The only things I have to see from the players for the remainder of this season is dedication to playing hard and smart hockey every shift, for 60 minutes. They can lose 90% of their games, but if they show that they have the hearts and brains of real NHL level talent, I'll take that as a positive leading into '18.
Howie, has lots of work to do to prove he can be a head coach in this league. He's shown that he is not a savant behind the bench. No indication of any D whisperer talents as many had dreamed. Barring a total meltdown, he is back next year and he better be ready because the door is ajar and he might be thrown out if this team is not at least .500 at Christmas. There might also be some Asst. Coaching changes that would be helpful.
JBots, is the sorry soul that has an unenviable task ahead of him in the coming 8 months. He has to figure out every single player on this team, the Amerks, the guys still in juniors, free agents, etc., etc., etc. Eichel may be the only player truly safe from being moved. I foresee at least 2 new tenders, 2-3 new D men and 4-8 new forwards for the start of next season. Lots of change, but 2 changes that MUST happen…… a real #1 NHL quality goal tender and a Captain (not Eichel, there is a reason there is not a skater wearing the C this year. Credit to Howie and JBots for seeing that). The Captain needs to be an established and experienced guy with impeccable credentials and the ability to lead. Everything from the wise old grandpa to the kick ass drill sergeant. That guy is not in this organization, and is sorely needed. I hope for several moves by the trading deadline and I want to see the kids in Rochester stay intact and get a good playoff run together, without having to fill in for late season injuries. Let the Sabres play it out, while allowing the kids to grow and develop together.
I've given up hope for this year. Maybe they get to 60 points, but I'm not holding my breath.