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dudacek

Hopes, fears and expectations

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Hockey returns this week. Time to share your thoughts heading into the coming year.

Three questions:

  • What things do you see that are giving you hope for the coming season?
  • What things make you scared?
  • And what do you expect is going to happen?

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1.) Jack, Sam, Skinner, Dahlin, the potential in Olofsson/Casey, and the completely reasonable defense core. I'm sure many people will put Krueger here, but I need to see tangible on-ice stuff that tells me we have a good coach before I get excited or disappointed.

2.) It feels like the major components of the bad parts of last year, guys who were among the worst players in the entire league at their positions, will all be back for training camp, and some of them will play a lot of hockey games for us this year. Our middle six forwards and center spine behind Jack, the driving forces behind our 60 games of last place hockey, are either mediocre (as someone who isn't high on Vesey and likes Johansson well enough, and is unsure of where Olofsson will be playing) or completely unchanged (the latter being particularly troubling, as our center spine behind the 1C was the worst in the NHL last year and will again be facing a slate of ridiculously strong centers nearly every game this season). While the offseason was a net positive, it was mildly so, for a roster that needed anything but mild changes for us to actually be confident in a winning hockey team. Having hope is one thing, but ~12 franchises per year can be confident looking at their roster that they're going to consistently play winning hockey, and we aren't really close to that. The goalies are also unchanged, and aren't blamed enough for how they played last year and its effect on our record.

3.) I expect this to be a 78-83 point team as the roster stands, barring major injuries or absurd player development. 

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Hopes: World peace, clean and sustainable energy to raise my children on.

Fears: Spiders. OH GOD, THE SPIDERS.

Expecations: Slightly above. 500 and flirting with the playoffs, get in by a miracle at the last second.

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Hopes: 

I am really, really high on Rasmus Dahlin. I think he is better and closer than he generally gets credit for and could take a huge step this year, moving on to NHL centre stage. And he’s not alone as a young player who could get better.

I am really intrigued by the mobile defence. Botterill has relatively quietly put together one of the best skating and puckmoving defence corps in the league. Can it add a dose of excitement and kickstart the offence? 

And Ralph Krueger, is he the man that can finally wash off the stink of the tank and make this franchise feel good about itself again?

 

Fears:

That big donut that is our top nine is going to make it very difficult for our coach to get decent matchups, particularly in a division with so many great centres. We’re counting on way too many “ifs.”

Even if the new defence and the added depth on offence works and the coach fixes the atmosphere, I am really concerned our goaltending won’t be enough to put us on the right side of the bubble.

 

Expectations:

I think the roster is realistically an 80-90 point team outside the playoffs. But there is a small part of me that says this increased depth and grooming of young talent has to hit critical mass sometime. Maybe Eichel, Dahlin and Krueger are the right people leading the right group at the right time. We wouldn’t be the first team to emerge from a similar situation under similar expectations.

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Hope: the defense improves.

Fear: Mitts and Olofsson see no progress with their play. Primarily due to who they play with on a line.

Expectation: Playoffs.

 

 

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Hope: Eichel, Reinhart, Dahlin, & Olofsson all 1 year closer to their peaks.  Skinner & Montour being able to continue to play at the level they did last year.  1 or 2 other young guys have that "light bulb turning on moment.

Having a new GT coach that has gotten the best out of unheralded guys in Pittsburgh & Carolina now working with the Sabres net minders that had REALLY good October & Novembers.

Hope that Krueger figures out fairly quickly how to optimize this roster's deployment.  (You know, little things like not having Sobotka the 2C and Rodrigues in the press box, but actually flipping that script.)

Hope that Botterill still has 2 moves up his sleeve which will take this 88 point squad up to a 96 point squad.

 

Concerns: ( Not saying any of these will happen, simply they are concerns heading into this year.). Mittelstadt's claims that he's been a workout warrior this summer causes him to be inked into the 2C role even though he only added about 1/2 the muscle he needed to add to effectively fill that role. 

Though the D on paper is much better that the D that was here in October, the pairings have a hard time finding chemistry. 

While both Hutton and Ullmark are very good backups, neither is good enough to run with the starting role, even with better coaching.

Krueger ends up far more of a Nolan than a Trotz.  Great motivator but will not enough ability to get the players to improve the X& O's.

Expectation: Roster as is: 88.  Roster with another 2nd liner & Gardiner: 96.

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What things do you see that are giving you hope for the coming season?

new coach, new roster, proper  development 

 

What things make you scared?

nothing. It’s a freakin game. Oh scratch that, overreaction and kneejerk decisions.

 

And what do you expect is going to happen?

Due to key player injuries, we barely miss or barely make the playoffs 

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I hope that, I win the lottery, I work less and travel more.... I also hope that the Sabres are exciting enough that when I'm abroad im trying to stream games from absurd time zones, because they have finally reeled me back in. 

 

I fear that Jack just isn't the leader we want (no tangible evidence for this) I fear that the team has internal struggles due to being bad again and that we end up with a whole new "plan" 

 

I expect.... To find tickets on stubhub for approx 9$ by January 😞

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Hopes:

Mittelstadt takes a bigger jump than could reasonably be projected and defies the odds, proving himself ready for 2C. 

Return to health and form for Johansson.

Someone (Sheary?) who isn't 1RW quality on the surface proves capable when combined with a Skinner and Eichel who are able to replicate their success from last season. 

Olofsson proves to be a mainstay NHLer.

A healthy season from Eichel.

Krueger proves to be a competent NHL coach.

The proper D-men are given the ice-time on the back end (Pilut, Jokiharju) and others like Scandella, and Ristolainen (trade) are not. 

The goaltenders show themselves to be capable of sustained quality play.

Fears:

The roster from last season that was more or less brought back this season in it's entirety performs at the level it proved to be at last season. 

Expectations:

A season similar to last season is the expectation barring further significant moves. The roster is counting on a lot of "what ifs" combining to achieve more, thus there being so many "hopes" in the first category. 

Edited by Thorny

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Hopes:

Our goalies steal 4-5 games.

Olofsson and Vesey pack 20 apiece.

Mitts shows visible, positive  development.

Fears:

RFK is not up to the task.

Boring hockey.

An injury to Jack, Sam, Skinner or Dahlin that makes them miss 20+ games.

Sobotka does more than take left dot face offs.

Expectation:

High 80's in points.

No playoffs.

Progress, honest effort EVERY game. 

End the season feeling good about the next year.

 

 

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Hope: Rests for me almost exclusively with RaKru. The rest of my hope is based on the conventional wisdom that Eichel has another to level to achieve (and will achieve it in the very near term) and that Dahlin is generationally good.

Fear: Eichel doesn't have that gear, and Dahlin either has a sophomore slump of sorts or has been vastly overrated by a desperate fan base.

Expectations: None, really. I'm x years beyond expecting anything with this organeyezation. Win or continue to suck. We'll leave the light on for ya, Sabres.

Edited by PASabreFan

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Fear:  A boring Sabres season. Sure, I want them to be really good, but I can be entertained with missing the playoffs as long as we see some more goals, up and down play, and some hope.  My fear is we get a bunch of 2-1 or 3-2 games...and a few shutouts (of the Sabres) thrown in there, with the other teams dominating possession and shots on goal.

Edited by mjd1001

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Hopes - Kreuger plus Dahlin, Mitts, Olofsson, Vesey and Johanson, maybe even Cozens or some other prospect making a great leap forward but most of all Kreuger.

Fears - Skinner, Johanson, both goalies and Risto. Also Kreuger.

Expect - no idea.

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Krueger is an unknown... Hope he is good... there is also fear there.

Hope Mitts, Ollie and TT take big steps forwards... Sabres really need this to happen as well as Cozens to develop fast.

Fear they won't

Hope Goalies are better, on paper it looks like the D is

Hope JBotts can pull off an early season trade for a 2C, fear he won't even by the trade deadline.  

Fear Sabres need another draft  of forwards to take the next step...

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Hopes: RK is the right guy to steer this ship in the right direction. Jack has not had his best season yet. Dahlin will take control of the back end and be guy, this year.

Fears: 2C is still a hole. Goaltending is still a hole. Secondary scoring falls short.

Expectations: Entertaining hockey that will keep them in the playoff hunt until the last week of the season.

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The only reason for hope is the possibility that the losing was all Housley's fault. Otherwise, I see largely the same team, with a few tweaks but no big difference-makers added to the mix.

The fear is that there is yet another rotten 'core' in Buffalo. 

I expect marginal improvement, but still more losing than winning.

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Hopes: that the Sabres will be a Cinderella story this season like Vegas was in their inaugural season, and go to the Cup Finals. 

