Welcome to July 1

Free agency officially begins at noon today - what does Buffalo need to do?

When the clock strikes noon on July 1, the new NHL league year begins - which officially marks the start of unrestricted free agency.

As we have seen so far, teams are taking full advantage of the tampering period.

While multiple teams have agreed to terms with top free agents, the Buffalo Sabres remain quiet.

Jason Botterill did warn fans of this just a few days ago.

Buffalo has indeed added to their depth with signing players like Curtis Lazar.

In Lazar’s case, as with many of the depth signings, there will be an opportunity to break camp with the team but ultimately the player will head to Rochester to begin the season.

Looking at the current roster breakdown, the holes remain very evident.

Buffalo needs a middle-six center - can that player be Arttu Ruotsalainen?

After signing a three-year, entry-level contract earlier this offseason, it appears that it will be Buffalo or bust for Ruotsalainen.

Last season in the Liiga, Ruotsalainen led the league in time-on-ice (21:05) and faceoffs (1,216). That talent should certainly translate to the North American style of play.

If Botterill wants to search outside the organization, a player like Brian Boyle could be a target.

Buffalo had been rumored to be sniffing around Boyle’s interests but nothing has yet come of that. Boyle is known to be a strong presence in the locker room, which would be quite a benefit for a team that has reportedly had locker room issues over the last few years.

Safe to say that Brian Boyle should be a target to keep an eye on.

On the right side of things, Buffalo is still missing a key winger to pair with Jack Eichel.

With Sam Reinhart all-but-confirmed to be the key cog to the second line, Eichel and Skinner will need a new right winger to pair themselves with.

Joonas Donskoi has been a top, hot target for the Sabres.

Unfortunately, that dream might already have been put to bed.

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet all but confirms that Donskoi will be headed to Colorado once the clock hits 12 PM Eastern Time on Monday.

Even if Alexander Nylander might be in Buffalo to begin next season, the Sabres need to spend more time this offseason working on building depth.

As we all saw last season, once Patrik Berglund walked out the door and exposed the Sabres’ lack of depth, depth acquisition immediately became a big need this offseason.

Another player to keep an eye on, per Elliotte Friedman, is forward Marcus Johansson.

Friedman says he has heard Johansson paired with Buffalo and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Parts are moving fast and furious - make sure you stay tuned!