Predicting when every NHL team will win its next Stanley Cup

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Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres can only look forward from here on out. Seven straight years of not clinching a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (2011-2018) will soon be erased when the team establishes itself as a playoff contender in due time.

No, the Sabres more than likely won’t make the playoffs in 2019, but that doesn’t mean that they’re far off from winning Buffalo’s first ever Stanley Cup. With franchise skaters in place such as Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin and Casey Mittelstadt, Buffalo’s promising future is on the verge of becoming a reality.

The rise of skaters such as Dahlin and Mittelstadt will also take pressure off of other Sabres’ players such as defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, Sam Reinhart and Connor Sheary. All three of those skaters mentioned now have an opportunity to have a fresh start in Buffalo and mature as a unit.

The addition of Jeff Skinner should pay serious dividends for the Sabres, too. Skinner, 26, leaves a dysfunctional team in the Carolina Hurricanes to join a club that’s on the rise and in good hands with the likes of general manager Jason Botterill and head coach Phil Housley.

Speaking of pressure, Skinner also has the ability to support the team’s rising superstar in Eichel. The next seasons are key stepping stones for a team that’s makeup has finally come around, and is a perennial playoff contender in the making, again.

The Sabres will win their first Stanley Cup in 2023. Over the course of the next two seasons, the Sabres will have the leverage to part ways with draft picks and other prospects to acquire some more star-caliber skaters, too.