Breathe deep, Buffalo Sabres fans. It's almost over. 

Only eight games remain on the schedule in what could arguably be one of the worst NHL seasons ever. They are 12 points behind the Edmonton Oilers, who are in 29th place, and if Buffalo was to win out, the best it could finish is tied for 27th. 

What's worse, the Sabres have been laughably bad since the trade deadline. While not unexpected in the least, it still is disconcerting seeing Ted Nolan's team schooled up and down the ice on a daily basis. 

The other night's game in Nashville was an excellent example of this as the Sabres found themselves heading into the locker room down 4-0 after the first period with all four goals being scored as a result of less-than-stellar defensive play.

Sure, injuries have played a role. Sure, it's likely the team has mailed it in as they've been just trying to get through the season since November.

Yet, it doesn't seem like there is going to be much relief in the months to come.

This team is still very much in flux. Nolan signed his three-year extension Monday (via Sabres.com), but that's only one thing off the list.

More major roster moves, including re-signing restricted free agents Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno and Cory Conacher are coming. More questions about who will play at the NHL level next year will need to be answered.

When all is said and done, the Sabres will likely look much different in October than they will on April 13 when they line up for the final time this season. 

What that means above all else is the Sabres are likely to be in a similar position in the standings come this time next year.

Now, as a rebuilding team under the eye of a new general manager in Tim Murray, this may be a good thing in the long run. Murray has all but finished dismantling what Darcy Regier started last year with the trade of Jason Pominville.

A few "core" guys remain from the Regier era, most notably Drew Stafford, Ennis and Tyler Myers, but those seem to be, at the moment at least, guys that Murray is willing to move forward with. It's certainly possible that he's just waiting for a more receptive market place during the offseason than what the trade deadline provided, but for now, they remain a part of the team.

Yet, the questions surrounding the "old core," or any Sabre for that matter, are unlikely to subside anytime soon.

Myers and Christian Ehrhoff were the discussion of rampant trade talk leading up to the trade deadline earlier this month. Both would require a return that, at the very least, would be termed "substantial." Trading one of those two would significantly alter the makeup of the Sabres roster. 

Chris Stewart, who played in parts of two games for the Sabres, was expected to be flipped before the deadline and was not. Ville Leino is almost certainly going to be bought out. John Scott will continue his "quest" to become a first-line player

Basically, half of the Sabres' top-six forwards next season are likely not playing for the team right now. Stafford, Stewart, Leino, Zemgus Girgensons and Cody Hodgson are the only potential candidates under contract for next year. Never mind Stafford and Stewart are trade candidates and Leino could be dropped off somewhere in-between Nashville and Buffalo today.

Hopefully, some free agents want to sign with the Sabres.

Funny thing is, they probably have to. The Sabres are currently projected to be upwards of $20 million under the salary cap floor of $52 million next year (via CapGeek). 

Now, that shouldn't be too hard to accomplish seeing as the Sabres likely have to bring up or sign about ten guys this offseason, but just bringing up rookies or signing bottom-six forwards or bottom-pairing defenseman will not get you there. You almost have to sign a Ryan Callahan to ensure compliance. 

But even with a Callahan-type signing, this team has a lot of building and growing to do to be a consistent force night in and night out. 

Luckily for Sabres fans, there's light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the 2015 draft. 

Assuming Murray doesn't pull some wild deals this summer, the Sabres will be fighting for the top pick next year as well. And while this year's draft has some top-end talent, it's nowhere near the talent that next year's will hold. 

Some more heartening news: Also assuming the New York Islanders use their likely top-five 2014 first rounder, giving their 2015 first to the Sabres, the Sabres could be in a position to take two of the top talents since a guy named Sidney Crosby came out. 

The pursuit of Connor McDavid is well known, but the top of the draft next year also includes two Massachusetts products in Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin who are flying under the radar. 

Discussions about McDavid, Eichel or Hanifin are premature, especially seeing as the Sabres have yet to pick in the 2014 draft, but they will be important come this time next year. 

So, despite the season coming to a close, a lot of questions remain: What will Murray do this offseason? Who will return, and who will be on the move? Will any free agents want to come here? Will the youth get a chance next year?

As the offseason progresses, some answers will be had, but for the most part, there's likely to be no quick resolution to many of these. With that scenario, it's likely that Sabres fans will not have much of a reprieve for the next 90 games, let alone the eight remaining this season.

