With Dahlin announcing he'll retire recently I felt we should look back on his incredible career.
The 20's started with the whole COVID-19 thing and missing that expanded playoffs must have seriously ticked off some players as we saw afterward.
20-21 and 21-22, were fun but accomplished little besides playoff berths and 3 rounds of playoffs.
22-23 however was a different story, they seemed to find what they were missing and would run on an incredible 20 of 25 run with the young UPL and more elder Ullmark backstopping. The playoffs we got lucky with Detroit's Larkin getting hurt in the final week of the season leading to their quick demise. Toronto was a tad tougher but Eichel being their kryptonite ended the series in 6 games. The Conference Finals were a doozy with the Sabres matching up with a Rangers team that had only lost once thus far in their playoff run. However at the end of 7 games only the Sabres remained in the East. The West had been a bloody battle through their three rounds; while the Blues made it out at the end, the Oilers - Flames series was by far the most entertaining. The Sabres were healthier than the Blues as well as younger whereas the Blues held the experience and home ice edge. I may have lost a few years on that series but we had finally done it, winning in 6 games with 5 going to OT. Ironic how Ryan Johnson would be the guy with the GWG to end it all. Kyle Okposo walked away with a ring and 2 goals in the Cup Finals a very happy man.
23-24 and 24-25 were plagued with injuries but somehow we snuck in both times only to lose.
25-26 we played great and made it to the Conference Finals only to lose to Detroit who went on to win it all.
26-27 and 27-28 should be renamed the Buffalo years. Winning 2 Stanley Cups back to back and our 2nd Super Bowl of the decade was great! Not to mention denying Edmonton and Seattle was rather fun in the Finals.
28-29 was a slow year between departures, injuries and just sheer exhaustion
29-30 was only noteworthy due to the Vancouver ending the Cup Drought in Canada in a n epic 7 game series with the Islanders. I'm glad they finally won, at least there wasn't a riot this time around.
The memories of the 2030's Sabres teams can be remembered mostly as the falling action of the mid to late 20's.
The 2030-31 Sabres would win their 4th Cup in 8 seasons, knocking off the LA Kings in 6 games. It was nice to see McDavid not only snub the Leafs but join us for his 1st career ring.
The Sabres would remain competitive throughout the mid 30's but would make it to another final until 2038-39 which would be remembered for certain. The prior offseason Sabres legend Jack Eichel hung up his skates and chose to go into coaching his younger sons; partially due to a nagging knee injury he had sustain the prior season. However the 38 year old Rasmus Dahlin, thought to have become the greatest Sabres defenseman, and potentially Top 5 all time wasn't anywhere close to being done. With only one other prior teammate, Dylan Cozens who had been in Calgary and Washington the past 6 years, returned to be a vet 3rd liner. The Sabres were a strange mix of guys under 23 with 4 players over 34. However they found ways to win, Dahlin tied his career high with 88 points and seemed to will the team into the playoffs. Again, come playoff time Dahlin lead his team to series win after series win with the Cup Finals being decided by his 10th goal of the playoffs. Only thing that made it any better was us beating Dallas all these years later.
God do I wish we could go back to their primes, missing the playoffs 4 years in a row isn't fun; granted it is way better than when we had drafted Dahlin......