No one change is going to turn this Buffalo Sabres season around.
With just two regulation wins in 30 games—and a total of just 14 points—the Sabres are deep in the NHL's basement. The real changes are going to begin to come during the offseason, when their putrid record will almost guarantee the team a top-three pick in the 2014 draft. And, depending on what the New York Islanders choose to do with the pick from the Thomas Vanek trade, a second high first-round pick may be in the Sabres' pocket, too.
(The Islanders, who currently have the NHL's second-worst record, ahead of only Buffalo, have the option to defer the traded pick to the 2015 draft if it's a top-10 selection. They may choose to hedge their bets, though, as the 2015 draft is generally considered to have more talent than the upcoming one—including Connor McDavid, "the LeBron James of hockey.")
But in the short term, the Sabres need to find ways to simply make their games more entertaining for fans to watch, keeping the seats filled at First Niagara Center during this long, painful transition period.
Here is one goal each of the four Buffalo Sabres lines should have as the team looks to keep fans interested during the 52 (dear God, is it really that many?) games that still remain in the 2013-14 season.
Note: Sabres line combinations have been in constant flux this season as players have gone in and out of the roster and as interim coach Ted Nolan has attempted to find a new identity for the team. For the sake of this article, I'll be thinking about the latest combination of lines, trotted out at the team's practice Monday morning:
New combinations at practice: Moulson-Ennis-Girgensons. Foligno-Ott-Stafford. Adam-Hodgson-D'Agostini. Scott-Leino/McCormick-Flynn. #Sabres— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) December 9, 2013