It’s been a tough decade or so being a Buffalo Sabres fan, currently on the longest active streak without a playoff appearance in the NHL and not going to change that in 2020-21.
In fact, the Sabres currently prop up the overall table and are in position for another number 1 draft pick come the off-season.
It’s not all doom and gloom though as there have been a handful of positives for fans to take so far this campaign:
The 25-year-old is only a handful of goals away from surpassing his personal best in a single NHL season as Sam Reinhart continues to develop as a pro. A former second overall draft pick, general manager Kevyn Adams made a good decision not to trade away the star on deadline day two weeks ago.
It would have made little sense to trade away a player we’ve invested a lot in and who is finally delivering. To many, his 20 goals may not look like a great deal, but you have to factor in just how bad the Sabres are and how little they create.
Reinhart is far from winning the Hart Memorial Trophy but he could easily have earned a trade to a playoff-bound team. Click here to find out exactly who those teams are according to the sportsbooks.
The seventh overall pick in 2019 is getting some game time in the NHL and he’s still only 20 years old. Buffalo has had a number of high draft picks in recent years and perhaps few are as exciting as Dylan Cozens.
Formerly of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL, Cozens has been involved in 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in his 33 games this season and has shown real promise at times despite not getting a real run out just yet.
This season may be a write-off for the Sabres but it makes it a good opportunity to blood youngsters such as Cozens for the future.
Tuesday’s game against Boston saw 19 Buffalo players combine for an average age of 24. Only goaltender Dustin Tokarski was over the age of 30.
A number of roster changes during the campaign have allowed interim head coach Don Granato to give players with little experience more opportunities. And so far they’ve been performing better than the team was at the start of the campaign.
The Sabres are no longer rolling over to opponents and could pick up more impressive wins such as the recent victory over the Bruins, between now and the end of the season. A post-season appearance won’t be on the cards but if they remain confident and continue to develop the talented youth they have then there’s no reason why they can’t go into next season with confidence.
As well as Dylan Cozens, Rasmus Dahlin and Casey Mittelstadt are among the top prospects for this franchise. The former has even been playing well since moving into the role of Center.