With a new season bearing down upon us, we figured this week would be a good time to make some DBTB staff predictions for the 2012-13 season. Here's how we think the shortened season will turn out.
My prediction for the Sabres in 2013 is that we will see a large scale trade to bring a big name player here. Terry Pegula has proven he's not afraid to shake things up. With "The Core" Era seemingly coming to an end, I think Pegula will be looking for a top player to usher in this new era, post lockout. Who knows, perhaps he views this mystery talent as one of the recent draft picks, but I'm expecting he won't be willing to sit around and wait.I'm not one to advocate for blowing up a sports team on a frequent basis - I actually think the team is constructed quite well. But while we still lack that elusive star center, affordable pieces that are under team control like Vanek, Pominville, and Stafford could be attractive to other teams. I'm sure we'll hear names like Ryan Getzlaf come up again.
The prolonged lockout that is taking place in the NHL has me in a very pessimistic mood. Unfortunately, that pessimism has spilled over to my thoughts on the Buffalo Sabres this season. I predict the Sabres finish no better than 11th place in the Eastern Conference and that will prompt changes. My prediction is that we will finally see the end of the Darcy Regier/Lindy Ruff era in Buffalo. Both men will be fired the day after the season ends, and the Sabres can finally start a new era of Sabres hockey.
I honestly think our 2012 off-season was a lateral movement, and that the main move we made (the trade of Roy primarily) is nothing that could put this team over the top. Unless we become a more cohesive unit with out Roy, and if the Staff-Ennis-Foligno line continues to be awesome, I predict that we would have a team that would be struggling to squeak in the final two spots in the conference come playoff time. I would love to be wrong, but I am not sold on this team being a playoff contender yet.
Nobody knows what will happen in this shortened season, but I do know this: if there's any season for a Buffalo sports franchise to win a Stanley Cup, it's in a shortened season where the championship would always carry an asterisk. That's the perfect way for the long-maligned Buffalo to finally win a championship, and if so, I say give me an asterisk any day.