So let’s say the Sabres finish in the bottom two of the NHL standings. How would things look in Buffalo next October?

They’d look pretty darn good.

The Sabres’ prospect pool, which already gets high marks, would add a future elite center in Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel through the draft. Heck, if you want to dream really big, you can picture them both in Buffalo.

The Sabres own the first-round picks of the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues. If the Isles miss the playoffs, a legitimate possibility, the Sabres could end up with the first and second overall picks via the draft lottery. That’s a winning combination if there ever was one.

McDavid and/or Eichel would join fellow centers Mikhail Grigorenko (2012), Zemgus Girgensons (2012) and Sam Reinhart (2014), right wing Joel Armia (2011) and defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov (both 2013) as recent top-16 picks eager to mature and excel in the NHL.

The rest of the lineup is malleable, with roster spots open and plenty of money available.

The Sabres have only 15 NHL players under contract for next season, eight below the limit. The nine forwards are Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis, Brian Gionta, Cody Hodgson, Marcus Foligno, Nicolas Deslauriers, Cody McCormick, Girgensons and Reinhart. The six defensemen are Tyler Myers, Josh Gorges, Mike Weber, Jake McCabe, Mark Pysyk and Ristolainen. They have no established goalies signed past this year.