It seems ‘OneBuffalo’ knows a little something about ‘tanking’ as a strategy for turning around moribund sports franchises. The “Tank Year” for the Buffalo Sabres was originally thought to be the 2014-5 season – and afterward the Sabres selected Jack Eichel with the second overall pick.
However, as fate would have it the Sabres actually tanked last season when they didn’t intend to (only Buffalo fans can appreciate the irony) and ended up drafting generational defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the first overall pick.
Finishing last in the NHL doesn’t even guarantee the first overall pick as it does in the NFL, so the hockey gods had to align in order for the Sabres to land Dahlin.
Beane v Botterill
When the Bills made the playoffs last season in a most unexpected fashion, all bets were off about whether or not the Bills would also contend this year.
Or, would this become the Bills’ “Year of the Tank”?
Turns out tanking reigned supreme in Buffalo once again. We can only hope the result of having to stomach an entire season disposing of dead cap space will be the same for the Bills as it has been so far for the Sabres.
The Sabres went from last in the league to one of the top teams in the NHL at this point in their exciting season.
So, does ‘OneBuffalo’ mean Brandon Beane will be forever compared to Sabres’ general manager Jason Botterill with what choices he makes during the upcoming Bills’ off season?
Botterill literally committed grand larceny during the off season with the haul he got out of the St. Louis Blues in the Ryan O’Reilly trade (1st 2019. 2nd 2021. Tage Thompson. Sobotka. Berglund).
This year, his counterpart Mr. Beane chose to purge the vast majority of the Bills’ dead cap space in one gigantic gulp and their 4-9 record to date is the result.
Armed with mega-cap space and 10 draft picks, can Beane match Botterill’s genius and engineer a rapid turnaround for the Bills? That would be the best Christmas present BillsMafia could hope for.
Editor’s babble: These are the questions that keep me up at night. OK, not really. But perhaps an unintended consequence of ‘OneBuffalo’ is that the Bills and Sabres front offices will always be compared to one another in direct fashion. Your move, Brandon. If this blab isn’t bad enough, you can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.