3 reasons why the Sabres early offseason is already among the NHL's finest

The NHL Playoffs aren’t even close to being finished, but it hasn’t stopped the Buffalo Sabres from setting the stage for an outstanding offseason.
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Buffalo Sabres goaltender Eric Comrie (31), center Dylan Cozens
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Eric Comrie (31), center Dylan Cozens / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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It’s a bold claim, but the Buffalo Sabres may end up snagging a berth in the NHL Playoffs one season later than everyone in the hockey universe anticipated. Okay, maybe it’s ultra-bold since the 2024 Playoffs aren’t even at their halfway point, but it doesn’t mean general manager Kevyn Adams hasn’t already made more than a handful of bold moves. 

We know a few players who have been in town for a while are about to leave the organization, and we also know the Sabres have the cash to bring in better, more established talent. But that’s just one reason Buffalo’s early offseason and the circumstances leading up to it are some of the most enticing in the NHL today. 

Let’s further explore three other key points, showing fans and critics of this organization alike what makes the Sabres early returns in 2024 so enthralling and giving us a reason to be more than optimistic as the real offseason quickly approaches. 

They hired arguably the best veteran coach on the market

Say what you will about who the absolute ‘best’ veteran coach was, as many hockey fans will have their own unique opinion on it. Hence the word ‘arguably,’ but few can deny Lindy Ruff was at least one of the best veteran coaches out there. 

Sure, some will say “nostalgia,” but he’s spent 23 seasons as a head coach with three different teams, and you don’t last that long in any sports league without putting together a good track record year after year. 

Ruff has yet to win a Stanley Cup, and being in his twilight years as a head coach, he may not get there with the Sabres. While this team has proven over the past three seasons they’re better than what they were between 2011-12 and 2020-21, they’re still lacking several pieces to work toward a championship run.

But Ruff will at least likely leave this team better off than what they were when he returned to the City of Good Neighbors. His tenure with the New Jersey Devils ended badly, but they’re still way better off than they were when he took over starting in 2020-21. And Ruff also had three good seasons in Dallas before they took a backslide in the fourth and final season of his campaign. 

If the Blue and Gold were to become a better hockey team, hiring a proven veteran as head coach was a prerequisite, and they got more than a proven name.