Given the inability for Darcy to pull in one of the "right now" offensive guys, the reality that the Sabres will have to enter the free agent market in earnest on July 5 has set in.
No one expects this team to compete for the Stanley Cup next season, but with or without Ryan Miller and/or Thomas Vanek, they certainly want them to be competitive.
Enter one of the bigger name free agents.
With the realization that Kevin Porter is still penciled in to the opening night lineup, the Sabres need to pick someone up. Who that is may completely depend on how outrageous the free agent market gets.
A few names to keep an eye on: Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss, Danny Briere, Tyler Bozak and Viktor Stalberg.
Horton and Weiss will be the most expensive of that group, with Horton likely asking for upwards of $6 million a year for a five-plus year deal, and Weiss probably in the five year, $5 million per year range.
Briere will be cheaper considering his struggles the past few seasons, but his chemistry with Vanek goes back a long way and could be a big part in a playoff birth next year.
Bozak and Stalberg are fringe guys that may succeed in different roles than they had on their old teams. They won't be super expensive, but risky given the essential flyer you'd be taking on them.