LAST SEASON: 21-51-10, 52 points. Missed the playoffs by finishing 16th in the Eastern Conference.
COACH: Ted Nolan, 4th season with Sabres (including 1995-97), 90-98-28; 6th overall in NHL.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Reinhart. Selected with the No. 2 pick in the draft in June, the son of former NHLer Paul Reinhart is being given every opportunity to crack the season-opening lineup before his 19th birthday on Nov. 6. He was a play-making forward during three-plus seasons in the Western Hockey League, and is being counted upon to add immediate offense to a team that scored a post-NHL-expansion-era low 150 goals.
OUTLOOK: The Sabres can't be much worse after setting a franchise record for losses during a tumultuous season in which they changed their coach and general manager, and purged much of their veteran core, including trading goalie Ryan Miller. They've added veteran leadership (Gionta and Gorges) to complement their youth movement. And yet, the Sabres have too many questions marks - particularly in net, where Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth are competing for the starting job - to consider them playoff contenders.