Well the final horn has sounded for the Buffalo Sabres 2016-2017 season. As the playoffs loom and young teams like the Maple Leafs and Oilers fresh off their rebuilds get a taste of that sweet sweet post-season nectar, the young, frustrated Sabres again find themselves on the outside looking in. Now going into the season, Sabres brass made it abundantly clear that the goal of the organization from this season on was to win a Stanley Cup. Fans knew that playoffs weren't a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination, but the team was expected to be competitive and to at least be in the hunt for the majority if not all of the season. What the fans got was decidedly lackluster play by a poorly crafted roster, decimated by injuries. On the last practice before the first game of the season, Jack Eichel suffered a high ankle sprain. This forced him out of play for 21 games. That injury killed any momentum the Sabres were carrying from the hype of the offseason and sent them into a stumbling first part of the season. Injuries to Evander Kane, Ryan O'Reilly, Kyle Okposo, Tyler Ennis, and every defenseman besides Ristolainen made it very difficult for the team to ever find its feet. The biggest flaw this season, however, was the terribly crafted blueline. GMTM failed to build a decent defensive core and the team suffered for it. Ristolainen was studly as always. Jake McCabe emerged as an extremely capable top 4 defenseman. Brendan Guhle looked very good during his emergency call up which begged the question of why he didn't make the starting roster to begin with. Other than those three, the defense looked like the snail race from Spongebob. The crappy defense forced head coach Dan Bylsma to play a horrendously slow defensive trap with his offense. A strategy that seriously stifled the offensive brilliance of the fast, skilled Sabres forward core. This seriously miffed every single Sabres fan. The Sabres finished 3rd last in goal scoring with some serious threats on their team. Sad! Silver linings of this step back are few but they exist. Jack Eichel has proved he is a top 10 scorer. Evander Kane is finally playing at an elite level and reminding everyone why he and Victor Hedman were a toss up at the draft. Robin Lehner (although getting a lot of flack) has had a breakout season. I don't think he is going to be our goalie of the future (that guy is cooking in Notre Dame), but he put up good numbers, and barring a few terrible games, he gave his team a good chance to win. Alex Nylander looked good in his 2 game call up. He had one assist. The kid needs to take a page out of Eichel's book and hit the weight room before next season to put on some pounds, but when he's ready, look out NHL. His older brother William has said of him that he always was the bigger, faster, stronger of the two of them. I like that statement. I hope for next year that GMTM can build a better d core befitting a contender. I also hope that we get rid of dead weight like Moulson, Gorges, maybe even Gionta? and replace them with the talented and speedy players that have been slow baking in Rochester. One other request is to please get rid of Dan Bylsma. He is not the right coach for this team. He plays too defensively and he isn't doing a good job with letting the young superstars play their own game. Sutter just got fired from L.A. Lindy Ruff(!!!!!!) just got let go by Dallas. Lindy was a legend in Buffalo and he was great at developing the game of young, speedy, offensive players like Jason Pomminville, Chris Drury, Danny Briere, Thomas Vanek, and Maxime Afinagenov. I think he'd be a good fit for this Sabres team. Hopefilly next year the Sabres can be playoff bound.