The Buffalo Sabres are one of the NHL’s teams on the fast track to end a long playoff drought in 2023-24, but they have potential to do more.
The Buffalo Sabres are in a prime position: Not only can they break their 12-year, or when April rolls around, basically a 13-year, playoff drought, but they can also set themselves up to rule the Atlantic Division.
Throughout this series, we talked about how their current prospect pool is better than everyone else’s in the division, and light years ahead of Toronto’s, Boston’s, and Tampa’s, something we discussed in Part I. We dived deeper into the Sabres prospect pool in Part II, and talked about how some may ultimately replace star players five to seven years (or longer) from today, while in the short-term, replacing players serving supporting or stopgap roles.
At this point, it’s easy to see Boston and Tampa backsliding as the decade progresses, as each must find a way to add fresh talent to their prospects pool while their respective lineups get older. Toronto is a team that can go either way, and the same goes for the Florida Panthers.
Why the Buffalo Sabres will rule the Atlantic, and not another “rebuilder”
So why do the Sabres also hold an edge over the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, and Montreal Canadiens? Montreal for the moment, as they seem to be doing something similar at the moment to what general manager Kevyn Adams has done in Buffalo, but more on that later.
So far, the Yzerplan hasn’t performed as expected in the Motor City, and if I had to describe Ottawa’s plan, random draw is the only phrase I can come up with. I mean, this is a team that pulled off a blockbuster trade last year for Alex DeBrincat, only to trade him away when the winger made it clear he no longer wanted to be a Senator.