1. At the deadline, trade Connolly, Rivet, Niedermeyer, Grier for whatever you can get in return from the highest bidder, whether in the division or not (none of these guys are good enough, or yound enough to hurt us for a long time except Connolly, and we all know he won't be healthy enough to do that).
-Why? They're all bad at best, horrible at worst, and this team needs a makeover, badly. Out with the OLD, we need new.
----------After the Deadline/Off-Season
2. Re-Sign Montador to a deal that is maybe 2-3 years in length for about $2.5M/yr.
-Why? Well because of a move I propose below, he becomes a bit more necessary, and he is pretty responsible, is willing to fight, plays hard, is a leader, and pairs well with Leopold IMO, and we all see how chemistry does work with these two, and doesn't (Myers without Tallinder)
3. Trade Drew Stafford to Vancouver for Cody Hodgson, or trade Stafford to Los Angeles for Schenn (maybe something would need to be added in either deal, I'm not sure, but hey, this is fantasy off-season, so I'm saying Stafford to Los Angeles for Hodgson straight up, or maybe Stafford and a 3rd.
-Why? Stafford is becoming a pretty good player IMO. But in order for this team to win a cup, they need help at center, badly. Signing Brad Richards, or trading for Mike Ribero, or another older veteran IMO is not the way to go. Look at the best teams in the league right now... Pittsburgh (Crosby, Malkin, Staal), Philadelphia (Richards, Carter, Giroux, Briere), Vancouver (Sedin, Kesler), Boston (Bergeron, Kreji, Seguin, and Savard even though he's on IR... again), Chicago (Toews, Sharp, Bolland). All these teams have at least two guys who could be the Sabres top pivot, and most have at least 3 guys that are widely considered top-6 forwards that can play center.
4. Trade Andrej Sekera to Boston for Blake Wheeler. Perfect deal for both teams, Sekera re-unites with Olympic pal Chara, Wheeler re-unites with collegiate pal Vanek.
-Why? The Stafford deal leaves an opening at right wing. Sekera is solid, but I feel he won't be a top-3 defensemen in his career, at least with the Sabres. With Boston and Chara, maybe. Wheeler meanwhile, has the ability to become a top-6 forward, and can play either wing, or even center, which adds to his value, plus he's got great size.
5. Use whatever picks we get from dealing Connoly et. al. at the deadline plus our own 2011/2nd OR 2011/3rd round picks, plus Chris Butler if anyone wants him, in order to move up and select one of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sean Couturier, Ryan Strome, or Jonathan Huberdeau (I realize Nugent-Hopkins and Couturier are extreme extreme longshots, just saying they need to move up in order to grab one of the top four center prospects). If they still have their own second or third round pick, use that/those to draft centers as well (i.e. Michael St. Croix).
-Why? As stated before, the top teams have center depth. An organizational depth chart at center that read something like... Roy, Hecht?, Hodgson/Schenn, Gaustad, Strome, Adam, Byron, and St.Croix would make this team 100x deeper at center than it was coming into this season (Roy, Connolly, Hecht? Gaustad, Niedermeyer, Adam, Byron). Not sure if we're considering Hecht a center for next season, willing to do it either way IMO.
6. During the free agency period, the Sabres should make a hard push for a good two-way, veteran defenseman, who can be signed to a short term contract, i.e. Ed Jovanovski (34), Roman Hamrlik (36), Chris Phillips (32), Jan Hejda (32), in order to give Tyler Myers what he needs... a quality two-way responsible veteran presence on the other side of him who can log minutes. My hope would be Phillips, Jovanovski, or Hamrlik, in that order, signed to maybe a 2 year deal.
-Why? To get Myers back to where he was last year and have a true top pairing of defensemen. Also, I believe a veteran is a better idea than signing a guy like Pitkanen or Kaberle because, whomever they sign they will likely try to pair with Myers. Neither Kaberle or Pitkanen really fit with Myers, they're all too similar in that they like to rush the puck up the ice themselves. Myers needs a guy he knows he can count on to bail him out so he has the confidence to really rush the puck up the ice. A guy like Phillips could do this. I know he's had a bad season, but he's been a good player for a long time and isn't that old. Also, the Sabres have a number of prospects coming up in the ranks, i.e. Drew Schiestel (despite the injury) Marc-Andre Gragniani (although I doubt he'll ever be more than a seventh defenseman), T.J. Brennan, Dennis Persson (who looks much better this season than last), and most promisingly Brayden McNabb (who I believe would eventually make a great partner with Myers) and Mark Pysyk (who I feel will eventually be the number three defensemen paired long-term with Weber).
So the roster would look something like this...
L1 Vanek Roy Wheeler
L2 Ennis Hecht Pominville
L3 Gerbe Gaustad Kassian
L4 McCormick Adam Kaleta
ex1 Ellis Hodgson/Schenn Mancari
ex2 Foligno Byron Tropp
ex3 St. Croix Strome Parrish
(With Hodgson/Schenn whichever was picked battling Hecht for that 2nd line center position along with Paul Byron and Luke Adam as long shots)