The Buffalo Sabres are just six games into their regular season, and have scored a league low nine goals. With their record sitting at 1-6, the team just started a Western road trip, where they will play multiple games against some of the league’s elite teams. The season is young, but it looks like Sabres fans are in for another tumultuous year. The only bright spot about the Sabres losing is that they will have a good chance at landing the child protégé in Connor McDavid. In fact, many fans and experts believe that the Sabres are “tanking for McDavid”, but are they really?
Last season, the Buffalo Sabres scored a mere 150 goals, which was by far a league low. They are already on pace to score substantially fewer goals than they did last year, so the lack of scoring is once again a problem that has arisen. It has become blatantly obvious that the Sabres are suffering without goaltender Ryan Miller. Last year, the Sabres could be totally dominated, but Miller would steal the show, thus making it look like the Sabres were a lot more competitive. Fast forward to this season, and the Sabres have a tandem of Jhonas Enroth and Michael Neuvirth. Both goalies are unproven in the NHL and have mightily struggled this year. With sub-par goaltending, the Sabres won’t have a chance to win on most nights, resulting in more losses and a greater chance at landing the number one overall pick.
It is hard to say the Sabres are tanking based on what they did this past offseason. General Manager Tim Murray made multiple moves that should be paying dividends. After trading for defenseman Josh Gorges, the Sabres inked Matt Moulson, Brian Gionta, Andrej Meszaros and Cody McCormick to contracts. By making these signings, Murray believed the Sabres would be an improved team on the rise; however, Murray has not gotten much return on his investments. Gorges has really been the only player who hasn’t been terrible since coming over in the offseason. The Sabres tried to improve their roster, but so far, there has been no effort from the team to make a climb in the standings. When you record just 12 shots on net in a game, are you really trying to win?
There is a good chance the Sabres will most likely finish dead last in the NHL, and if they do, there is only a 20% chance that they will land Connor McDavid. There is no guarantee that Jack Eichel, the other star in the draft, will leave college early to declare for the draft. There is no doubting that the Sabres have an abundance of young talent, some of which will make an impact in the NHL and some who won’t, but if the Sabres are unable to land McDavid or Eichel this year, it will be a significant setback for the franchise. The Sabres are relying on landing McDavid or Eichel come June’s draft.
Both Tim Murray and Ted Nolan have publically stated that the Sabres are not tanking, but with their effortless play, it is really difficult to believe them. Personally, I don’t think the Sabres are tanking. We are talking about a team with no scoring, no NHL quality bottom six forwards, and underachievers on the blue line, to go along with below average NHL goalies. Reality is harsh, and the 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres may be one of the worst teams in NHL history. All Sabres fans can look forward too is the thought of having Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel come June’s draft.