Buffalo Sabres Brass Has A Lot of Work to Do
After back to back losses to the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets it's obvious that Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill has a big job ahead of him. The Sabres were crushed 6-2 by the Wild on Thursday and lost Friday night to the Jets 4-3, but the final score of that game doesn't really indicate how dominant the Jets were.
The Wild and the Jets play the type of hockey that the Sabres aspire to. It's the kind of fast-paced hockey that coach Phil Housley would like to see his team play. But if the Sabres hope to compete at a high level it's going to mean an infusion of talent in all areas. They're not big enough, they're not fast enough and they don't play smart hockey.
The Sabres do have some star players on their team, but they need to be surrounded with other talented players so they can achieve what's expected of them. This season's highest-paid player Ryan O'Reilly has been invisible in many games. And although he's an offensive force, even Jack Eichel has been a defensive liability in many games.
One area the Sabres need to fix right away is their first period performance. In too many games this season they just don't seem to be mentally ready to play. In the last three games they were behind 2-0 early in the first period which means they have to chase the game the rest of the way and they lost all three times.
One bright spot is that their defensemen are starting to score. Rasmus Ristolainen scored the game winner in overtime against New Jersey. Marco Scandella scored his first as a Sabre against Winnipeg.
Forwards Johan Larsson and Scott Wilson also scored. For Larsson it was his first in almost three months. Wilson's goal was his first as a Sabre.
Trades? I'd say anybody but Eichel and Ristolainen should be made available if the Sabres can get any takers.
The Sabres conclude their 7-game road trip Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers.