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Season prediction: Reasons to be optimistic; reasons to be pessimistic about our Sabres


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2 minutes ago, miles said:

do the sabres have any "tough guy" players for when tampa comes in and steam rolls over them?

If Tampa steamrolls us this season, then it will have been a great and entertaining year.

Optimism: 1) We're going to score more goals than we give up. 2) [Pure speculation, no rumor or any truth to this] I think the teams realize a second and looming third year with a flat or reduced cap means they'll need a compliance buyout available after the 2021-22 season.    Miller's move to the left side instead of Montour is a really important fix.

Pessimism: Ullmark can handle it, but Hutton can't and neither can Johansson. Our trade deadline move(s) do not improve us sufficiently for this season to make an impact.

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23 minutes ago, miles said:

do the sabres have any "tough guy" players for when tampa comes in and steam rolls over them?

If a team steamrolls Buffalo, it won’t be because they punched them in the mouth.  It will be because they are better at hockey.

Also, Sabres are a pretty big team.

What do you even mean by “tough guy”?

 

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7 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I am optimistic about our Defense group and our top 6 forwards.  These are the best 2 forward lines we have fielded in decades and could be two of the best in the NHL.  I love the idea of Hall and Eichel together and think Staal will thrive playing with VO and Reinhart.  I'm thrilled that RK is playing Montour at RD and that alone will make a major positive impact on the D group.  I also think Dahlin is going to become one of the elite all around D in the NHL.

I's pessimistic about our bottom 6 and PK.  RK's forward line combinations, when not obvious, are appalling. I also worry the Hutton will not be improved and that the PK will still be at the bottom of the league because we didn't upgrade the goaltending.

Prediction:  I think the Sabres surprise but still fall short because Ullmark and Hutton aren't good enough.  They get off to a slow start but rally at the season progresses to finish 5th to the East, ahead of NJ, Pit and the NYI. 

Pretty much agree with all of this, particularly coming in 5th and our goaltending not being enough.

Honestly, finishing 5th in a division like this is a huge step forward. Terry may think that landing Hall means "we're going for the cup now", but we need better goal tending for that. Either way, this is the best product we have seen since 2011 and for that I am grateful. 

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1 hour ago, nfreeman said:

Every dog has its day.

Eichel and Hall will have huge seasons, Reino and Staal will anchor a strong #2 line and TT and VO will hold up their ends and blast awesome slappers past shellshocked goalies.

Ullmark is going to justify @MODO Hockey's love.

Skinner will come around through a combination of peer pressure from team leaders and RK's motivational mumbo jumbo.  He, Eakin and Cozens will provide much better down-lineup scoring than we had last year.

Speaking of Cozens, he will start more slowly than we'd like, and some here will panic, but by midseason he will be a force and in the Calder conversation.

Risto is going to continue to improve the structural soundness of his D-zone coverage and continue to knock heads.  Montour will have a big year as he approaches UFA.  Joker and Miller will be a very good 3rd pair.

Oh, and Dahlin?  Lookout, mama, there's a white boat coming up the river.

We are going to make the playoffs.

Bold... I like it!

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If we're going to predict stuff, I say go big.

I don't know the circumstances that will put Casey Mittelstadt and Jeff Skinner together, but they will find a chemistry that will baffle us, the team and the league.

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I don't understand the pessimism, especially on the bottom 6?!?!?! This is far and away the best 3rd and 4th lines we've had in a long time!!!

How could you not be positive with Skinner, Cozens, and Eaken? They are so much better than the scrubs we've rolled out since the tank (and long before that).

And what's with the ridiculous Larsson love? Him and Girgs were stalwarts on the league's worst PK. We are better there almost by default.

As well, this is the deepest we've been with F's in the system for a long time (Ruots, Peterka, Mitts, Quinn, etc). 

All this is without mentioning we have 2 of the most dangerous top 2 lines in the league. When was the last time we could say that?

On D, Dahlin is just coming into his prime and BOGO is finally gone. We are stronger there than last year.

The only question mark is in G. Ullmark will hopefully show a marginal improvement. I'm not optimistic about Hutton... Eye surgery or not.

The so-called top teams in the division all got worse, either by age, or by roster. 

I had this same optimism going into 2005, when the Sabres were unknowns, but I could see the roster was deep and skilled. People laughed at me, but I was right. Other than 2006, I haven't been this optimistic since.

We are making the playoffs and are a top 10 team in the entire league. If goaltending gets improved- top 5.

 

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I am optimistic that this year we will be able to score goals. Lots of them. Hopefully the top two lines will be impressive and the PP will be solid or even good.

I am uncertain on our defense. A lot depends on Dahlin being even better, Jokiharju still improving and pairings jelling . Just not sure. 

I am also uncertain about our goaltending. If Ullmark doesn't hit his prime and become a true #1 we will have trouble.

I am pessimistic about our bottom 6 and our depth. If covid or injuries hit us on the top lines this lot will only carry us through if Cozens and Thompson both leap forward. 

Because of our division I think we likely miss the playoffs but it might be an irritating miss as we will be better than teams in other divisions that make it. 

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9 hours ago, Curt said:

If a team steamrolls Buffalo, it won’t be because they punched them in the mouth.  It will be because they are better at hockey.

Also, Sabres are a pretty big team.