Fears: that I will die before the Sabres ever win a Cup. 

Expectations: Until this team is a perennial playoff team, I no longer go into a season with any expectations anymore. 

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Hopes: 

- RK has the right stuff to muscle the Sabres out of their tank-induced loser mental quicksand and into a focused, confident mindset, resulting in a group that believes in itself.

- The new goalie coach makes chicken salad out of Hutton and Ullmark.

- Eichel stays healthy, and Reino stays locked in, for the entire season.

- A few of Olofsson, Vesey, TT, Sheary, Mittsie and CJ step up and provide scoring depth.

- Dahlin makes a statement to the rest of the NHL.

 

Fears:

- None of my hopes pans out, especially as regards RK and the goaltending.

- Mitts continues to be unable to make plays against NHL defensemen.

- The Sabres continue to stink and Eichel's interview on locker clearout day sounds like ROR's and Risto's most recent ones.


Expectations:

- More than half, but less than 80%, of the contingencies that the Sabres need to return to respectability are borne out.

- RK makes a big difference in their attitude.

- Risto is traded for a pretty good forward before opening night.

- The Sabres are in the mix into March before fading and finishing with 90 pts.

- Goaltending isn't top-10 but doesn't fall off the table in the 2nd half either.

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Hope: Make the playoffs, simple but effective coaching system, quick adjustment by everyone to that system.

Fear: Lack of middle six contribution, lack of consistent effort (60 minutes times 82).

Expectation: 30 goals for Jack, 25+ for Sam and Jeff, coaching finds the right spot for Mitts, puck movement and creativity equals scoring chances so use it, everyone in the franchise is truly done with mediocrity and will hold each other accountable.

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2 hours ago, nfreeman said:

Hopes: 

- RK has the right stuff to muscle the Sabres out of their tank-induced loser mental quicksand and into a focused, confident mindset, resulting in a group that believes in itself.

- The new goalie coach makes chicken salad out of Hutton and Ullmark.

- Eichel stays healthy, and Reino stays locked in, for the entire season.

- A few of Olofsson, Vesey, TT, Sheary, Mittsie and CJ step up and provide scoring depth.

- Dahlin makes a statement to the rest of the NHL.

 

Fears:

- None of my hopes pans out, especially as regards RK and the goaltending.

- Mitts continues to be unable to make plays against NHL defensemen.

- The Sabres continue to stink and Eichel's interview on locker clearout day sounds like ROR's and Risto's most recent ones.

I'm going to steal @nfreeman's lists, because they spell it out exactly for me.  Except for the expectations.  

I can't really say what I would expect to happen because I simply don't know.  One always looks like an idiot when trying to predict the future with such little data available.  I could say "I expect Risto to be traded before opening day" (which I actually don't) and it happens that Risto becomes a project for RK.

I would expect, and this is different from hoping, I would expect Botterill to do something about this roster not being ready for prime time. Do I believe he will?  Again, not enough data to go with to say.  He should be desperate to solve the roster problem because right now, I'm sorry to say, this upcoming season is looking hopeless once again as things stand.

Edited by ...
The Ghost of Dwight Drane

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My hopes, fears, and expectations revolve around two items, Casey Mittledstadt and goaltending.

Hope they both see significant improvement over last season, fear that without significant improvement this team will be a bottom feeder once again, and I have no expectations regarding either.  I feel like significant enough improvement of both is a a 50/50 shot.

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Hopes, defense is the offense of this team

Fears, defense is not the offense of this team

Expectations, no playoffs and another awful year of boring, no offense hockey

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Hope for everything we've done post/preseason to gel together and we are playing for a playoff spot in the final third of the season.

Fear that Kreuger talks a good game but cannot pull the kids together and we make barely any improvement.

Expect that we improve slightly over last year as the team learn to play the system properly. And that Sobotka is not on the continent by october.

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Hopes - I hope to see a big improvement out of Mittelstadt and I hope to see the team say goodbye to both Pominville and especially Sobotka.

Fears - The teams still has no center depth and all the pieces brought in by our volume shooting GM don't pan out to much of a difference overall in the standings. I also fear Botterill trading Ristolainen for a handful of darts that don't pan out to much in the end.

Expectations - The team will be slightly better than last season overall, but without a 10 game win streak to buoy their point totals the overall improvement won't look like much in the end. I'll go with 80 points as my prediction.

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