The Sabres high ranking in the prospects pool should no longer matter

In what should be no surprise to hockey fans everywhere, major networks all over the sports landscape ranked the Sabres prospects pool No. 1 once again.
Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres
Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres / Kevin Hoffman/GettyImages

In 2022-23, and even in early 2024, it was satisfying to see the Sabres ranked No. 1 in the NHL’s prospect pool rankings. The high position signified that general manager Kevyn Adams’ plan was working better than those of other NHL general managers, and it also foreshadowed what was to eventually arrive in the city of Buffalo. 

While that can still be the case, it shouldn’t matter to fans who were expecting, at the absolute least, a slightly better season than what we saw in 2022-23. You would have thought that, with the second wild card team at the moment, the Washington Capitals, struggling to hang onto that spot with just 85 points, a team that had 91 last year as the league’s youngest would have taken the next step. 

For a plethora of reasons, the Sabres will be watching the playoffs from their respective offseason homes, and for the 13th year running, they will be left to wonder when this infamous streak will end. Well, at this point, boasting the best prospects pool in the NHL is no longer helping the cause. 

The No. 1 prospects pool in the league is no longer ‘good news’ for the Sabres

If the Sabres were the Columbus Blue Jackets, the San Jose Sharks, or the Anaheim Ducks, then yeah, ranking No. 1 in such a pool would be outstanding news. But the common denominator between the three aforementioned teams is that they weren’t supposed to be anywhere near serious playoff contention this year, and the same will hold true next season. 

As for the Sabres, with such a weak team like the Caps holding a second wild card spot and the fact they nearly snagged it last year, this organization should have aspirations beyond possessing the league’s best prospects pool. So now it’s time to do something about it: Either let some of the players “graduate” to the next level and put them into the NHL full-time, like Devon Levi and Jiri Kuluch, or start ‘selling’ in this summer and bring in a player or two who will help this team win games. 

You can have the league’s best prospects pool year in and year out, but unless you’re a team that doesn’t figure to contend, it doesn’t do much good for the organization if you were supposed to be a contender that fell well short of expectations. It’s time for Kevyn Adams to start utilizing the talent in the pool to make this organization better overall.