The dumpster fire that the Buffalo Sabres’ 2017-18 season is turning into is not the fault of HC Phil Housley or GM Jason Botterill. Both men were thrust into the midst of a very troubled team when they joined the Sabres this past summer and both have had to do their best to work around or exorcise the demons of the Tim Murray regime, and they are currently still doing that.
The Sabres don’t need to worry about tanking this season to ensure a good draft pick because they’re terrible enough to do it alone. And even though at this rate they’ll end up at the bottom of the standings by a country mile, the past has proven that Buffalo will never win the Draft Lottery, so there is no point to worrying about first overall. What Botterill and co. need to focus on is getting all the dead weight off this team, and boy there is a lot of it.
There of course is still the chance that the team could turn it around in the second half, but that’s unlikely. Here’s the complete list of players that need to go bye-bye. (Note: It’s not the same case for Evander Kane so he does not count)
Gorges is neither the positive veteran presence or the solid defender that Sabres media claims he is. He’s erratic and inconsistent and takes far too many penalties, almost all of which end up killing the team. Sabres fans are anxious for Brendan Guhle to finally make his arrival, but guys like Gorges are preventing that.
The half of the Winnipeg trade that didn’t work out has been nothing but a disaster for Buffalo. Though a solid defender, Bogosian is slow and his offense has declined considerably since joining the team. On top of that, he’s been made of glass and has spent a stupid amount of time injured. Casey Nelson hasn’t been as hyped as Guhle, but he fits into the same fold and should be on the team instead.
Matt Moulson is a great guy and his commitment to Buffalo is commendable, but he’s done absolutely nothing except eat cap space in his tenure. Young forwards like Justin Bailey, Nicolas Baptiste and Hudson Fasching are kept in the dark as a result.
This one hurts the most because Zemgus has been my favorite since he arrived. A few seasons ago the Latvian looked like the future of this team and many were hoping he’d rediscover that under Housley. Unfortunately he hasn’t. I think he’ll go to new team and be very good, but Buffalo can’t afford to give him any more chances.
I’ll pay for his airfare.
The journeyman goaltender’s return to Buffalo has not gone well at all. Nothing against him, he’s just done really bad while Linus Ullmark has been thriving in Rochester. What are we waiting for on that? The Sabres have had a terrible tendency in the past of developing solid young goaltenders in the minors but wasting them by never taking them to the next level. They can’t afford to let Ullmark be added to that list. The kid has potential.
Who even is this guy?
And now for the heat:
Fight me (just kidding, you’d kill me). But it’s impossible to deny. Sam Reinhart has declined so much over the last two seasons that he’s really starting to look like a draft bust. I know that term is thrown around a ton in the NHL and, to be fair, Aaron Ekblad has declined sharply as well, but Reinhart is not becoming what he has the potential to be.
This one is debatable because one could argue that he could still turn it around, but Sabres fans are starting to get quite impatient with the guy who was expected to be one-half of the team’s future.
I’m not saying everyone else on the roster is safe, but these guys should be the first to go if Botterill does decide to clean house this season. Others could very well follow, but everyone listed above is holding this team back and should be gone.
Whom did I miss? Let me know your opinions and who would be on your list. @Flat_Manigen74.