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.

G:

Noronen

Biron

D:

McKee – Zhitnik

Campbell – Jillson

Kalinin – Patrick

Brown, Fitzpatrick

F:

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.


11 Responses to What to look for: Sabres Edition

  1. Eric86 says:

    i’d like to see biron go to any of the three teams mentioned and would most likely be what one of them need to take it to the next level, for Phoenix that includes making the playoffs as it does for Edmonton and for Vancouver would give them two solid goalies. Also, Dumont HAS to be getting closer to a breakout year, he was a big time scorer in the Q, and a former first tound draft pick by the hawks, has to reach 25-30 goals for sabres to do damage.

  2. simplyhabby says:

    The Rangers already have 3 NHL calibre goalies. Vancouver would be a good spot but the Leafs should work a three way deal for Biron. Buffalo won’t trade him to Toronto but the Leafs really need a good backup that can take the reins from Belfour and back him up when and not if he gets injured.

    Satan has to go. Didn’t he start whining around the trade deadline? Some great depth at front with young talents like Briere, Afinogenov and Drury.

  3. qsilver31 says:

    I never realized what depth the Sabres have had up front. Skill wise, those are 3, maybe even 4 very solid lines, each with a purpose. Though I think they lack size in their lineup, they should still be effective.

    Defense is where they need work. Zhitnik is a decent and Jillson has tons of upside, but after that, it sorta runs dry.

    In net, you should be fine with Biron. This guy was suppose to be a huge star, but never had the D in front of him. Noronen and Miller are both potential loaded goalies as well.

    Decent team and is only going to get better with time.

  4. wheresthesoda says:

    The sabres should go after mcgillis

  5. ranger_fan says:

    The Rangers don’t have 3 NHL ready goalies. They have one and he is a backup named Mike Dunham.

    The Leafs will go with Tellqvist.

  6. raine_kalisz says:

    Hecht should be on the first time. He’s got more talent than I’ve seen in a while, and probably the most talented offensive player on the team. But offense is no problem for them. They have three offensive lines to roll. What they need are some quality defensive forwards, or some veteran role players. Brown would have been a nice pick-up or even Ricci. They’ll have to find someone, because as of right now they have only offensive lines.

  7. simplyhabby says:

    I said NHL calibre meaning they can play at the NHL level. Not all are starters. Tellquist will not be a number one goalie anytime soon even after Belfour.

  8. OldNord says:

    Zhinik is UFA, no?

  9. EmptyNetter says:

    I don’t see Buffalo making the playoffs as things stand right now. They were 9th in the East last year, and they don’t seem to be doing anything different. What’s more, Florida has a new coach and GM and I think they’ll be more intent on doing some damage. Atlanta, assuming Heatley is able to play, will be another team fighting for the top 8.

    I can’t see them trading their #1 goaltender when they haven’t made the playoffs yet. Biron is a much better bet than Caron to get them there. In short, I’d love Buffalo to become a contender, for Jillson to develop into the d-man he wasn’t in Boston and for Drury to emerge as a team leader. But whenever the next season starts, just standing still won’t be good enough to make progress in the East.

  10. SabresAreCool says:

    Hecht plays on the second line with briere and dumont, or with drury and grier. Hecht led the team in +/-, but he sets up alot more goals than he scores…

  11. SabresAreCool says:

    1) First off…Zhitnik is a ufa. the sabres allegedly offered him a 4 year-16 mil which he hasn’t signed.

    So the Sabres are lacking a #1 defenseman who can play 25 minutes a game.

    2) The lines looked like this at the end of last season:

    Dumont-Briere-Satan

    Bartovic-Roy-afinogenov

    Hecht-Drury-Grier

    Pyatt-Mair-Kotalik

    Also figure in the return of tiny tim connoly, who can play the wing even though he is a center. Also, Peters and Boulton are the tough guys; yet Peters should be the guy, and boulton should be sent to another team who needs an enforcer.

    The only forward who might not be on the team next season is Bartovic, he still has minor league eligibility and will probably be sent down to make room for connoly. Taylor is a minor league veteran who can play a really good 4th line role when injuries occur throughout the season.

    Tomas Vanek might sign and play in the ahl, as long as he thinks he has a shot at making the sabres. I disagree with ranger-fans’s assessment of Roy. Derek Roy is awesome, he is capable of being a second line center on most teams, there is no way he will go back to the minors. He plays much like briere, york, st louis, but he’s got alot of edge to him like theo fleury, even though i hate fleury.

    Defense-Last season saw the additions of Brown and Jillson to the d. But this summer saw the loss of zhitnik and patrick(howevere patrick will probably return to the team if the season starts before january) Zhitnik needs to be replavced or resigned. whether it be through trade( we have alot of young forwards) or free agency.

    Mckee- Kalinin

    Jillson-Fitzpatrick

    Campbell-Brown

    Obviously the d looks weak….we need to add someone to eat minutes….i think the sabres will finish in the top 8. 7th or 8th seed….

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