Prospects of today take over tomorrow
The rest will go elsewhere once their respective contracts are up unless they’re willing to stick around on smaller deals. But this is where the prospects pool comes in. For example, suppose Peyton Krebs and Casey Mittelstadt end up leaving, then youngsters like Tyson Kozak and Jiri Kulich could take their respective places – Kozak for Krebs and Kulich for Mittelstadt.
Someone like Matt Savoie or Zach Benson could be ready to take over for Victor Olofsson when he’s gone. That leaves Kyle Okposo, Tyson Jost, and Zemgus Girgensons, and someone like Lukas Rousek could get the gig, leaving just a pair of voids, which the Buffalo Sabres can address with bargain deals in free agency while the other prospects develop.
Why is this feasible? Because recalling players from the AHL to the NHL, when they are fully developed thanks to the contract lengths of the core and those outside the core. As that trend continues, and so far there is every indication that it’s the case, we will see long-term, sustained success.