As has become tradition as of late, the Buffalo Sabres had some early success in 2019-20 -- starting the season 9-2-1 -- before experiencing some choppy waters thereafter. At the March pause, they were fighting for a playoff berth.
Unfortunately, they were the final team on the outside looking in on the 24-team tournament when the league restarted, thus ensuring another season of Jack Eichel's career would be spent outside of the postseason spotlight.
This offseason was a whirlwind, including a new GM taking charge, a major trade and the belle of the free-agency ball picking Buffalo as his preferred spot for 2020-21. Here's everything you need to know about the Sabres prior to opening night.
The big question: Can they make the playoffs?
The Sabres' playoff drought has reached a league-high nine seasons, and ownership, players and fans are getting antsy. There's no question this team is heading in the right direction under coach Ralph Krueger (despite going through yet another offseason GM change) and the one-year Taylor Hall deal adds a level of urgency.