As of 1-12-11, the Sabres are seated in the curious position of being 10 points out of a playoff spot, and just 1 point out of the draft lottery to pluck the #1 pick in the upcoming draft.
It's "playoffs or bust," literally.
After last night's games (and the Sbares' loss to Philly), SportsClubStats.com dropped the Sabres likelihood of making the playoffs to 7.1%.
It's a dire situation, indeed - even if the Sabres notch a 23-12-5 record in the remaining games, they will mathematically finish with a 43.8% chance to sneak into the top 8.
What makes it all more tragic is the possibility that they will finish out of the playoffs, and also out of the lottery. The teams ahead of them are too consistently good, and the teams behind them are too consistently bad.
Also, there is no clear cut #1 pick in this year's draft - with the International Scouting Service and the NHL Scouting Department considering 5 or more candidates to be taken 1st overall in this year's draft. No Gretzky prototypes this year.
The trade deadline is not far away. If the Sabres aren't close to the 8th seed soon, players with market value like Tim Connolly and Steve Montador will be sent packing in order to rebuild, which would yield the team in the direction of the lottery. If the Sabres still show hope, they actually could look to add players to the roster to make a long lunge at a playoff spot.
And of course, with Terry Pegula visiting the HSBC arena yesterday, new ownership could make moot all mathematical and rhetorical arguments surrounding the future of this franchise.
New ownership brings tear-down change.
Maybe Pegula will tear down those nasty slugs from the Arena jumbotron, too.