The Buffalo Sabres reportedly are making a change at head coach, firing Don Granato after the team missed the playoffs in the 2023-2024 season, according to Elliotte Friedman.

The Sabres got a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning to close out the regular season. Buffalo finished with a 39-37-6 record on the season, giving them 84 points, which is not good enough for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

Don Granato has been the head coach of the Sabres since the 2020-2021 season when he went 9-16-3 in the 28 games he was in that role. He was retained as the head coach for the next season when the Sabres had a 32-39-11 record for 75 points. Last season, in 2022-2023, the Sabres made great strides and narrowly missed the playoffs, going 42-33-7 and finishing with 91 points. They were one point behind the Florida Panthers, who went to the Stanley Cup Final that season.

This season, the Sabres took a step back after being viewed as one of the more talented young teams in the league. The expectation was for them to take the next step this season and make the playoffs. That did not happen, so Granato was dismissed after four seasons with the team.

Sabres' playoff drought and outlook for future

The Sabres have not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2010-2011 season, when they lost in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games. The franchise has gone 13 years without making the playoffs, which is the longest drought in the league. The step down in performance this season was disappointing, given the young talent that is on the team.

The cornerstone pieces for the Sabres are Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch and Rasmus Dahlin. This season, Tage Thompson had a stark drop off in production. In 2022-2023, Thompson scored 47 goals with 47 assists for 94 points, and looked like one of the best centers in the league, according to This season, he has 29 goals with 27 assists for 56 points in 71 games.

Thompson is going to have to get back to producing the way he did in the 2022-2023 season in the future for the Sabres, as he is locked into a long-term contract through the 2029-2030 season at just over $7 million a year. That will be the biggest task for the next coach of the Sabres. Thompson getting back to the level of production that is expected would do wondersfor the Sabres.

Alex Tuch and Rasmus Dahlin are key players as well. Tuch is under contract for two more seasons, while Dahlin is one of the better defensemen in the league.

It will be interesting to see who the Sabres hire as their new coach in the coming weeks. There is some young talent on the roster that could make the job attractive. The right hire could see the Sabres break their 13-year playoff drought.