Trade deadline is fast approaching. Despite being just under a month to go until rosters are frozen for the final push for the playoffs.
Where will the Buffalo Sabres be on that day? With their season fast dwindling down and with the most games played (tied with the Philadelphia Flyers) in the Eastern Conference – the Sabres find themselves only four points out of the playoff picture, despite a miserable start to the season and not even to double digits in the win column.
Past years have proven that the Buffalo Sabres are a second half of the season team, but can they kindle that sort of magic in just 24 games? Last year the heroic run came up just short – how will the team respond this year?
If the deadline nears, and they are within four points still – Buffalo will make a move(s) at the deadline to try and get better. Even if they make the playoffs – the move better be one hell of a splash to make an impact to turn this team into a playoff contender. The playoffs are the second season for a reason – the games just get tougher to play in.
The only problem is – the only splash the team may make will come this weekend as the Buffalo Sabres will welcome back forward Ville Leino back to the lineup. The winger is targeting Sunday against his former team the Philadelphia Flyers as his triumphant return back to an NHL lineup.
Leino needs to fit in with the lineup pretty quick and develop chemistry on a line with a seamless transition. Leino might be the spark head coach Ron Rolston needs to get offense going on his third line. Leino has been a great disappointment since signing in Hockey Heaven. If Rolston can get him back to where he found success in Philadelphia – his style might open up the ice for Mikhail Grigorenko to use his offensive talents more.
Jordan Leopold is back on the ice and getting closer to returning to the lineup. This is a good thing for the Buffalo team that desperately needs help on the blue line. Either Leopold will return to a form that is usable for the Buffalo Sabres or his play increases to the point where he is valuable in a trade – unlikely given his play to date.
The organization is, from the top down on trial the remaining 24 games of the season. It is make it or break it time for Darcy Regier. While Terry Pegula cannot be fired from the organization; he has to make difficult decisions on the people he surrounds himself with to run his hockey team.
Have we reset the the three year window to win the Stanley Cup? How long will it be before the Buffalo Sabres are on the short list come July 1?
I am afraid that the 2013 NHL season has given the Buffalo Sabres more questions than answers.