Regular Season: Buffalo had a rough season, finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference, 7 points out of the playoffs. The bright spot was the play of the top line, led by Thomas Vanek, but his injuries put a damper on that later in the season. The low point of the season was the dismissal of long-time coach Lindy Ruff in the early-going.
Playoffs: The Sabres missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
Ready To Make The Jump: C Mikhail Grigorenko
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Miller Time?: Ryan Miller has gone from one of the best goalies in the league 3 seasons ago to almost an afterthought among the conversation of top NHL netminders. It was questioned as to whether or not he would even be a Sabre at this point in time, but apparently Buffalo didn’t find the right deal.
2. Last Ride For Vanek?: The Sabres top forward is entering the last season on his contract, and there were also rumors that he would no longer be a Sabre. He is still one of the top offensive talents in the league, but I am not sure if he will still be a Sabre after the trade deadline.
3. Rebuild: The dealing of their captain at the trade deadline signified that the Sabres are set to rebuild and the lack of action at the opening of free agency signifies that they learned their lesson a couple of years ago and will perform the rebuild from within this time around, which will be a slower process but better in the long run.
PROGNOSIS: The Sabres will get better in time, but it won’t happen overnight. There are now some high quality prospects in the system, most notably on the back end. However, I don’t think the Sabres will rush them to the NHL after what has happened to Tyler Myers since his rookie of the year season.
PREDICTION: 7th in Atlantic Division.
We will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Sept 3||Sept 2|
|3||Sept 1||Aug 31||Aug 30||Aug 29|
|4||Aug 28||Aug 27||Aug 26||Aug 25|
|5||Aug 24||Aug 23||Aug 22||Aug 21|
|6||Aug 20||Aug 19||Aug 18||Aug 17|