There are now less than two weeks to go before the wild swap meet that is the NHL Trade deadline hits. Monday, February 28th should be a fun day for fans around the league as they watch their teams try to buoy their Stanley Cup dreams with that extra top 6 forward, power play point man, or nasty stay at home defenseman with a gnarly beard. The Sabres will play seven games between now and the deadline, beginning tonight in Montreal. With that much hockey to be played it makes sense that the Sabres would still be trying to figure out what they will be come deadline time. Drop five of the seven and it could look pretty bleak and therefore tempt them to dump as many veterans with expiring contracts as possible. Keep the run that really started right after Christmas going and climb into the top eight and fans may be clamoring for the Sabres to add.
Most every year at this time will find me in the add camp and it's very possible that bolstered by new, more aggressive ownership, that buying is what the Sabres have in mind.
I'm not up for it. I don't necessarily like making this argument because generally I believe in getting in and seeing what can happen. Your power play gets hot, a couple of upsets happen, and suddenly it's May and experts everywhere are trying to figure out why Washington is home watching while Montreal is still playing. I just don't see it with these Sabres.
Mostly this is due to their defensive shortcomings. They have been pretty loose in their own end from the start of the year. Early on the hope was that once the new guys got the hang of playing with one another things would come together. That never really happened and they're as bad now as they were in October. Miller has been erratic, maybe in part because he's been unnerved by how the team is playing in front of him. It doesn't explain away his poor season to this point, but it is, in my opinion, a contributing factor.
On the way to last season's Northeast division title, the Sabres did a great job of locking down games and protecting leads. Miller didn't steal all those games the Sabres won last year when leading after two periods. They played a safe, simple, boring game that limited their opponents chances. This year it's more of a high wire act. I have a tough time seeing that change by trading away #1 picks for Kris Versteeg or Mike Fisher, sorry.
I would sell what I can, play the kids, and hope for the best.
The time to fix this teams flaws comes in the Summer.