Should the Sabres play for next year?

No, this is not a panic button post, but more the other team in town getting me thinking:  Should Buffalo target next year as the year to make a cup run?  There are some good reasons why they should:

  • Connolly, Niedermayer, Grier, and McCormick off the books – should open some top 6 minutes for Gerbe and Ennis, and possibly an FA center who is more consistent.
  • Next year could mean Luke Adam or Zack Kassian (or both) making the team, upping the size and tenacity of the team.
  • Seriously, read this about Kassian (h/t to Sabres Prospects):

At the Memorial Cup (in Brandon), neither one of the western teams wanted any part of him. They wouldn’t look him in the eyes.

  • I can’t imagine Jhonas Enroth not being the backup here next year.  Either that or trade the guy.  Tomorrow’s game might be a big factor in that.  If he starts again, I’m seeing the writing on the wall for Lalime, no matter how much Miller and the rest of the guys love him.
  • The biggest question for me is what to do with the defense.  Hopefully a partner for Myers is settled by the end of the year, so whoever that is has to be kept (if it’s not Morrisonn).  Montador and Rivet are UFAs, while Weber, Sekera and Butler are all RFAs.  Someone (or preferably two of them) need to take the next step this year.

So there you have it.  What does that change about this year?  I’d be hesitant to trade for a ‘rental’ player at the deadline, especially if there is a prospect moving out.  I like our prospects a lot more than I do most of the guys Darcy has brought in at the deadline recently (though a lot of that is hindsight).  I might change my view on that as the season wears on, though.  I do think this team can still make the playoffs, but I can’t imagine a true cup run.

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