The title of this series is “The best-managed teams in the NHL”, but it’ll be a while before we get to any squads that meet that definition.
Yes, we’re going from the bottom up. And the words of the team president of the absolute worst team on our list, we’re going to start with a real turd burger.
Before we get to why the Buffalo Sabres finished in dead last on our list, a quick explanation. By best-managed teams, we’re talking exclusively about on-ice performance in combination with bang-for-your-buck use of salary cap space. That is, which teams, in the four years leading up to this one, accumulated the most points using the least amount of cap space. Teams that manage their office HR or marketing aren’t the focus here.
So, without further ado, let’s jump in with our 31st place team.
In a league with a number of consistently hapless franchises, the Sabres really stand out for the consistency of their futility and the amount they’ve paid for the privilege over the years (see the menu at the top of the page for year-by-year cost per point performance).
Things weren’t supposed to be this way, this long. The Sabres drafted Jack Eichel second overall back in 2015, which should have been the start of a great resurgence in an amazing hockey market.
Jason Botteril slams his papers down after the Sabres loss to the Sens pic.twitter.com/jvfxmyKIox— Ben Mathewson (@Ben_Mathewson) February 19, 2020
Yeah, things are still super bad.
Meanwhile, instead of using the opportunity of having guys like Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen on entry-level deals early on, the Sabres have done things like pay Zach Bogosian, Brian Gionta, Kyle Okposo, and Matt Moulson $4 million-plus each.
For being consistently bad at both money and hockey, the Sabres get the dishonour of being named the worst-managed team in the NHL.