If anyone still doesn’t think Tim Murray isn’t a no nonsense kind of GM, you better believe it now. Last year at this time, the top 3 Centers on the Sabres were Hodgson, Girgensons and Ennis. Fast forward to today and you’re looking at O’Reilly, Eichel and Reinhart. What used to be the weakest group up the middle in the entire NHL now has the potential to be one of the strongest. I received a bit of heat from my last article a couple of weeks ago after suggesting Murray trade Grigorenko, pick #21 and Zadorov for O’Reilly and that is pretty much exactly how it went down draft day. Anyone having regrets about shedding Zadorov should get ready to see one of the best two way players (O’Reilly) in the game today.
Buffalo had a lot of chips to play with and if you ask me, they did a masterful job at utilizing them. What is the point of having assets if you can’t use them to build a champion? Our picks at 21 and 31 would have taken years to develop and instead, we have legitimate horses ready to step in and run. Not only that, these guys are all of the age Murray was looking for to grow with the team.
In one day, Murray added a starting goaltender, a 1st line Center, and a 2nd line Center (arguably two 1st line Centers). I don’t care what the national media says, this lineup has the ability to make the playoffs this year if Lehner turns in a decent performance. The only thing left for Murray to do is add one more Defenseman and free agency hasn’t even started yet.
For the first time in quite a while, the Sabres will be putting their players in a position to succeed. Take a look at what I believe the updated lineup will be and tell me that 3rd line (along with the rest) have not come a loooong way. Get ready folks, the train has pulled out of the station and this rebuild has just kicked into warp speed.
Kane – O’Reilly – Ennis
Moulson – Eichel – Girgensons
McGinn – Reinhart – Gionta
Foligno – Larsson – Deslauriers/McCormick
That is pretty fun to see on paper and regardless of what happens this year, fans are going to get their money’s worth when they enter the arena. Well, that is all for now from the Sabres front and next, we’ll dive into the Bills to see what they need to do in order to make that tournament which I believe is called….playoffs?