Sabres fans just hope they'll be able to look back on this in a few years and laugh.

Follow me on Twitter for NHL and Sabres news all season: @SwordPlay18.  

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Suffering through one of the worst seasons in recent NHL history, the 20-45-8 Buffalo Sabres have an outside chance to become the NHL's lowest-scoring team since 1936, per Drew Davis of Kukla's Korner.

With 139 goals through 73 games, the Sabres are averaging a woeful 1.90 per contest, easily the worst in the NHL. The New Jersey Devils are second-worst in scoring with 177 goals through 73 games, which is good for 2.42 per contest and still places them well ahead of the Sabres.

Having long ago locked up their place as the lowest-scoring team this season, the Sabres hope to avoid matching the 1997-98 Tampa Bay Lightning's record for fewest goals per game in modern NHL history. The 1997-98 Lightning struggled to a 17-55-10 record, scoring just 151 goals in 82 games, or 1.84 per contest.

As bad as the Sabres are, this is one mark of futility they should be able to avoid. Doing so will require just 13 goals in the final nine games, which would be a given for any other NHL team.

Of course, the Sabres aren't just any NHL team, they're far and away the worst squad in the league. Avoiding this dubious record is clearly in the team's best interest, but it won't remove the sting from a truly dreadful season.

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Reports have surfaced this week that Ted Nolan's three-year extension to stay on as the Buffalo Sabres head coach is being finalized (via Bob McKenize of TSN).

This is likely not a shock to most Sabres fans, as general manager Tim Murray has publicly stated he wanted Nolan to come back and they were working on an extension many times, especially since the departure of Pat LaFontaine earlier this month. 

Yet Nolan staying shouldn't be as much of a sure thing as it seems to be. 

Nolan has done an admirable job with this team, given the position he was placed in by those who came before him. That goes without saying. However, a lot of questions about Nolan captaining the Sabres' ship moving forward have started to creep into more and more discussions, and rightfully so.  

We've discussed Nolan getting his chance and showing he can be the guy for a rebuilding team a few months ago. A lot of those points still hold true in that the community loves him and he has done a lot to make this team watchable, not including the past few games of course. 

Yet the biggest question mark then still holds true now: Can he coach a team of young, talented players that need to be developed at the NHL level to reach their full potential?

The answer to that extremely important question is still very unclear. 

You can talk about his unwillingness to play young guys over veterans or how cavalier he is with line combinations all you want, but what it boils down to is Nolan is not what many have termed an "X's and O's guy." (Sorry to quote Mike Milbury.)

What that essentially means is Nolan is not going to draw up different systems or make adjustments in game to combat what the other team is doing. You'll never see Nolan doing his best Kurt Russell playing a Herb Brooks impression with a Sharpie diagram on the glass asking his team what that particular play gives them ("Options!"). 

In fact, Justin Bourne of the Score says it perfectly: "Nolan is one of those motivational guys who think if you're losing, you're not competing hard enough."

Sorry folks, but it's not that simple in the NHL. 

Hard work can trump talent, but, as the Sabres' record shows, talent wins out most of the time. You can have a roster full of guys like Matt Ellis, Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell—guys that will play their hearts out every night—but unfortunately, that also won't win you many games. 

You need to do more than sit on your systems and hope that if you work harder, things will work out because the other coaches are making changes to ensure they will not. 

X's and O's can make an average player good and a good player great, and the right coach should be able to put their players in the best position to succeed. 

The most shining example of that may be Tampa Bay's John Cooper.

Cooper is brilliant and puts his players in the best position possible pretty much at all times. This post from Bolt Prospects pretty much says it all about him and his ability to not only coach, but to make the players he's coaching better.  

Consider this: Ondrej Palat, a seventh-round pick, and Tyler Johnson, an undrafted free agent, both technically rookies this season, have scored (or will score, in Johnson's case) more points in their rookie year than Steven Stamkos did in his. 

That's not a coincidence. 

Nolan needs a lot more Cooper in him to make this team what it can be. Demanding hard work is necessary for a coach, but it's only a piece of the puzzle. 

Of course, these concerns can be somewhat alleviated by having top-notch assistants at your disposal, something that Murray has likely insisted upon during negotiations, but is that a position a coach wants to be in? That would essentially turn Nolan into a glorified cheerleader.