What do you even mean by “tough guy”?

 

i dont really mean a fighter, but someone that sticks up for the players.

i remember jack getting checked and then stood over by tampa. nothing happened.

i remember dahlin getting elbowed in the face by tampa. nothing happened

 

they have no players that are tough, to stand up for their stars.  the sabres play tampa 200 times this season, they cant let them walk all over them physically like last season. thats what i mean

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^ We won’t play Tampa at all in the reg season because they’re in the Central division and we’re in the East. 
 

But while we’re on the subject, it would be nice to see Tage grow into his body and get a mean streak. 

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You guys pretty much covered it.  
 

Concerns:  

1. Goaltending

2. Bottom 6 production

3. Grit and toughness - division has many very physical team 

4.  losing culture hangover 

 

Positives

1. Top 6 forwards improved  

2  Talent and depth improved 

3. Defense could be good , hinges on Dahlin improving 

3. GM and coach appear to be on the same page 

 

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21 minutes ago, I-90 W said:

...it would be nice to see Tage grow into his body and get a mean streak. 

That would be nice...unfortunately in almost all cases, you either have a mean streak or you don’t.  

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17 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I am optimistic about our Defense group and our top 6 forwards.  These are the best 2 forward lines we have fielded in decades and could be two of the best in the NHL.  I love the idea of Hall and Eichel together and think Staal will thrive playing with VO and Reinhart.  I'm thrilled that RK is playing Montour at RD and that alone will make a major positive impact on the D group.  I also think Dahlin is going to become one of the elite all around D in the NHL.

I's pessimistic about our bottom 6 and PK.  RK's forward line combinations, when not obvious, are appalling. I also worry the Hutton will not be improved and that the PK will still be at the bottom of the league because we didn't upgrade the goaltending.

Prediction:  I think the Sabres surprise but still fall short because Ullmark and Hutton aren't good enough.  They get off to a slow start but rally at the season progresses to finish 5th to the East, ahead of NJ, Pit and the NYI. 

I disagree with your dire assessments of our lower lines. The irony about the complaints of Kreuger relegating Skinner to a lower line is that he assumingly improves the lower line he is on. So on the one hand there are criticisms that the lower lines are deficient while on the other hand the lower line assignment for Skinner to an extent addresses that valid issue. 

 With respect to goaltending I'm not concluding that this tandem is adequate because I'm simply unsure about them. While most people direct their ire towards Hutton the more important issue for me is Ullmark. If he can play solidly as a #1 goalie (little better than middle of the pack) then I will feel more confident about this team and its prospects for the playoffs. 

I like your observation about Montour and his pairing with Dahlin. If Montour can play at the level of his talent he will be a bonus player for us. 

My prediction is that the Sabres will make the playoffs. And I strongly believe that Ullmark will be the most critical player for us determining a successful season or not. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, I-90 W said:

^ We won’t play Tampa at all in the reg season because they’re in the Central division and we’re in the East. 
 

 

that seems illogical, but ok great

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2 hours ago, miles said:

i dont really mean a fighter, but someone that sticks up for the players.

i remember jack getting checked and then stood over by tampa. nothing happened.

i remember dahlin getting elbowed in the face by tampa. nothing happened

 

they have no players that are tough, to stand up for their stars.  the sabres play tampa 200 times this season, they cant let them walk all over them physically like last season. thats what i mean

That and I’m pretty sure Tampas D are all over 6’3”. Ours not so much. They were built for the playoffs. Us not so much. They are battle hardened. Us not so much.

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2 hours ago, LabattBlue said:

That would be nice...unfortunately in almost all cases, you either have a mean streak or you don’t.  

Agreed.. Tyler Myers comes to mind. Still mad at him for being on the ice during the Lucic incident. 

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46 minutes ago, Scottysabres said:

The optimist in me: "HOCKEY!!! GO SABRES!!!!!

The pessimist in me: "Same Defense, Same Goalie tandem? Adams you suck!!!"

I'll start the season with optimist me, and go from there.....

Scotty, the D was in the top 10 in the NHL at shot suppression and 10th in least goals allowed 5 on 5, with a rookie (Jokiharju), a kid in the lineup (Dahlin) and one our most talented D playing out of position (Montour).  Montour is now back in position and Jokiharju and Dahlin should build on last season.  I think that is something to be optimistic about.  

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20 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Scotty, the D was in the top 10 in the NHL at shot suppression and 10th in least goals allowed 5 on 5, with a rookie (Jokiharju), a kid in the lineup (Dahlin) and one our most talented D playing out of position (Montour).  Montour is now back in position and Jokiharju and Dahlin should build on last season.  I think that is something to be optimistic about.  

 

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Does anyone have a link to the final roster? I can't find it listed in it's completed form anywhere. Biro is still with the team apparently, is he on the taxi?

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2 minutes ago, Thorny said:

Does anyone have a link to the final roster? I can't find it listed in it's completed form anywhere. Biro is still with the team apparently, is he on the taxi?

I saw a report earlier today and he was not on the roster or the taxi squad.

My understanding is he was there as a paper transaction for salary cap reasons and is a Rochester player.

Separately, what happened to our other college free agent signing? In addition to Jone and Biro we signed Dawson Dipietro, but there's been no mention of him since the restart.

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