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Hamilton Take 2: The Sabres' window to win is now opening

"I think the next step in Kevyn Adams vision for this team is right here and now. He must get a top-4 defenseman," WGRZ Sabres insider Paul Hamilton says.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — When was the last time you heard this about the Buffalo Sabres? "We can’t be scared of expectations. Last year, there were no expectations, but how do you do it with expectations? There’s going to be lofty expectations next year. We can’t run from that.

"You have to set your goal, and should our goal be to make the playoffs? Should our goal be to be two points better than we were this year? No, that’s expected. You set the goal of winning the Stanley Cup, and then you don’t touch that and you don’t let that weight you down at all from the day-to-day of the season. You take every day and you get better. But the time is now, and our window I think is opening. We have to be prepared for that, and everybody has got to come better, starting with me. That’s the expectation that we have to set."

Let that sink in for just a second. The captain of the Buffalo Sabres said the goal has been set and it’s not making the playoffs, it’s winning the Stanley Cup. Kyle Okposo signed a new one-year contract on Wednesday and his message to his team and to the fans is that the team’s window is now opening and they have to be prepared for it and not hide from it.

For fans, that is a welcome change to what they’ve seen and heard for 12 years, which was who will they take with the high draft pick because they're still one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League.

I think the next step in Kevyn Adams vision for this team is right here and now. He must get a top-four defenseman for this team, and the time has come to use some of the young talent as currency to get that done. Signed from recent drafts are Matt Savoie, Noah Ostlund, Jiri Kulich, Viktor Neuchev, Vsevolod Komarov, Owen Power, Isak Rosen, Aleksandr Kisakov, Josh Bloom (Since traded to Vancouver), Olivier Nadeau, Tyson Kozak, Jack Quinn, JJ Peterka, Dylan Cozens, Filip Cederqvist, and Lukas Rousek.

Take all those guys and mix them in with Rasmus Dahlin, Tage Thompson, Devon Levi, Mattias Samuelsson, Peyton Krebs, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, you have a lot of very good players and a lot of good currency to use to get some of the holes you need to fill.

You could maybe even use Casey Mittelstadt for this. The former first-round pick had his best season with 15 goals and 44 assists for 59 points. He’s still only 23 years old and could be very attractive to a team that needs forwards, but is willing to give up that defenseman that Buffalo needs. Depending on the player, the Sabres likely would have to sweeten the deal with a high pick, but that’s fine.

Let me take you back one more time, the captain of the Buffalo Sabres said that the Sabres window is opening and they can’t hide from the expectations. THAT’S why you bring back Kyle Okposo. He’s one of the best leaders to ever pull on the Sabres crest, and his teammates respect him so much that they all wanted him back.

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