What's next for the Buffalo Sabres?

Important upcoming dates as the Sabres head into the summer.

Now that one of the worst seasons in team history is over, we can finally look toward the future, which for the Buffalo Sabres, is looking very bright. Let's take a look at some of the upcoming important dates on the non-playoff NHL calendar.

May 1-17, 2015 IIHF World Championships

The Sabres will have Tyler Ennis (Canada) and Rasmus Ristolainen (Finland) participating, and their likely draft pick, Jack Eichel, will play for Team USA. The tournament takes place in the Czech Republic, so watching the games might be a bit tough, but it will be our first chance to watch Eichel play against NHL-caliber players.

June 1-6, Draft Combine

The city of Buffalo will host the draft combine this year and next, thanks to Terry Pegula and his HARBORCenter complex. We'll get an early peek at many of this year's draftees -120 of them, including McDavid and Eichel - and they'll all get an early look at how nice the Sabres facilities are. With another boatload of first and second round picks, draft weekend will be the highlight of the Sabres season once again.

June 26-27, 2015 NHL Draft

The Sabres will finally put an end to this terrible season at the draft by selecting their future #1 center for the next decade, most likely Jack Eichel. The prize for which we've suffered this season will be the crown jewel in another big haul for an already stocked farm system, though there's also a good chance that Murray uses the draft to make a deal for a goaltender or a prospect who's further along. Either way, it'll be a fun weekend to be a Sabres fan.

July 1, Free Agency opens

If you're already fantasy booking new lines for the Sabres next year, two glaring holes are at wing and in net. Being one of the few clubs with a ton of salary cap space this summer, the Sabres should be big players in free agency if they want to be, and will be able to make some favorable trades or RFA offers should the opportunity arise.