The tricky part about all of this is Nolan is a great person to have in the organization. He has earned that much beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Yet, with a top-two pick all but in the bank and big-time prospects like Nikita Zadorov, Mark Pysyk, Joel Armia, Rasmus Ristolainen and Mikhail Grigorenko knocking at the door, the team needs someone that is not going to play them on the fourth line with John Scott and Matt Ellis because "it's fair." The future lies in those guys, and the guys that are a few more years away─see JT Compher, Hudson Fasching and Jake McCabe. 

These guys need to be leaned on and used properly, and not watching from the bench as Matt Ellis steals another few minutes from them. 

Basically what it comes down to is this: Nolan has a lot to prove to show he is the guy for next year, let alone three years. Realistically, let's face it, next year isn't likely to be much better either, and if Nolan is in place to lead the ship to wherever Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel is docked, so be it. 

But to be content with a coach that just wants his team to work hard is only going to have the Sabres toiling for many more years to come. 

Buffalo fans deserve a lot more than more Mike Milbury rants leveled at their coaches. 

Follow me on Twitter for NHL and Sabres news all season long: @SwordPlay18

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What could be one of the most talked about days in the Buffalo Sabres' history has come and gone, and probably with a lot less fanfare than many had hoped for or expected.

Even if that is true, the Sabres ended up shipping out four roster players and an NHL-ready prospect over the course of the past few days in various moves that will change the makeup of the franchise in the short term for sure.

Last Friday's deal with St. Louis for Ryan Miller and Steve Ott was the biggest for general manager Tim Murray and the Sabres, but three more deals came on Wednesday. 

The first was a bit of a surprise as Murray moved Brayden McNabb, Johnathan Parker and a pair of second-round picks to the Los Angeles Kings for wingers Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslaurier. 

The second and third deals were announced after the 3 p.m., deadline. One saw Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick head to the Minnesota Wild for two second-round picks and Torrey Mitchell, with the other seeing Jaroslav Halak and a third-round pick swapped with the Washington Capitals for Michal Neuvirth and Rostislav Klesla. 

Many have scoffed at the return for Moulson, and it is lower than what many had predicted in the weeks leading up to Wednesday. Yet, as a number of writers have pointed out, including Sean Gentille of the Sporting News and Travis Hughes of SB Nation, this was not the seller's market it was touted to be. 

This is almost certainly why, as Hughes also pointed out, that other big names on the Sabres roster like Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Myers, Chris Stewart and Drew Stafford also stayed put. All of those players have at least one more year left on their current contract, and there was no pressure on Murray to trade them for the sake of trading them. 

Simply put, it's going to take a huge package or a very good, very established player to pry Ehrhoff or Myers away from the Sabres, and Stewart and Stafford will likely require a good prospect a few years into his development. 

Those were not the prices rival GMs were willing to pay Wednesday, something that typically changes around the draft. 

So, where does all of this leave the Sabres moving forward?

In the immediate short term, meaning the final 21 games of the regular season, the Sabres may be spectacularly bad. The loss of Miller hasn't been felt yet with Jhonas Enroth playing well, but neither he or Neuvirth are going to steal games the way Miller did this year.

Moulson was the team's third-best goal scorer in his time here and was technically its leader if you count his six New York Islanders tallies. 

The six-point lead the Edmonton Oilers have on the Sabres for 29th place as of Thursday afternoon is looking more and more solid, isn't it?

Even with the three-game winning streak in their corner, the Sabres still have an 84 percent chance at finishing in last place, according to Sports Club Stats, with the next closest being the Oilers at a 12 percent.

With the guaranteed top-two pick last place gives them, the Sabres are able to address their thin forward corps with a player that should factor in immediately. 

The only question is who the Sabres will take with that pick, and the answer may be getting a bit clearer. 

The consensus is that the Sabres will look to Sam Reinhart, and Murray's moves at the deadline may show his hand a bit as to the type of team he is creating, with the acquisitions of Fasching and Deslaurier speaking the loudest. 

Fasching was a first-round talent that slipped into the fourth round because of a poorly-timed down year leading up to the 2013 draft. He is a beast on the walls and has a scoring touch, as shown by his excellent freshman year at the University of Minnesota.

He also was easily one of the best players for the United States at this year's World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden. 

