What to look for: Sabres Edition
Well after a few days, and a little more success getting people to respond from the Bruins edition, it is time to get crackin on writing my preview, review type of article on the one and only Buffalo Sabres.
Now, unlike what the script writers of Bruce Almighty thought, I doubt that the Sabres will win the Stanley Cup. But hell, I also thought the Bolts would lose to the Habs, and that didn’t happen. It’s the NHL, and anything can happen…like the highest payroll team being an “embarrassment” to the league for a few years.
Anyway, last year saw the Sabres very close around allstar break to making the playoffs. I believe that the Sabres will wind up 7th-12th in the ease, 3rd-5th in the division, and 15th-25th in the league.
Now here comes the interesting part where I come up with my own predictions without stating the obvious.
#1- The Sabres must trade one of their three goalies. Look for Biron to be traded. I know that the Sabres will probably want him to be traded to the west. Perhaps Phoenix as they passed up Montoya. Vancouver really should go after a goalie. Cloutier is really a lousy playoff goalie…kinda like Turek. Edmonton might be interested to split time with Conklin, and Jussless Markannen. If Thibault gets injured…again, the Hawks might also inquire. For the east, the Rangers might be the only team NEEDING a goalie.
Now in return, lets say for Biron, the Sabres could easily get a great prospect, a top 6 forward, top 3 defenseman, or a combo with a draft choice.
#2, get a defenseman. I love Jillson, McKee, Zhitnik, but they need some other depth guy. Patrick is getting very old, Campbell, and Kalinin still need developing, but could be excellent call ups. Brad Brown is also with them, but is a 6-7 defenseman.
#3 Sign a cheap, but experienced vet. Someone like Oates, Thomas… Besides James Patrick, no one is over the age of 32, four total over the age of 30. Get one more, who could really help out the kids.
Anyways the Sabres should look something like this.
McKee – Zhitnik
Campbell – Jillson
Kalinin – Patrick
Satan – Briere – Afinogenov
Hecht – Drury – Kotalik
Pyatt – Connolly – Dumont
Boulton – Taylor – Grier
Personally I think that the Sabres will only get better in time. Not to mention they have excellent prospects. Ryan Miller in net will be a star. Thomas Vanek will be huge in a couple of years on the LW. Jason Pominville on the RW will be a great second liner too in a year or so. Derek Roy I would still like to see more time in the minors, but he is looking like a Mike York type of player.