The Buffalo Sabres season is over, but that doesn't mean there aren't big things on the horizon. Today let's take a qjuick look at the upcoming summer schedule for the blue and gold.
Sabres Playing In The IIHF World Championships: Right Now
While the US and Canada host the NHL playoffs over the next few weeks, the IIHF World Championships are taking place in Sweden and Finland, and there are a bunch of Sabres, past and present, participating in the tournament.
Current Sabres participating include: Christian Ehrhoff captaining the German team, Andrej Sekera playing for Slovakia, Thomas Vanek on the Austrian squad, and Jhonas Enroth between the pipes for Sweden. Zemgus Girgensons is also playing for Latvia following his short but promising playoff run in Rochester.
Other Sabres connections in the tournament include Lindy Ruff coaching Team Canada and Brian Campbell, Miroslav Satan playing for Slovakia, and also Henrik Talinder and Chris Butler manning the Swedish and USA blue lines, respectively. Oh, and former Sabres great Jiri Novotny was named captain of the Czech Republic team.
You can watch all of Team USA's games on the NBC Sports Network, if you're so inclined.
A Decision On Ron Rolston's Fate: The Near Future
Ron Rolston was given the title of interim head coach, and no light was shed on his future with the organization at the team's year-end press conference. Darcy Regier told TBN at the Amerks clean-out day that he'll make a decision regarding Rolston's future sometime soon. Fairly soon, to be specific, and he added that the decision on the Amerks head coach would come soon after that.
The best bet right now is on Rolston returning to Rochester to continue his work as a teacher in the Sabres farm system, with Regier bringing in a bigger name to coach the big club, though there's certainly no guarantee of that outcome either. Hopefully it won't take too long for the Sabres GM to come to a decision, because the mindset new head coach could be an indicator of whether Regier is committing to a long-term rebuild, or hoping for things to turn around more quickly.
The 2013 NHL Draft: Sunday, June 30
The next big event on the league calendar will take place eight weeks from now, and all seven rounds will be completed in the same day. The Buffalo Sabres have the eighth overall pick, though Regier has said publicly that he's looking to move up, and has already begun calling teams ahead of Buffalo to see what their asking price might be.
It should be an interesting draft for Buffalo, as draft day usually brings with it a number of trades, both of picks and established players. Might this be the date that Thomas Vanek or Ryan Miller are dealt?
Free Agency Opens: Friday, July 5
The start of free agency comes just five days after the draft, unlike last year where there was a full week between the draft and free agency. How this will affect teams is unknown, but everyone's schedule will certainly be crazy for a couple of days in early July.
After dishing out big contracts in previous years, how will the public rebuilding process affect the Sabres in free agency? Everyone will have less money with the salary cap going down, so no matter which way you look at it, this should be a fascinating couple of days, both leading up to and following July 5.