Deslaurier is a bit further along in his development having played three years in the AHL with Manchester, but a recent switch from defense to wing has catapulted him ahead. At the time of Wednesday's trade, he led the Monarchs in goals with 18 and is seen as a power forward-type wing that can help push the play into the attacking zone. 

With the arrival of those two, plus a similarly suited William Carrier in the Miller deal, Murray seems to be building his team from the wing with big, skilled guys that can forecheck as well as score. 

But skilled wings need skilled centers, and it looks more and more like Murray will look to address the pivot in the draft. Reinhart is the easy choice, but Leon Draisaitl fits the mold as well. Both stand at 6'1", with Draisaitl outweighing Reinhart by about 25 pounds, but both have the puck moving abilities the skilled wings will need. Sam Bennett will also be in the conversation. 

But, realistically, this part of the discussion is only addressing one of the four, possibly five, first-round selections that Murray has to work with in the next two drafts. There has been a huge influx of talent the past few days, and that trend looks like it will have no choice but to continue. 

But, right now, it comes down to this: The Sabres will likely pick first or second in June's draft. Beyond that, there is some uncertainty, but the Islanders' failure to acquire a first rounder for Thomas Vanek likely means they will keep their 2014 first rounder and the Sabres will have the rights to their 2015 first rounder. 

Couple that with the first-round pick the Sabres already own from St. Louis and next year's draft may be even more important than this year's despite the high pick. 

But Murray seems to have a plan, and while the team certainly did not get better Wednesday, no one really expected that to happen. This team will get better piece-by-piece over time, and Murray was impressive in his first deadline. 

Now let's just get this draft over with so we can obsess about this guy a bit more.

Follow me on Twitter for NHL and Sabres news all season long: @SwordPlay18.

 

 

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The Buffalo Sabres have reportedly agreed to send forwards Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to the Minnesota Wild for yet-to-be-determined draft picks and forward Torrey Mitchell, rounding out a rapid day of deadline deals across the NHL.

The Sabres confirmed the trade:

John Vogl of The Buffalo News first reported the deal, citing sources close to the situation:

The NHL's collective bargaining agreement requires all trades to be completed by 3 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, though the league allows some time for teams to call in to the league office.

Moulson's departure has seemed like a foregone conclusion for weeks. An unrestricted free agent this summer, the 30-year-old winger seemed unlikely to return with a Buffalo club going through a rebuilding project.

The Sabres came into Wednesday with an NHL-low 44 points and were working the phones hard to unload aging stars—especially over the past week.

They traded goalie and Team USA star Ryan Miller along with team co-captain Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues in the wee hours of Saturday morning, sparking a rapid-fire sale of top players nearing the open market.

Earlier Wednesday, Buffalo's Twitter account announced that the team was continuing the rebuilding effort by sending draft picks and prospects Brayden McNabb and Jonathan Parker to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for highly touted youngsters Nicolas Deslauriers and Hudson Fasching.

Neither Deslauriers nor Fasching have played in the NHL yet, but they are among the best prospects at their respective positions. 

According to Vogl, the Sabres also reportedly have another, unknown move awaiting league approval:

As for Moulson, this trade ends an almost nonexistent stint in Buffalo. Acquired 11 games into the season from the New York Islanders, Moulson was expected to give the scuffling Sabres an offensive boost that never quite came. He scored an okay 29 points in 44 games in a Buffalo uniform while being afforded his highest average ice time since 2010-11.

A three-time 30-goal scorer, Moulson has been more of a distributor in each of the last two years. However, when speaking with reporters earlier this week, he seemed hopeful that he could begin focusing on hockey again once the deadline was over:

“I’ve enjoyed my time in Buffalo, and I’ve been treated great by everyone,” Moulson said. “They have directions they want to take the team. They have to make business moves, and I understand that, so we’ll just see what happens.”

McCormick is certainly the lesser of the two acquisitions, but he could help the Wild in sporadic appearances. With the Sabres since 2010, the 30-year-old center has appeared in a total of 37 games over the past two seasons, scoring just five points.

Mitchell, 29, has mostly just been a guy who's hung around for most of his career.

He spent four seasons with the San Jose Sharks from 2007-12 before coming to Minnesota before last season. He's scored only 17 points over 103 games as a member of the Wild, but with the Sabres rebuilding, he could see an increase in playing time.

