OK, Darcy made some real hay today. Am quite pleased with the turn of events. Would have liked to have seen some more shedding of UFA's, but the return would likely have been meager at best. So. What now?This is my first Fan Post, so be gentle. IMO, the rest of 2012 seems to be futile, at least in an effort to make the playoffs. I don't think they'll tank, but I also don't think they can get there unless Miller turns it up one more notch and they win a bunch of 2-1 games. I would like to see them bring up the young guys - McNabb, Brennan, Tropp, Adam, Foligno. Let 'em play with Hodgson, Ennis, Gerbe, Myers, Weber, etc. Sit the UFAs, rest some of the older guys, see what you got.
So in the off-season, you dump the UFAs. IF you stand pat, just resigning RFAs Ennis (2.3 mill?) and Kaleta (1.25), you wind up with:
Pretty much identical to this year's roster. I'd dump McCormick, if possible Leopold (I know depth is important at D, so that would be a tough one) and if possible either Roy or Staff. Let's say neither of them leave. So you bring up McNabb, Adam and Tropp (toughness, energy, and a little offensive flair). Foligno stays down to continue his development unless he is just a beast. Brennan becomes your 7th D if you're carrying 7.
That leaves you with just under 2 million in cap space.
Do you use those 4 picks in the Top 50 to make a move on a NHL player? If so, you'd likely have to move salary to fit them under the cap. That means finding someone willing to take on some combination of Roy, Staff, Leo, or Leino. Or do you use them to move up and get in the Top 5?
So, my recipe is play the youngsters the rest of the way; make a few fat-cutting moves in the off-season (bigger moves if you can find buyers), sign your RFAs and look for some grit in the FA market, and use your wealth of picks to move up into the Top 5 and find yourself that franchise center.
If you were running the Sabres, what's your prescription for a deep playoff run in 2013? Assuming the Mayan Calendar thing isn't right, of course.