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New-look Sabres set to start latest stage of rebuild

by Joe Yerdon /

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres are about to start another chapter of their rebuild Sunday when they host the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

On Wednesday, the Sabres traded defenseman Tyler Myers and forward Drew Stafford, along with two prospects and a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, to the Winnipeg Jets for defenseman Zach Bogosian and forward Evander Kane. The Sabres also traded goalie Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars for goalie Anders Lindback and a conditional third-round pick in the 2015 draft.

"It's where we've been probably the past two or three years having a lot of new faces in there," Sabres defenseman Mike Weber said. "It's good to meet Zach. He's a nice addition, very welcomed here. He plays the game hard, plays the right way. Obviously the trade part of it, it's tough to see talented, skilled, good people go, but you bring in a guy like Zach and he fits in well with the direction we want this team to go in being harder to play against."

The Sabres (16-36-3) are last in the NHL with 35 points. They're last with 97 goals and last with 190 allowed. Now, with Bogosian and Lindback ready to begin their Sabres careers, Buffalo is ready to move on from an emotional day that changed the team in a big way.

"You kind of get used to it," Sabres forward Tyler Ennis said. "We know that it's a process. We're excited about Evander and Zach. We haven't met Evander yet, but Zach seems like a great guy. [He] looked good out there [Saturday], so we're excited. … I think any time change is made, whether it be coaches, players, call-ups, there's always fresh energy, new energy. We're going to have to take advantage of that."

Bogosian was paired with Andre Benoit at practice. Josh Gorges sat out for what Sabres coach Ted Nolan called a maintenance day. It's likely Gorges and Bogosian will ultimately be paired.

"I'm excited," Bogosian said. "It's definitely a different feeling when you kind of go from a playoff push to a team that's out of it a bit, but we keep building for the future and that takes time. That doesn't happen overnight. I'm just happy to be here and be a part of it and hopefully turn this thing around."

Bogosian (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) isn't quite as big as 6-foot-8 Myers, but he's eager to move on from what's been an emotional time.

Zach Bogosian
Defense - BUF
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 13
SOG: 74 | +/-: 1
"It was good to be on the ice. I hadn't skated or had a practice in three or four days with the travel," Bogosian said. "It felt good to get out there. I'm looking forward to getting things going [Sunday]. It's been a whirlwind but I'm happy things are going the way they are."

Cody Hodgson took Stafford's place on a line with Brian Flynn and Marcus Foligno. With the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2, the current setup may be temporary.

"As a professional, you have a little bit of anxiety, I'm not going to lie to you," Weber said. "We've got, what, a couple of weeks until the trade deadline? There are more moves to come, as we've heard. As a professional there's that anxiety that I could be gone tomorrow or I could be here.

"The exciting part is what we could build here going forward. You're a professional and you've got to come to work every day trying to get yourself better and try to help the other guys and pull as many people in the right direction to right this ship as humanly possible."

In each of the past three seasons, the Sabres have traded players who to that point had spent their entire career in Buffalo.

Two seasons ago, the Sabres traded forward Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild. Last season, the Sabres sent forward Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders and goalie Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues.

Weber (seven seasons) and forward Patrick Kaleta (nine) are now the longest-tenured Sabres.

"It's not easy," Weber said. "I guess I'm getting older (27) so I've matured to a point where you understand this and accept it as part of the game and part of the business every March, you know that this is coming. Especially when we've been in the position that we've been in the last two, three years, that's a huge part of it, that there's going to be changes made and there needs to be changes made.

"You just try to look forward to the future and try to see what happens. Obviously we are where we are. It [stinks], but you look at some the pieces we've brought in and a lot of the pieces that we've gotten rid of and moved on, you just hope and you work for it that things will get better."

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