The important thing here for Buffalo is adding draft picks, which can help continue the franchise overhaul. Minnesota, in the midst of a playoff battle and in need of some offensive punch, had draft picks to spare and might be a contender to sign Moulson long-term.

 

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With a chance to reflect on the events of the past 72 hours, Buffalo Sabres fans probably have a lot more questions than answers. 

Friday, Ryan Miller and Steve Ott were traded to the St. Louis Blues for two players likely to be moved by Wednesday's trade deadline, a largely unknown prospect and two draft picks. 

Saturday, president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine stepped down after being on the job for just over three months, with the official reason being that he wanted to get back to his job with the NHL in New York. 

Sunday, general manager Tim Murray and Sabres president Ted Black held a press conference where the main takeaway was that Ted Nolan likely has a job as the Sabres head coach, if he wants it. 

Quite the roller coaster, to say the least. 

While the trade and the topic of Nolan's future are extremely important in the both the short and long term, LaFontaine's resignation has dominated the headlines since the official announcement Saturday night. 

Yet, unlike the other two developments, it's unlikely this has much, if any, of an affect on the Sabres' future. 

LaFontaine held a position only a few NHL teams even have, and the Sabres seemed to piggyback off of the fanfare surrounding the creation of the same position in Colorado for Joe Sakic last spring. Sakic hired Patrick Roy as coach and essentially stripped general manager Greg Sherman of everything but his title, putting the team in his hands.

The same cannot be said of LaFontaine's position. 

Despite being the head of the hockey arm of the franchise, with his decision to pursue a traditional GM when he was hired, many questioned his role moving forward with the franchise. 

With the hiring of Tim Murray last month, that question needed a real answer. It seems LaFontaine started to ask that question but didn't like the response he was getting. 

Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal tweeted Saturday that LaFontaine was not pleased with the role he was going to be relegated to moving forward. This was a problem, albeit a stupid problem given that this should have been addressed prior to this, but a problem nevertheless.  

Basically, what it seems to come down to is this: LaFontaine wanted a role like Sakic's, with the GM there to serve essentially as an adviser, and he hired Murray, a first-time GM with a ton of personnel experience, to make that structure easier to facilitate.

Apparently, Terry Pegula had other ideas. 

This is not especially surprising because, if you remember, Pegula had asked LaFontaine to be the GM when he hired him in November, but LaFontaine said he wasn't cut out for that role. At that point, it really wouldn't have mattered if the team had brought in a GM to advise him—LaFontaine wouldn't have inspired much confidence in his ability to create a team with a first impression like that. 

Instead, Murray was hired, and it seems he was given the keys to the car and LaFontaine was not happy about it. 

Being relegated to essentially a figurehead, LaFontaine probably felt he was scorned and stepped down, leaving Murray in essentially the same position he was in before: the guy in charge. 

That is probably the only takeaway from this in the long term, too. 

Is this embarrassing for the organization? Absolutely. Does it kick the fans while they are down? Of course.

It's never good to have a high-level executive come in and create a ton of positive buzz around the team, then step down three months later under the impression he was misled. If NHL teams had stock, the Sabres' would fall even further after something like that happening. This is cause for concern and should not be completely overlooked.

Yet, realistically, if Murray was going to take the reins anyway, LaFontaine wasn't going to have much day-to-day input to begin with. Furthermore, it also seems like Tim Murray is the guy you want moving things forward. 

With Murray's no-frills demeanor and the stable of prospects and picks the Sabres own right now, the future still looks incredibly bright. Sure, it would have been great to have LaFontaine along for the ride, but Murray has given Sabres fans no reason whatsoever to think that he will not be able to bring this team back from the dead by himself. 

The only question now is what Murray is going to do about Ted Nolan. 

Publicly, Murray has supported Nolan, saying yesterday in his presser that he wanted him to coach the team beyond this season. This is going to be the lasting part of this saga, and it will likely stretch on into the offseason. 

It was said in multiple places this weekend, but with all the new questions, it is important to remember that if there is anything to hang your hat on, it's that the three months LaFontaine was with the Sabres gave them Tim Murray. 

So, is this bad in the short term? Yes, of course, but the fact that they're hitting the reset button should diminish the lasting effects, if there are any at all. 

In Timmy we trust.

