Now that the Buffalo Sabres' opening game of the season is less than 72 hours away, it's time to really analyze what they have the potential to do this year. Both Lindy Ruff's and Darcy Regier's future rest with that potential. So what players does this team's success (or lack thereof) depend upon most?
Surprisingly enough, it's not Thomas Vanek or Jason Pominville.
Sure, they're both veteran leaders who Buffalo will need to produce offensively. But if they stay healthy, you know you're going to get that from them, no matter who their center is.
No, this team's playoff hopes rest more so with guys like the one who'll start the season in the middle of those two talented wingers.
Ahead, we're going to look at five players crucial to the Sabres' hopes in 2013, ranked in order of importance.