brand new core. The moves they made back up that statement. Whether or not this is going to become the start of a new dynasty or contender or another failed rebuild remains to be seen. Although Sabres fans have something to look forward to with the moves that have been made. It is going to be an interesting season to say the least. Let’s go, Sabres!