Buffalo Sabres leave their mark on NHL history

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: (L-R) Phil Housley and Jason Botterill of the Buffalo Sabres attend the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: (L-R) Phil Housley and Jason Botterill of the Buffalo Sabres attend the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Sabres complete the worst home season in franchise history to become the first NHL team to ever finish in 31st place, but all hope is not lost.

Congratulations to the Buffalo Sabres. As a result of their 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night, they have officially clinched last place in the standings.

The fact the Swords got to do it in front of their own fans in the final home game of the season, only makes it that much more special. And to top it all off, they became the first team in NHL history to finish in 31st place.

Okay, so we’re being slightly facetious. However, as the saying goes, if you don’t laugh you’ll cry.

All joking aside though, we fully acknowledge Sabres fans have little reason to smile at the moment. Finishing bottom of the standings is no joke, as the team extended their playoff drought to a franchise-worst seven seasons.

This is now the third time the Sabres have finished last in five seasons. The problem is, unlike the last two occasions, they weren’t trying to finish bottom this time around.

If nothing else, coach Phil Housley remains defiant and optimistic, despite a poor season. As reported by the Associated Press via Sports Illustrated, Housley said:

"“I believe in this organization. I believe in our management. I believe we’re going to turn this thing around.”This is just where we are as a group,. Let’s be honest, we have a long way to go.”"

In that respect, the Sword have to now try and take advantage of their unfortunate position. They will hope it’s a case of third time lucky, when it comes to securing the top pick in this year’s entry draft.

The recently revised odds now mean the Sabres have a 18.5 percent chance of clinching the first pick. This doesn’t bode well, given the odds the last two times they finished last, were 25 percent and 20 percent respectively.

Given the Swords’ need to strengthen the blue line, they will almost certainly go for Rasmus Dahlin, if they do secure the top draft pick. He has been described as a defenseman with franchise-changing potential.

Looking at things more positively, even if the Sabres do fall down in the draft order, there are still other highly enticing options. If they stick with the plan to add a blue liner, Adam Boqvist and Noah Dobson are also top-notch talents.

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Still with the optimistic outlook, Housley can’t be blamed when saying he believes the team will turn things around. Consider that the Sabres have excellent talent, most notably with Jack EIchel, Ryan O’Reilly and Kyle Okposo.

Sam Reinhart has seen a resurgence during the second half of this season, as he added to his new season-best points total with an assist against the Senators. And let’s not forget the emerging young talents of Alex Nylander or Casey Mittelstadt, who has three assists in his first four career NHL games.

As a final note, the Senators loss added to the Sabres’ worst home season in franchise history. However, someone once said it’s often darkest just before the dawn’.

No one ever said losing is easy and this is undoubtedly the worst stretch for the Sabres, since entering the league in 1970. However, if the fans can hang in there just a little longer, they’re on the verge of being rewarded for their loyalty and long-term suffering.

Next: Reinhart goes from strength to strength

How would you sum up this season for the Buffalo Sabres? Further, where are you at with the franchise right now? Have you given up hope, or do you truly believe better days are ahead in the near future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.