Building the 2014-2015 Buffalo Sabres


Over the past several years, there have been a lot of changes in the Buffalo Sabres organization, both on and off the ice. From the firing of Lindy Ruff in February 2013, to the firings of both Ron Rolston and Darcy Regier in November 2013; the hiring and subsequent resignation of Pat Lafontaine as president of hockey operations; to the hiring of current general manager Tim Murray and head coach Ted Nolan.

The on-ice product has certainly seen its fair share of turnover through the past several years as well — but just how much turnover has there been?

To get a better idea of how much has changed, let’s start by going backwards to February 2012, roughly three years ago. It was then that I made the infographic posted below, highlighting each player on that current Buffalo Sabres roster and how they came to be with the organization.

As you can see, a good portion of that team came via the draft. It was a team specifically built through the drafting of players such as goaltender Ryan Miller, centers Paul Gaustad and Derek Roy, and the development of players like Tyler Ennis, Marc-Andre Gragnani and Luke Adam.

Fifteen of the 23 players on the Buffalo Sabres roster at that point had come from the draft, amounting to 65 percent of the team.

Just three players were picked up from trades, and four came from free agency. Matt Ellis was the lone waiver pick-up on the Buffalo squad at that point in 2012.

Now — time to move forward to February 2015. Here’s a current infographic on how the Buffalo Sabres organization was built:

That’s quite a different look from the team in 2012. Things are much more balanced now, with seven players each coming to the Buffalo Sabres via trade or free agency. Ten came through the draft, and again, Matt Ellis remains the lone waiver pick-up.

Forty percent of the team (10/25) came from the draft, compared to 65 percent of the team in 2012. More than half (56%) of the team came from trades and free agency, compared to 30 percent in 2012.

The 2014-2015 Buffalo Sabres team has been compiled in a very different one when comparing it to the 2012 team. The team has transformed from one composed largely of draft picks developed through the system, to a team composed of free agents and acquisitions via trade.

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  • Look at this as well: 17 of the 23 Buffalo Sabres players in 2012 had been with the organization for four years or longer.

    Today, just 8 of the 25 Buffalo Sabres have been with the organization for four or more years. A large portion of this year’s team came to Buffalo within the last year, with almost all of them coming via trade or  free agency.

    Finally, looking at the actual players on the team.

    All but eight of the players from the 2012 team are gone – and that eight includes forward Cody McCormick, who left the Sabres and then returned.

    Cut off everyone who had been with the team since 2003 or before that – they’re all gone now, including guys like Ryan Miller and Jason Pominville, whom many fans probably thought might be lifetime Buffalo Sabres.

    So it’s safe to say there’s been a lot of changes in the Buffalo Sabres organization over the past few years — not just in who the players are, but also in how they’ve come to the team.

    We’re “building Buffalo” in a very different way. Is it better or worse? What does that say about our draft prospects? How about the fact that more players are willing to sign in Buffalo, which speaks volumes about the city itself and the willingness of players to move here? It’ll also be interesting to see how these numbers change when the trade deadline and free agency come around — we’ll see just how much things change then.