June 24, 2024

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 5: Assistant Coach Ralph Krueger directs Andy Sutton #25 of the Edmonton Oilers as he sits on the bench during the game against the Anaheim Ducks on March 5, 2012 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

T.J. Oshie Leaves Capitals-Oilers Tilt With “Upper Body Injury” Following Collision With Oilers Defenseman Mattias Ekholm | NoVa CapsWhile the Edmonton Oilers, as well as the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues, have experienced success following many midseason coaching changes in 2023–24, we also need to take a step back and examine each situation separately. First off, the three aforementioned teams—who possess both age and experience to their advantage—are in a different situation than the Buffalo Sabres.

Consider the Oilers, who we mentioned briefly in a previous article. They have qualified for the 2020 playoffs and have appeared in the postseason in each of the last three seasons. The squad was already a playoff-caliber hockey team, even if the coaching change “worked” for Edmonton because they had scored 100 points or more in each of the previous two seasons.

The Wild were in a comparable situation, and after choosing to go with John Hynes in November 2023, they have likewise improved as a club. However, the Wild made it to the playoffs in 2021, 2022, and 2023 as well as the qualifying round, just like Edmonton did in 2020. Similar to the Oilers, the Wild had consecutive seasons with 100 or more points.

Additionally, the St. Louis Blues have fared better since switching coaches on December 12. The Blues weren’t new to the playoffs under Craig Berube, even if they didn’t make it in the previous campaign. Consequently, St. Louis is just one more team on this list that is either winning right now or has recently had success making it to the postseason.

The Buffalo Sabres have improved under Granato, it is true, especially in the last season, but their average NHL experience and age do not even come close to matching those of the aforementioned teams. Depending on who is on each team’s roster, Buffalo is still the youngest team in the league or among the youngest teams overall. They haven’t even completed a full rebuilding process for four years.

Giving Granato at least these final 35 games, and ideally at least half of the 2024–25 season, would be in everyone’s best interests. This is not to argue that Granato’s staff shouldn’t be changed, though. These adjustments are required if the Sabres don’t improve between now and April. However, considering the state of the Sabres right now, let’s wait to ask the front office to relieve Granato of his responsibilities.

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