 

Follow me on Twitter for NHL and Sabres news all season: @SwordPlay18.

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The wait is over.

Last night, with their game with the San Jose Sharks closing in, the Buffalo Sabres traded their star netminder Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a conditional 2014 third-round pick. 

In the end, Miller ended up on the team many believed he would benefit from the most and the Sabres now have a pile of assets to move forward with. 

The ironic part of this trade is that despite the end of the Miller and Ott speculation that has raged for months, it opens the door to speculation involving the two roster players the Sabres acquired in Halak and Stewart. 

Halak is a unrestricted free agent at the end of the year who can, and likely will, walk at the end of the season. He's been great in years past, but has struggled at times this year. He has posted solid numbers with 2.23 goals against average and a .917 save percentage, but that was aided by the strong St. Louis defense. 

The positive for the Sabres? That will not matter much to a team looking to cement their goaltending moving into the playoffs. 

Halak will obviously not provide the same spark as Miller, but he can help strengthen a platoon for a playoff run. The teams that missed out on Miller may still be interested in adding Halak, who will certainly come cheaper than Miller would have in the first place. It would not be surprising at all to see Halak wearing a different sweater by Wednesday's trade deadline. 

Stewart is a more complicated case. 

A two-time 28 goal scorer, Stewart is a physical presence who knows how to get the puck to, and in, the net. If Steve Ott could score, he would be Stewart. 

But Stewart, with the emergence of Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, has seen his ice time cut significantly and his role diminishing. He hasn't lost his scoring touch, though, as he managed to still score 15 goals despite his smaller role—and he will instantly slot into the Sabres' top-six forwards. 

Yet, much like Halak, there continues to be buzz that the Sabres will flip him as well. 

Stewart has another year left on his deal at a reasonable $4.15 million (via CapGeek), making him infinitely easier to trade. He also has the potential to bring in more assets for the future, or a younger roster player. 

The team to keep an eye on here is the Ottawa Senators. They were reportedly interested in Stewart's services before the trade to Buffalo, but it was rumored they were asking for a substantial return for him, including Ryan Callahan from the Rangers according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun

The Sabres likely value him a bit less and would likely be willing to part with him for less than the Blues. Not to mention the reports from Bob McKenzie of TSN last night before the trade details were finalized that the Sabres-Blues swap could have included the Sens as a third team. 

McKenzie went further after the trade details were announced, saying that Ottawa is still interested in Stewart and that the Sabres would likely try to send him there. He also hinted at a potentially larger deal including Matt Moulson, another player the Sens have had their eye on from the Sabres—never mind the Tim Murray connection to Ottawa. 

Needless to say, with those two the questions will continue until at least Wednesday. 

As for the futures portion of the trade, Tim Murray definitely gave himself some assets to work with. 

Carrier, the Blues' second-round selection last year, was ranked number 18 in Central Scouting's final rankings entering the 2013 draft, ahead of Nikita Zadorov (22), JT Compher (34) and Justin Bailey (38). He slid because of an ankle injury that ended his season, but he posted 41 points in 39 games on a poor Cape Breton team in the QMJHL

Carrier is an excellent skater who can get to the net with speed and power. He also has an NHL-caliber shot and can create for himself and others. He doesn't come with the pedigree of a Ty Rattie, but he is an excellent pickup. 

On top of Carrier, the Sabres received two draft picks: a 2015 first-round selection and a conditional 2014 third-round selection. 

The 2015 first rounder likely gives the Sabres three selections in the first round next year, assuming the New York Islanders hold on to their first rounder this year. This is obviously great news for Murray in what is touted as an extremely deep draft. 

The conditional 2014 pick is a bit more interesting. The Sabres reported that the pick has the potential to become a 2014 first-round selection if Miller re-signs with the Blues this offseason or if the Blues make the Western Conference Finals this year. 

That is huge news for the Sabres and is actually likely to happen given the strength of St. Louis' team this year. That could guarantee the Sabres five first rounders in the next two drafts, with a sixth likely on its way from Matt Moulson.

Overall, it seems as though Murray has shown his mettle to Sabres fans by scoring a haul from the Blues for two pending UFAs. The exciting part is that he likely isn't done with some of the pieces, with Halak and Stewart likely being the topic of speculation for a couple of more days. 

Realistically, what else should Sabres fans expect?

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