Buffalo Sabres at a glance
LAST SEASON: 23-51-8, 54 points. Last-place in NHL for second consecutive year.
COACH: Dan Bylsma (first season, seventh NHL season).
PLAYER TO WATCH: Eichel. Selected with the No. 2 pick in the NHL draft in June, the Boston University product and college hockey's MVP last season has already showed flashes of his ''once-in-a-generation'' billing with an effortless skating style and play-making potential. He impressed coach Bylsma, who noted Eichel's play away from the puck is better than anticipated. With O'Reilly centering top line, the 18-year-old will immediately step in to center second line.
OUTLOOK: Finally looking up in Buffalo after two seasons of upheaval during which general manager Tim Murray purged team of veteran high-priced talent, and re-stocked it with a young, promising core. The newcomers include forward Evander Kane, who is set to make Sabres debut. Kane was sidelined by a season-ending shoulder injury when Buffalo acquired him in a trade from Winnipeg in February. Goaltending remains a question mark, and it's unclear how long it will take for the many new pieces to start gelling. Premature to expect Buffalo to challenge for a playoff spot after two seasons in which team combined for NHL-lows with 44 wins and 303 goals.