As the vacation season approaches, PHR will check out what groups are grateful for because the season heads in the direction of the one-quarter mark. There additionally is perhaps just a few issues your group would love down the highway. We’ll study what’s gone properly within the early going and what may enhance because the season rolls on for the Buffalo Sabres.
What are the Sabres most grateful for?
A conclusion to the Jack Eichel saga.
For months, there was fixed dialogue about how Sabres administration was mistreating their pissed off, injured former captain, with a brand new story popping out practically day by day. Since finishing the commerce that despatched Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights, all of that chatter has been silenced, and Kevyn Adams is now not the goal of the followers’ ire (at the least not for that).
That doesn’t imply the Sabres are higher with out Eichel, and it definitely doesn’t imply Adams has found out how one can make his group aggressive, however at the least the magnifying glass has been moved someplace else for a short time.
Who are the Sabres most grateful for?
The Sabres are 7-10-2 on the season. They’re 2-7-1 of their final 10. They’ve misplaced 4 in a row. But nonetheless, it feels as if they lastly have a training employees that the followers can consider in, at the least within the quick time period. Granato has made the Sabres aggressive, even when they are going to finally end close to the underside of the league once more in one other rebuilding season.
The energy play is within the high half of the league, Rasmus Dahlin (even together with his warts) seems rejuvenated, and younger gamers like Tage Thompson and Rasmus Asplund are discovering their means. There are such big gaps within the roster building that Donato was by no means going to have the ability to make this group a contender, but it surely at the least resembles an NHL group for the primary time shortly.
What would the Sabres be much more grateful for?
An NHL goaltender.
There is defensive assistance on the way in which. There are offensive gamers honing their recreation within the minor leagues. But the Sabres will not go anyplace with out a legit NHL starter, and proper now it’s not clear if there’s one within the group.
Forty-year-old Craig Anderson has been good when wholesome, and Dustin Tokarski has been a pleasant story after his journeyman profession. But the web was purported to be handed over to Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen earlier than lengthy, and the younger netminder hasn’t progressed as hoped. In 11 AHL video games, he has an .883 save proportion and positively doesn’t appear able to take the Buffalo crease. That doesn’t imply he gained’t grow to be an NHL starter sooner or later down the highway, however dangerous goaltending could be the bane of constant effort. It’s tough to play arduous each night time simply to look at targets go in behind you, and a powerful netminder might help make younger defensemen really feel extra assured.
What ought to be on the Sabres’ Holiday Wish List?
Some extra mid-round draft picks.
The Sabres have all the time had bother surrounding their high gamers with efficient depth, and though this 12 months they’ve secured three picks within the first spherical, they don’t have any additional picks within the different six. If they’re going to do that rebuild shortly and successfully, they should hit on just a few second-, third- and fourth-round picks as properly.
Selling off just a few expiring contracts on the deadline ought to be the plan, particularly on protection, the place they’ll need to clear room for Owen Power anyway when Michigan’s season involves an finish (assuming they’re in a position to signal him this 12 months).