Finally, hockey is imminent (Let's not use the dreaded L word...), that means I'm going to start wild speculation and grand claims based on what little understanding of the game and its talent economy I have.
Commonly cited deficiencies with the Sabres roster fall pretty heavily on a near total absence of League leading/All star level scoring. There are plenty of goal scorers out there, all with varying levels of availability, most of which are wildly unavailable, but some just might be on the table for the right price.
Way back before the Winter of discontent, there was talk of Chicago being open to the idea of offloading one Patrick Kane, I explored the idea a little in a modestly informed post at the time and there was some discussion, mostly centred on his off ice antics, which is a fair concern to be sure. I don't assert that it's all behind him, I don't know the guy personally but one would hope that playing at home might keep him a little better behaved. It might make it worse though, who knows. On the ice the kid is an asset, I'd be a lit more comfortable with a top line with Vanek Hodgson and Kane, bumping Pommers down the lineup to make room. What Chicago would ask to acquire him is another matter and I'm not really all that clued in to make a reasonable estimation on. They have some issues in net I'm vaguely aware of, beyond that There isn't anything in particular I know they're short on.
The abundant commodity the Sabres have on hand is NHL level Defense men. We've got some depth here that could be put to bear on acquiring some scoring talent. Philadelphia, as Puck Daddy's Ryan Lambert put it "are about as deep as a kiddie pool on defense", and positively overflowing with useful, productive forwards at various stages in their careers. I like Matt Read, everything I've read about him pegs him as an excellent two way forward that plays from his own zone out, with excellent defensive awareness and tracking, which seems like it would fit well with the Ruff system. He's not exactly high on the flyers roster either getting middling time in and around Couturier, Giroux, Hartnell, Schenn, Simmonds, Voracek and the departed Jag's and JVR. For my money, he'd be a cost effective inclusion that facilitates the standing Sabres system. Again, Philadelphia won't let him go for pennies, but they have a need greater than the Sabres so surely there is something workable for both sides available.
Adam Proteau of 'the hockey news' highlights another opportunity in this regard with "Ottowa's fashion-model-thin defense". Like the Flyers, the Sens are rife with injured defense men and have a need on the blue line. What they do have however is cap space, meaning they may target free agency instead.
I've had a long spiel about Mr's Perry and Getzlaf of Anaheim and their teams needs of a usable backup behind Jonas Hiller. Personally, I'm more in favor of acquiring Getzlaf. A proven top line Center man is more valuable than a Winger ( Ask Washington and Columbus... ).
Detroit have a shortage on the blueline, attempting in vain to plug the gap left by the incomparable Nicklas Lidstrom and could be coaxed in to giving up someone useful. Who exactly I'm not sure, the west coast isn't that familiar to me, I'm sure someone will offer some suggestions...
That's all the obvious ones for me, I'm hoping someone else will have some interesting ideas to add though.