The 2021/2022 season has not gone to plan for the Buffalo Sabers. Many had expected the Sabers to not perform this well. But while this year has not been the best, it is time to admit that the future for the Buffalo Sabers is very bright. I love what the team has been doing to build for the future and a lot of the moves they have made are extremely beneficial to the future. Especially with the prospect, draft capital, current core and Trade Deadline opportunities
The Buffalo Sabers have a ton of young prospects that they have selected with the draft picks that they have utilized and are coming to the Sabers soon. Including Owen Power, Jack Quinn, Peyton Krebs, John Peterka, Isak Rosen, Ryan Johnson, Oskari Laaksonen, etc. They will absolutely help when they are ready to make it in the NHL and I am very high on them as I have seen footage of them play and they show a ton of promise.
It is not just the defenseman, wingers and center prospects I am only excited about as the Sabers have promising Goalie talent that the Sabers desperately need. Especially with how much of the mess the goaltender situation is right now for the Sabers the team will get much needed youth reinforcements next season especially with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen who has impressed and even was solid in his time during the NHL but got injured. But two goalies to keep an eye on are both Devon Levi and Erick Portillo. Now both are still a part of their respective NCAA teams but they both looked pretty good when on the ice. Both are definitely names to watch for in a few years.
The promising youth is coming for the Sabers and I am excited to see all of them play in the future.
Even though the current core isn’t strong this year, they showed a ton of flashed this season. Especially with Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin, Alex Tuch, Dylan Cozens, etc. But there are three players I want to go into detail about.
The Sabers clearly won the Rasmus Ristolainen trade and in that trade, they got Robert Hagg. Hagg has been a great piece for the team especially as he displays a ton of grit and leadership on this team. Who knows if he stays during the deadline but he is definitely showcasing why the Sabers should resign him at the deadline.
The best part of the season is that Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo who suffered massive levels of regression through their careers as a Buffalo Saber; have had revival’s of there careers. They have been better this season which is a step up from last year, as both were liabilities last season. This is a big plus to the Buffalo Sabers and their level of confidence on the ice.
The Buffalo Sabers are also in a good spot to draft, capital-wise. Especially with the trade involving both Sam Bennett and Jack Eichel, the Sabers now have three 1st round picks to utilize in the 2022 NHL Draft. It is not just that, the Sabers also have two 2nd round pick as a result of the Rasmus Ristolainen trade with the Flyers. So the Sabers still have draft capital to play with the prospect pool. I wont be shocked if during the Trade Deadline they make more moves to grow the draft capital or acquire players to help build the team. Speaking of which…
Trade Deadline Opportunities
The Trade Deadline is a tremendous opportunity for teams to acquire value that can help their team. I think it is obvious that the Sabers will be selling during the deadline to continue and grow the prospect pool plus gain more draft capital. The Sabers have an opportunity to do that, trading two players D Colin Miller and G Craig Anderson.
Now keep in mind Colin Miller has a Modified No Trade Clause in his contract so there is a list of teams that the Sabers can or cannot trade with involving Colin Miller. Look, I like Colin Miller and he has been solid part of the Sabers, but with the youth on its way, him being on the final year of his contract, and having a 3.87 million dollar cap hit, I can see the Sabers trading him to a playoff team that desperately needs defensive depth for more draft capital to utilize.
Craig Anderson is one of the bright spots of the 2021/2022 NHL Season. Especially since he is 40 years old and many, including myself, did not think he was going to have as good of a season as he has now. I would understand not moving him but with how hot Anderson has been for the Sabers, I would be shocked if teams don’t consider looking at acquiring him, especially playoff teams that could look at getting a backup goalie. I can see the Sabers getting future value for him at the deadline.
The Buffalo Sabers future, in my opinion, is bright. If they play this trade deadline/offseason right by making strong decisions, I feel the Sabers can be a playoff team in 2-3 years.