Photo courtesy of Dave Sandford
Unless you live under a rock, you probably know by now that the Los Angeles Kings completed their historic playoff run last night by winning the Stanley Cup.
Many fans, no matter the team, get excited to see Lord Stanley’s Cup be handed out every season.
This year’s Stanley Cup provided numerous exciting moments, along with some drama, that excited most of the hockey world.
I could go on and on about how truely great the Finals were and how interesting it was to see a talented Kings team manhandle the Devils, for the most part.
But, I don’t think that’s what you want to hear about.
Last night, following the handshakes and trophy presentation, I quickly wondered what was next.
Not wondering what was next for the Kings in their celebration but I wondered what will be happening next with the Buffalo Sabres.
Not to fear, I have some important dates for you all.
June 22-23 – 2012 NHL Entry Draft
It’s been well documented by now that the Buffalo Sabres have a lot of ammunition in this year’s Entry Draft, 4 picks out of the top 45 selections to be exact. Many questions surround this Draft.
Will Derek Roy be traded?
Will the Sabres move up?
Who will they draft?
Those three questions alone can spark a big debate among Sabres fans. There are many people who believe that this Entry Draft is the beginning of a very important offseason for the Pegula-led ownership. Last year was excellent when money was being handed out to different players, but now is the time to build a winner.
July 1 – Beginning of Unrestricted Free Agency
This year’s free agency should be entitled, “NHL Free Agency: the Zach Parise Edition.” Parise, as you know, just helped lead the New Jersey Devils to Lord Stanley’s doorstep. Not only is he only 27 years old, but Parise has averaged approximately 28 goals a season. That kind of goal production is hard to come by. For that reason, and many more, Zach Parise will be a rich man very soon.
Will the Sabres go after Parise?
Will Parise’s relationship with Drew Stafford sway him toward the Sabres?
Do the Sabres have the kind of money to afford him?
Those questions will be answered on/around July 1st.
The Buffalo Sabres would love to land the big fish but they also need to focus on getting more scoring spread throughout their four lines. Last year, the Sabres were plagued by lack of scoring at key moments. Hopefully during this offseason, that problem can be solved.
September 15 – CBA between NHL and NHLPA Expires
This day is D-Day for fans of the NHL. If a new CBA is not agreed upon by this date, we could be headed down the same road that was traveled in 2004-05.
No fan wants to sit back and think of it as a possibility, but if a new CBA is not signed by the 15th, a lockout is likely.
If this happens, the NHL and NHLPA would do a lot of damage throughout the fanbase, damage that had been repaired over the past 7 years.
Aside from the doom and gloom that the 15th of September could bring, this offseason has the potential to be a big one for the Buffalo Sabres. After a full season with Terry Pegula at the helm, it could be time that fans begin to see the benefits of having a hockey loving owner.
Sabres Hockey Central will be featuring Draft Day and UFA Day coverage, so make sure you stay tuned to the website for all the latest Buffalo Sabres news!