By: Raheel Ali
Heading into the 2011-2012 season, the Buffalo Sabres were predicted by many hockey pundits to be amongst the top 8 teams in the Eastern Conference, and to make some noise come playoff time. With owner Terry Pegula opening up his wallet during the course of the offseason, the Sabres were major players in the free agent market for the first time since the post lockout era began. Starting with a mid season trade that saw centre Brad Boyes and his $4 million salary head to Buffalo in exchange for a 2nd round pick, many Sabres fans finally saw the shift in philosophy regarding player acquisition that Pegula had been stressing since he became the owner of the franchise. This philosophy was that the Sabres were going to spend to the cap, and that money would not hold the franchise back as it had in the past.
Among their off season additions were Ville Leino, who was considered one of the top 5 free agent forwards in a relatively shallow UFA market, and Christian Ernhoff, wh…