Kevyn Adams has done an incredible job in setting the Buffalo Sabres up for playoff contention in 2023-24, but he must not get greedy.
Yesterday, I spoke extensively on two important topics involving Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams. One, I stressed that he must not engage in a reckless response to Steve Yzerman’s latest glamor trade, and two, I praised his wise words regarding free agency.
While the Sabres have yet to earn a playoff berth under Adams he and head coach Don Granato helped this team turn the corner. Using his approach, Adams has effectively put a stop to major roster turnover that we became accustomed to under previous regimes running the Blue and Gold.
He didn’t need to pull off blockbuster trades or overpay for established veterans to come in and risk underperforming and not building with current talent. Instead, he kept the players he had, got rid of those who wanted to go elsewhere, acquired more young talent that has since become mainstays, and built arguably the league’s best prospects pool.
That said, I’m shocked when I see support for him to deviate from that plan. Listen, if something isn’t broken, why are we trying to fix it? It would be one thing if the Sabres stagnated this past season, but the team finished with 91 points, 16 points ahead of the 75 they finished with in 2021-22.
Buffalo Sabres general manager, front office, must stay the course
This is one reason why I thought it would be reckless to bring in a rental like Connor Hellebuyck or an underachiever like John Gibson. It’s also why I fully endorsed rolling with an over 30 defenseman that we now know is Erik Johnson instead of pulling off the blockbuster trade or bringing in a huge name – though I admittedly wouldn’t have minded Brett Pesce.
At this point, there is no subjectivity to Adams’ method of transforming the Buffalo Sabres from what was arguably the NHL’s most dysfunctional franchise throughout the 2010s and into the 2020s. Adams, head coach Don Granato, and their respective staffs worked together to build the Sabres into one of the NHL’s more exciting teams to watch, and they did this in a year when the Blue and Gold were the league’s youngest team.
If that young hockey team came within arm’s length of a playoff berth, then why overspend for players who may or may not fit the system well in hindsight? Why would you rent a goaltender, even a former Vezina winner, at the expense of high-end prospects who could fit the team later?
Again, if we didn’t see positive returns last season, then I’d agree-try something else, anything else, to improve this team. But Buffalo was the third-highest scoring group in hockey last season that allowed 300 goals because their defense (and the forwards) often gave their goaltenders little to no help on more than several occasions.
Last week, I said fans of the Buffalo Sabres needed to trust their general manager following his remarks about the goaltending situation. The time has also come to endorse this plan unless it hits a bump in the road. And if it doesn’t, then Kevyn Adams and Company can make the appropriate moves next year. But for 2023-24, the plan has worked well enough that it would be ill-timed to deviate from it.
Source: Sabres Cannot Be Content To Just Contend For Playoffs by Michael Augello, BuffaloHockeyNow.com