The Sabres are sellers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t bring someone to Buffalo. In fact, that should be their goal.
They need their next Daniel Briere.
Buffalo was a clear seller back in 2003. Captain Stu Barnes and fan favorite Rob Ray got shipped out. The following day, the Sabres traded center Chris Gratton for a youngster.
Briere, of course, became a charismatic face of the franchise. He led the team on and off the ice, helping Buffalo to back-to-back conference finals.
This edition of the Sabres needs another young player who can make a difference. Jack Eichel can hold his own on the ice and in the dressing room. Other players are having trouble embracing the role.
Ryan O’Reilly has disappeared too many times, including the last four games. With the Sabres hoping to avoid seller status, he put up no goals, one assist and a minus-3 rating. In the 21 losses he’s been part of, he has no goals, four assists and a minus-11. He demonstrates a great practice ethic, but his voice hasn’t dominated.
Kyle Okposo is another quiet player who leads by example. Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart are too inexperienced.
Briere was a sixth-year pro with a chip on his shoulder when he arrived in Buffalo. He wanted the puck and commanded attention. He relished the chance to make a difference.
As the Sabres continue their selling ways, they need to be on the lookout for a guy just like that.