3 reasons fans can be optimistic about the Sabres despite falling short of the playoffs

The Buffalo Sabres concluded their 2023-24 season against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and it was a disappointing six months for a team with playoff aspirations.
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Buffalo Sabres left wing Zach Benson (9) celebrates after he
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Zach Benson (9) celebrates after he / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Buffalo Sabres had just about everyone in the NHL universe behind them when the 2023-24 season started in October, but unfortunately, we found out that the playoffs once again weren’t meant to be. Consistency was tough to come by, and now, fans will be hoping 14 is the magic number to end this near decade-and-a-half of misery. 

But maybe the 2024-25 season will be the year because despite the team falling short of the NHL playoffs, it wasn’t like this was a lost season. Go to places like Chicago, San Jose, Anaheim, and Columbus, and you will find four lost seasons, with the Blackhawks as the only team listed that can really get excited about their future. 

In Anaheim, San Jose, and Columbus, there are still a lot of ‘what-ifs,’ but at least the Hawks have Connor Bedard as their unquestioned franchise player, and he gives their fans something positive to build around. Meanwhile, in Buffalo, Sabres fans have more than just one franchise player, and they are a lot closer to contention for 2024-25 than Chicago, or at least that’s the case here in April 2024. 

Falling short of the postseason doesn’t mean Sabres fans can’t be optimistic

One major reason fans can look fondly at this 2023-24 team despite falling short of the playoffs is that the Sabres never gave up on the season, nor did former head coach Don Granato lose the locker room. The Blue and Gold had more bad moments than good ones between October and December 2023, yet they still drew a winning record and solid points total between January and April 2024. 

Fans are undoubtedly critical of Don Granato, but it speaks volumes when this group keeps faith in their coach and in the system, even when times are tough. This young team easily could have gone astray and quit on their coach during those first few rough months of the season, but it didn’t happen, and they were watchable on most nights. 

While keeping players engaged is a testament to Granato, despite the fact it did not save his job, it fell short of the three reasons fans of the Blue and Gold should still be optimistic about this team heading into an ever-important summer break.