The Buffalo Sabres are moving in the right direction, thanks to the hire of former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.
The Sabres also own the 2nd and 21st overall picks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and Evander Kane set to start his Buffalo career at the onset of the 2015-16 season. Yes, things are looking up for Buffalo, but there are still areas of concern for the team, one of which is at the goalie position.
Currently, both Matt Hackett and Anders Lindback are set to become free agents, leaving Chad Johnson as the team’s lone goalie. Buffalo will likely look toward the free agent or trade market to acquire a starting goaltender, with Johnson likely serving as the backup.
The 2015 free agent class does feature some intriguing names led by Devan Dubnyk and Antti Neimi. As for trade possibilities, the Sabres might look towards Ottawa, as they could be looking to trade either Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner. The Sabres also need to consider adding some veteran depth on a roster that features young stars such as Zemgus Girgensons, Tyler Ennis, Rasmus Ristolanen, and likely Jack Eichel, playing big roles for the team.
Antoine Vermette, Carl Soderberg, Jiri Tlusty, and even Martin St. Louis could be used to give the Sabres some much-needed leadership, and should be high up on the Sabres free agent radar.
The aforementioned addition of Evander Kane will give the Sabres a legitimate scorer on its first or second line. If you factor in Matt Moulson, Girgensons, Ennis, Eichel, and Marcus Foligno, you have yourself quite a powerful top six, and the addition of one or two other veteran pieces will only add to the team’s core.
It’s no secret that Bufflao intentionally lost games to improve its draft stock. However, now that the Sabres have a quality head coach in Dan Bylsma, two first round picks, and an improving collection of talent, there might be a resurrection in upstate New York.