This was the first season under general manager Tim Murray in which the Buffalo Sabres were expected to turn a corner. The stripping down of the roster was over. He added impressive pieces in the offseason, with trades for Ryan O'Reilly and Robin Lehner. Jack Eichel was plugged in as the franchise centerman. The blueprint was starting to become a reality.
Just as significant to the player additions was bringing in Dan Bylsma behind the bench.