What would you label the 2023-2024 Buffalo Sabres season?

Dec 15, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (37) celebrates with
Dec 15, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (37) celebrates with / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

We are just past the halfway mark of February. At this time last year, the Buffalo Sabres were fighting for a playoff spot. Fast forward to this year, it's a different story. At the current moment, the Sabres are 23-26-4 with 50 points. When it comes to the playoff race, they are 10 points out of the second and final wild card spot which is currently occupied by the Detroit Red Wings who have 60 points.

While there's still time left, it's not looking good for Buffalo as they are on the verge of missing the postseason for a 13th consecutive season. With that being said, I thought to myself: what should we label the 2023-2024 Buffalo Sabres? Compared to last season, they were in the thick of things. At one point, they were actually in a playoff spot after a thrilling victory against the Florida Panthers.

Let's have a debate, what would you call the 2023-2024 Buffalo Sabres season? Here are some possibilities. Was this a case of regression? To be honest with you, I don't think it's regression. While players like Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens have regressed in a way from their season last year, I don't think the team itself has. I will say this, if there is an example of regression, it's the offense.

This might be an option, was it the pressure of possibly being a playoff team? Let's not forget, Buffalo was the youngest team in the NHL this year. They were also one of the youngest rosters last season and almost made the playoffs. Last year, no one had the Sabres being nowhere close to competing for a spot in the postseason, and maybe that's why they were good. Putting a lot of pressure on a young group could have an impact, but not sure if that's the reason why the Sabres are in the situation they're in.

In some ways, this season was a failure as a whole. For whatever reason, the team just doesn't look like the team we all witnessed last season. I don't know what happened, but all the magic from 2022-2023 just disappeared. Could it be a better game plan for opponents? Maybe, but I still think the team didn't live up to expectations.

In my opinion, I just said it. It seems like with the bar set high, the team couldn't bring the same mentality they had last year. Looking at this year's team from the 2022-2023 team, it's practically the same roster. Minus a couple of signings, the team is similar to last season. There is still time left to turn things around. But with every loss and two points for teams in front of them, it's not looking good for the Sabres. No matter what you label it as, I think we can all agree to call it one description, disappointing.