The Buffalo Sabres fell just two points short of making the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. GM Kevyn Adams has been resolute in his plan to be patient and rely on the club developing internally, but he indicated that the Sabres could be looking outside the organization to address the club’s shortcomings.
“As we do our exit meetings and we’re talking about our roster, we’re also as a group identifying where we think we need to add, what type of player would we add if we could. So we kind of get those takeaways and then we go from there,” Adams said to WGR 550 on Wednesday. “This is also the time of year where it’s already started, (that) you’re touching base with everyone around the league, maybe not the teams that are playing, but the teams that are out to say ‘Okay, you’ve had your meetings, where are you guys at? What are you looking to do?’. If we make a trade at the draft, a lot of times those conversations are starting now.”
— Jeremy White 🚕 (@JeremyWGR) May 3, 2023
Buffalo had a breakout offensive season, finishing third in the NHL with 296 goals, but the Sabres allowed 300 goals against. That likely means that Adams would be looking to add a veteran on the blueline and potentially a goaltender.
Rasmus Dahlin posted a career-high 73 points and formed an effective pairing with countryman Mattias Samuelsson, but the club struggled when Samuelsson was out injured for two long stretches. Owen Power showed growth in his first full professional season, scoring 35 points and earning a Calder Trophy nomination. Ilya Lyubushkin was steady and solid in his first year with Buffalo after being signed as an unrestricted free agent.
What Adams Could Be Looking For?
Where Adams may be looking to add is an experienced right-handed defenseman to play with Power, to allow Lyubushkin and Henri Jokiharju to play more of a depth role. Possible options include Minnesota’s Matt Dumba, Florida’s Radko Gudas, and Scott Mayfield of the New York Islanders.
Both Adams and Granato in their season-ending media availabilities indicated they would be comfortable going into next season with the tandem of youngsters Devon Levi and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Levi, a two-time Mike Richter Award winner impressed in seven starts late in the season, but Luukkonen was inconsistent in his first full pro campaign.
With veteran Craig Anderson likely retiring and Eric Comrie not expected to be a factor, it is possible that Adams will explore the trade market or unrestricted free agency for an experienced netminder to partner with Levi.