If you’ve been following the Buffalo Sabres for the past few seasons you’re probably aware that they are just right down terrible. But that also means you know they’re going to be absolutely amazing and in a fraction of the time it took the Edmonton Oilers to do it. A Rebuild done the proper way.
Last season saw the team end the year in 30th place our of 30 teams but lose the first overall pick via the draft lottery to the ever-so-lucky Edmonton Oilers. Remember the way Sabres GM Tim Murray’s face looked after? Like a ripe tomato. God he was pissed and he took a bit of flack in the media for it. What a cry baby…
So at the draft, without thanking anybody which is customary, Murray stepped up to the mic and with the urgency of a toddler needing to go pee, spat out, “The Buffalo Sabres select Jack Eichel.” Worst consolation prize ever… SMH.
Key Additions: F Jack Eichel, F Ryan O’Reilly, F David Legwand, F Jamie McGinn, F Evander Kane, D Carlo Colaiacovo, G Robin Lehner
Key Departures: F Cody Hodgson, F Mikhail Grigorenko, D Nikita Zadorov, D Andrej Meszaros, G Anders Lindback
Roster Contenders: F Sam Reinhart, D Jake McCabe, G Andrey Makarov
Evander Kane – Ryan O’Reilly – Tyler Ennis
Matt Moulson – Jack Eichel – Zemgus Girgensons
Marcus Foligno – Johan Larsson – Brian Gionta
Nicolas Deslauriers – David Legwand – Jamie McGinn
Josh Gorges – Rasmus Ristolainen
Mark Pysyk – Zach Bogosian
Mike Weber – Carlo Colaiacovo
Jack Eichel will help turn this franchise into a Stanley Cup contender but it was well on its way anyhow given the additions of Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, and Zach Bogosian, the emergences of Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Ristolainen, and using draft picks on Sam Reinhart, JT Compher, and Nick Baptiste.
In 2015/16 I believe the Sabres will be in the race for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Of course that could be contingent on Ryan O’Reilly’s impeding court date for impaired driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Doubtful anything comes of it on apart from some community service. But as for the rest of the team, the offense is there with Kane, Eichel, Moulson, and Ennis leading the way.
It’s the defense and goaltending that could let them down. We don’t know if Robin Lehner is ready to take on the role of starting netminder and a top pairing of Josh Gorges and 3rd year defender Rasmus Ristolainen would be 2nd pairing dmen on another team if not 3rd pairing on a Cup contender.
Sam Reinhart is one player I’ll be keen to watch this season. I remember his stint in the NHL last year and he was getting his ass handed to him everytime he touched the puck. He’s a competitive player and I think he’ll make his mark as a top two-way center in the league ala Patrice Bergeron no doubt but should he spend a season or two in the AHL?
Thanks for reading! I hope you’re enjoying our Season Primers series and let us know in the comments below if you agree with our assessments.
Buffalo can be a pretty nippy place in the winter, so why not head on over to the Beer League Heroes Merch Shop and pick up a nice sweater, hoodie or long sleeve shirt with a 16-bit Jack Eichel on it?
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