When the season began, almost every expert predicted that Buffalo would be the team with the best chance at the Number 1 Overall Draft Pick in 2015. While they added pieces like every other team, the pieces they added did not seem like they would amount to much. Buying out the outrageous contract of Ville Leino and the potential improved play of their youngsters certainly helped, but the loss of Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek and Christian Ehrhoff would seem to diminish their chances of success.
When looking at their roster, it is easy to see why experts saw no hope in the Buffalo Sabres. They added next to no offense and lost a former Vezina winner. Relying on Enroth and Neuvirth in net seemed like insanity. Last season they only had 4 players without a negative rating and the best was a +1. And those players were not even regulars, playing a combined 61 games. And let’s not forget that they retained 4 players with a +/- of at -20 or lower. How in the world would they have any success with the roster they have moving forward? I, unlike most, saw the potential of their roster moving forward. While their chances of making the playoffs are next to none, they can make some noise. And the future looks bright for the Buffalo Sabres compared to some other perennial basement teams. Here are five reasons why there is hope in Buffalo:
- Recent Proven Success:
After going 1-5-1 in November. they finished the month 5-1-0. Their recent 6-1-0 stretch is among the best in the NHL and in that time, they haven’t been beating basement dwellers either; with wins against contenders such as San Jose, Montreal and Tampa Bay. Continue reading
The Oilers are at an all time low as an organization. Going into Friday Dec 5th Edmonton has an 11 game losing streak and a record of 6-15-5. They have a league low 17 Points. I would not do something rash if I am the Oilers unless something is on the table that makes sense big picture wise. If I am ownership I bring in new management and have them pick a new coach. I evaluate the core young forwards after the season and go from there.
The Buffalo Sabres are not following the Game Plan to land either Conor McDavid or Jack Eichel. Currently the Sabres are tied for 4th worst with the Flyers at 20 Points.
Winnipeg is in a dangerous time right now as they have 3 defenseman injured in Bogosian, Enstrom and Clitsome. Keep in mind while the Jets are off to a good start at 13-9-4, their goal differential is minus 3. Also the Jets are 29th in the league in goals scored per game as they just average slightly above 2 goals per game (2.04 to be exact).
The NY Islanders have an OT / Shootout Record of 8-0-0. The converse to them is the Florida Panthers whose record in extra time is 2-7-0. Continue reading
On November 21st, almost a year to the day since the last time they fought, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic and Columbus Blue Jackets defender Dalton Prout went at it again.
That is, if you can call it a fight.
The Bruins heavyweight fell fairly early on in the struggle, thanks to Prout’s one-punch strike. Referees handed out minor penalties for roughing to both parties, and Lucic was assessed an additional 10-minute game misconduct.
The next night, Prout’s Blue Jackets flew to Philadelphia to play the Flyers. Continue reading
The Blue Jackets pretty much have buried themselves this season. Columbus who many NHL insiders predicted would get to the Eastern Conference finals this year, so far have a league low 14 points with a record of 6-15-2.Yes Columbus has been buried with injuries this season but their play has been brutal. The Jackets have been outscored by 31 goals so far this year (52 Goals for & 83 Goals Against). In addition it looks like Nathan Horton who is only in his 2nd year of his 7 year deal that his career might be over due to a bad back. One of the few bright spots for Columbus this season is somewhat of a negative. 27 year old winger Nick Foligno is off to a career best start with 22 points in 22 games (10G,12A). However Foligno is a UFA after the season so Columbus will have to decide if they pony up and sign him to a big long term deal or deal him for picks and prospects.
In terms of the Eastern Conference Playoff Race it looks like the Sabres, Blue Jackets and Hurricanes are already looking at next year. Even though not buried point wise like those other teams I don’t think the Flyers or the Devils will be serious contenders for the playoff race. The Flyers are not strong enough in goal and on the blue line and do not have enough secondary scoring. The Devils have an older lineup, not strong enough up front and obviously they don’t think they have an NHL caliber backup goalie, otherwise Corey Schneider would not have started every game so far this season but one. Continue reading
Late Thursday, Alfredsson tweeted out that he would be returning to the Canadian city on December 4th, just ahead of the Senator’s match-up with the New York Islanders.
Reports have been rampant over the last few weeks that the Swedish forward would be retiring this season – and would be looking to make the announcement in the city he spent most of his career in.
Alfredsson spent 17 seasons with the Senators – making him the face of the franchise – before his contract expired two summers ago. During his time with the Senators, Alfredsson scored 426 goals and added 682 assists in 1,178 regular-season games.
When contract re-negotiations with the Senators proved to be impossible, Alfredsson opted to sign with the Detroit Red Wings. Due to back issues late last season, he was only able to play one season with his new team.
While many believed there to be bad blood between the Senators and Alfredsson, the last few weeks have proved that is not the case. Continue reading