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How bad will we be?


dudacek
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What choice best describes your expectations for the Sabres this year?  

84 members have voted

  1. 1. What choice best describes your expectations for the Sabres this year?

    • Forget the haters, this team will challenge for the playoffs
      0
    • It's not going to be as bad as people seem to think, they will compete and keep other teams honest and break 70 points
      16
    • They will be up and down a lot, occasionally surprise, get blown out a few times and finish in the bottom 3-5
      41
    • They will be as bad as the two tank teams and have a real shot of finishing with the franchise's the all-time worst record
      27


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Scott Wheeler

@scottcwheeler

Working on my annual Calder Trophy ranking and as part of that process I’m poring over rosters to try to gauge where the opportunities are and… my God the Sabres are going to be bad. However bad you think they’re going to be, they’re going to be worse.

Scott Wheeler

@scottcwheeler

·

Sep 10

Replying to

@scottcwheeler

We know Buffalo's openly tanking. We know that the Coyotes are too. But when you look at the roster in Arizona, you can still say “Hey, there’s Phil Kessel, and Clayton Keller, and Jakob Chychrun, and Nick Schmaltz.” The Sabres are just going to ice a team of broken players.

 

I don't think the above sentiments (from an Athletic writer) are too far off from what the general perception is around the league.

People think we are heading for an absolute tire fire.

What do you think?

Edited by dudacek
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Have you voted?

I did.

I voted option #2.  Are you the other voter?  Someone voted option #4.

I actually believe the Sabres may really surprise many.  I was tempted to vote option #1, but I am not quite there.

 

1 minute ago, WildCard said:

Scott seems to have fully forgotten Dahlin, or that Eichel is still here.

Not only that, but he is a huge jerk that has no clue what he is talking about.

'Sabres are openly tanking' ... really?  What an ass.

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Until they get some semblance of capable goaltending, they will be tank level bad.

It's too bad, because the young core of the team has some potential, but I see them getting deflated early and often due to the backend letting them down so badly.

Edited by JoeSchmoe
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I can’t get past the goaltending.

I think the defence can move the puck well enough and forwards can skate and work hard enough that a season like Ottawa’s last year may have been in reach.

But unless UPL pushes the clock forward 5 years, or Anderson rolls it back 5 years, I don’t see how it can’t be a disaster.

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Wheeler’s opinion is easy to understand.

KA found a way to downgrade the goaltending.  He traded away our best and most consistent player in Reinhart for futures. On defense he arguably downgraded McCabe, Ristolainen ( and Irwin) with Pysyk, Hagg and Butcher. All this on a team that was already at the bottom of the league. Add our most talented player is injured and is likely going to be traded at any moment.  Not exactly an off-season to inspire confidence for next season.

Not exactly a thought provoking opinion either.  It’s also not how things work.  Last season the media believed the team had a chance to be good with the additions of Hall and Staal.  Montreal certainly wasn’t picked to play for the Cup.  

So are things really so dire?  The goaltending certainly is.  However, beyond that there are reasons for optimism.

On defense, Dahlin and Jokiharju should continue to progress.  Hagg, Butcher and Pysyk all have played better hockey then they did last season.  A good article on Butcher pointed out that he was played with the wrong partner last season and that cratered his stats. All are young enough to rebound with a better opportunity here.    Considering how often McCabe was injured and how poor Risto was on defense, this defense could actually be better this season. 

Eichel and Reinhart are impossible to replace right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t at least be decent on offense. Mitts, Cozens, R2 and hopefully Thompson could (should?) all continue to improve under a full season with DG.

Health and bad coaching derailed last year’s team.  If this team stays healthy, they won’t compete for a playoff spot, but they won’t be bottom of the barrel either.  I chose option 3.  I’d be more optimistic with better goaltending.

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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1 hour ago, dudacek said:

@scottcwheeler

We know Buffalo's openly tanking. We know that the Coyotes are too. But when you look at the roster in Arizona, you can still say “Hey, there’s Phil Kessel, and Clayton Keller, and Jakob Chychrun, and Nick Schmaltz.” The Sabres are just going to ice a team of broken players.

 

I don't think the above sentiments (from an Athletic writer) are too far off from what the general perception is around the league.

People think we are heading for an absolute tire fire.

What do you think?

I have to say I'm a bit shocked at his statement that Arizona is better than the Sabres this year.  We definitely have our goaltending concerns this season but Arizona took our goaltending concerns over the last two season in Hutton who didn't have a save percentage over 0.900 (0.886 / 0.898).  Kessel wants out.  I don't see Arizona doing very well either and I really think the Sabres are better positioned to start the climb (once again 😒) from the cellar of the NHL standings (if not this season then next).

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Once the losing streak ended, Sabres finished the seson 9-11-3 under Granato, which would be a 75 point pace on an 82 game season or a 51 point pace on last year's 56 game season.  Six other teams finished with less than 51 points last year.  I think options two and three are simultaneously possible.  Sabres had 67GF and 77GA in that stretch.  That's the good news.

The bad news is that loss of Reinhart is going to make it difficult to approach the same numbers, unless other players step up.  In that 23 game stretch with 67 goals for, a Jack-less Sam scored 13 goals, which is a 46 goal pace over 82 games.

We've also reconfigured the defense, from what settled in November as Dahlin-Miller//Ristolainen-Montour//McCabe-Jokiharju evolved into Samuelsson-Ristolainen//Dahlin-Jokiharju//Bryson-Miller under Granato, but now looks like Dahlin-Jokiharju//Butcher-Miller//Hagg-Pysyk + Bryson?  It's unknown if this is better.

And then the goalies.  It's a mess.  Ullmark pitched 0.920SV% and 2.72GAA in six games in that span.  All others (Tokarski, Houser, UPL) were <0.910SV% and >3.30GAA.  Dell, Andersen, and Tokarski don't have two-way contracts.  UPL is on the last year of his ELC.  Devon Levi's playing at Northeastern.

And without knowing what's up with Jack, it's hard to say what this team will look like.  If Jack plays, he'll have an even bigger role on this team than he did before.  If he gets traded for futures, this season might be sold with him.

Lots of large, looming question marks.  We'll likely be pleasantly surprised by at least one or two elements, but in all likelihood, one or two elements may fail, and that's all it would take to cost us 10 points off that 75 point pace and put us in TANKCON 1.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, IKnowPhysics said:

We'll likely be pleasantly surprised by at least one or two elements, but in all likelihood, one or two elements may fail, and that's all it would take to cost us 10 points off that 75 point pace and put us in TANKCON 1.

 

 

I think this sums it up well.  Optimism requires you to assume that a few players develop AT LEAST as expected and everyone else to AT LEAST hold their own.  The odds of everyone being at least as good or better than last year is damned slim.  Every season a couple of guys blossom and a couple of guys regress.  
 

We will almost certainly see that dynamic play out this year.  And given how little margin for error this roster has, 75 points is ***** optimistic as hell.

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All you have to do is look at the goaltending tandem that is being tossed out to see this team is winning fewer than 20 games this season regardless of if every other thing goes right. This has to be the worst goaltending duo any alleged NHL team has iced in the post lockout era.

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2 hours ago, PromoTheRobot said:

70 points seems about right, if the goalie situation isn't a train wreck.

With no jack eichel will be back to the 40s-50s 

6 minutes ago, sabremike said:

All you have to do is look at the goaltending tandem that is being tossed out to see this team is winning fewer than 20 games this season regardless of if every other thing goes right. This has to be the worst goaltending duo any alleged NHL team has iced in the post lockout era.

Maybe Anderson will retire 20 games in

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