3 ways Lindy Ruff can improve the Buffalo Sabres

New head coach Lindy Ruff has his work cut out for him this coming season.
Buffalo Sabres v Carolina Hurricanes
Buffalo Sabres v Carolina Hurricanes / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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Buffalo ranked an NHL-12th in overall defense in 2023-24. While it’s not in the bottom half of the standings, it isn’t as good as it should be. Most of the teams ahead of the Sabres in this category, including Carolina, Boston, Vancouver, the N.Y. Rangers, Seattle, Dallas and Vegas, all made the playoffs, and many even enjoyed deep postseason runs.

The blue and gold have shored up their D, but too often, fans watch the Sabres let in easy goals because of sloppy puck control, bad turnovers and a lack of tight defensive effort. Solid defense wins games. Ruff needs to fix a glaring problem that makes supporters nervous whenever Buffalo has a lead, doubtful the Sabres can hang on to it.


Quite often, the Buffalo Sabres are a tale of two teams, putting out a fantastic overall performance in one matchup, then stepping off the gas and losing the next. This past season, Buffalo only had five two-game winning streaks and just two, three-game streaks. One of the reasons the blue and gold fail to win games is because of a lack of consistent effort and consequently, have fallen short on reaching the playoffs year after year.

Winning hockey franchises put out their best effort during the whole 60 minutes, game after game. The Sabres have shown a glaring absence of discipline and a hot and cold approach to playing that hasn’t served them well.

Poor practices under former coach Don Granto undoubtedly contributed to that lackluster discipline level. When the Sabres traded center Casey Mittelstadt to the Colorado Avalanche, he said it was the most he sweated in a morning skate in a long time.

Lindy Ruff has a reputation for being a much more disciplined coach than Granato was. Hopefully, he can train his players to be far more focused and consistent going forward.