In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Fifth up are the Buffalo Sabres who are in their 48th year as a franchise. They have gone 7 seasons without making the playoffs and while the rebuild is in process, it appears to have taken a step of further rebuilding (currently the fourth youngest team in the league).
2017 – 2018 NHL Stats:
NHL Standings: 31st
Goals for Rank: 31st
Goals against Rank: 29th
PP Rank: 20th
PK Rank: 22nd
Projected 2018-2019 NHL Stats
NHL Standings: 27th
Eastern Conference Standings: 15th
Atlantic Division Standings: 8th
Coach: Phil Housley (2nd season in Ottawa) (25-42-12 in regular season ; 11-8 in the playoffs)
I had hoped that last year would be a massive step forward for Buffalo with a healthy Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly. They came through as did Sam Reinhardt (finally) who combined for 74 goals between the three of them. That would equal 37% of their goals last year as Buffalo fell dead last in goals scored last year. Young prospects like Casey Mittlestadt, Alex Nylander or even Evan Rodrigues are much needed. Losing Evander Kane (who had 20 goals) and Ryan O’Reilly does not help the biggest weakness on this team and will continue to be their plight this year. Their defense isn’t all that bad, it’s an average unit with Marco Scandella, Rasmus Ristolainen playing a good offensively / defensively minded combination. Zach Bogosian and Rasmus Dahlin will prove to be a formidable 2nd unit. The team was 23rd in shots against last year but 3rd to last in goals against. Robin Lehnar proved to be average and Chad Johnson had a very rough year with 3.55 GAA and .891 Sv %. Carter Hutton should provide more stability in net next year.
Carter Hutton, Conor Sheary, Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund, Rasmus Dahlin
Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane
Prospects and Picks:
-Victor Olofsson. The 7th round pick in the 2014 draft wasn’t high on many peoples lists but he has made the most of his opportunities. The 23 year old had 47 points in 50 games in the SHL last season leading the way with 27 goals. As I mentioned the Sabres are desperate for goal scoring and he could be a much needed piece.
Look out for Victor Olofsson, Lawrence Pilut or Rasmus Asplund as dark horses to make the roster— David Kuchta (@dave_kuchta716) July 26, 2018
-Rasmus Dahlin. He is the next Niklas Lindstrom (supposedly). I think he’s more defensively savvy than an offensive power house but with that said 40 points isn’t impossible from him and I could see him actually pulling off a positive plus/minus in the process.
Sleeper Fantasy Asset:
-Sam Reinhart. He now has increased his points each season over the last three. Not by quantum amounts but he got to 50 points last year and I don’t think its absurd for him to get to the high 50’s or 60’s this year. He’s not owned in a ton of leagues and can bring 25-30 goal upside.
$39MM Spent; $27M in Cap room; 17 players signed; average team age 26
Does Jack Eichel top 70 points this year?
This poll is closed
Yes 70 or more
No he falls short of 70 points
Previous Team Overviews
#28 Ottawa Senators
#31 Arizona Coyotes