We all knew from the start that the 2013-14 season would be about looking ahead for the Buffalo Sabres.
With 49 games still remaining in a year that is going down in history for its futility, it's already time to start gazing toward June 27 in Philadelphia when the Sabres will start building for their future through the draft.
The team looks likely to finish the season with the worst record in the league, which would guarantee it a top-two pick after the draft lottery is completed. Buffalo also may have a second high first-round pick courtesy of the New York Islanders.
The pick dealt in the Thomas Vanek trade could stay with the Sabres, or it could be deferred to the 2015 draft if it's a top-10 pick.
Some speculate the Islanders may allow the Sabres to have the pick wherever it is, however, to hold onto what may be a more valuable pick in the following year's draft. What happens there remains to be seen.
But with one very high pick guaranteed, and another possible, let's take a look at five prospects the Sabres should be considering once this season is over and rebuilding can officially begin.