Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres and the Atlantic Division - Lame Duck Or Dark Horse Playoff Bound Edition

As the dust settled on the lockout shortened season of 2013, the Northeast division was well represented in the playoffs.  Fifty percent of the Eastern Conference playoff teams hailed from the Northeast Division, with the Buffalo Sabres being the sole team not to make the playoffs.

It might be good news for the Buffalo Sabres that the Northeast no longer exists.  Now the Buffalo Sabres are in a slightly stronger division, as you add perennial playoff contender Detroit now contending for the top spot in the division.

The Buffalo Sabres now sit with the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning as merely “existing” within their division.

Since 2000-2001, the Florida Panthers have made the playoffs just once, losing in the first round to the New Jersey Devils two seasons ago, the same team that bumped them out of playoff contention in the 1999-2000 playoffs.

In 20 years of existence, the Florida Panthers have been in the playoffs just four times, including their magical cup finals run in 1996 that ultimately ended at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche.

Tampa Bay on the other hand, has made the playoffs five times since 2000 – including their Stanley Cup victory.  The Lightning also made the playoffs in 1996 – that being their only other playoff season.

Since 2000 the Buffalo Sabres have made the playoffs just five times, highlighted by the franchises best two years in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007.

The “heavy hitters” for the Atlantic Division this year, since 2000 have only missed the playoffs a combined 16 times, with the Toronto Maple Leafs leading with 7 misses – almost half, but the organization has changed direction and finally has a team worthy of competition.

The Detroit Red Wings enter the Atlantic Division having not missed the playoffs since the 1989-1990 season.

The Buffalo Sabres are not raising any Atlantic Division banners any time soon, and are a long way away from being a lock to make the playoffs.

Could the Buffalo Sabres be a dark horse candidate for the playoffs this year?

Tags: Atlantic Division Buffalo Sabres Stanley Cup Playoffs

  • Matt Nolan

    They are capable it will depend on how well rolston manages the guys. There are a lot of IFs entering the season if…. Myers… Enroth… Miller… Vanek … Grigo … Girginsons … Stafford… Ennis … Hodgson …. But if Mtl can turn it around so can we esp looking at Ron’s record thus far I’m hopeful and if not i know three years out our prospects will be ready to emerge from their incubator fully

  • Jes

    The only real bad team in our division is the Florida Panthers. The only real locks for playoffs in our division are Boston, Detroit, and Senators.

    The only real lock in the Metropolitan Division is Pittsburgh. The rest are very good teams that will duke it out. With Carolina looking like a good team and let’s not forget about the Islanderss and a pretty good Caps team. Scary looking Columbus on the rise fast, the Flyers hoping for a bounce back year and the Rangers are always a questionable team but they always have a good team on paper.

    I don’t think we will make the playoffs with the new additions to our conference. I honestly think those two are locks for the playoffs. Columbus looked unstoppable at years end. And Detroit never misses the playoffs.

    Rebuild is underway. Go Sabres.

  • davidmuscalo

    In sports anything is possible that is why they play the games. Just because a team looks bad or good on paper doesn’t mean they will perform accordingly during the season.

    I am looking forward to the upcoming season for several reason. First, we have a new coach and he has shown some promise. Second, we will have many new players some of whom show great promise. Third, it is highly likely that Vanek and Miller will be back and some of the younger players, such as, Hodgson and Grigorenko will develop to the point where they give us the edge is some of those close games that can make the difference in getting into the playoffs. This is especially important at the beginning of the season when a team can build some momentum that can carry them through the season. Losing streaks during mid season are not nearly as detrimental to a team’s Esprit De Corps as they are at the beginning of the season.

    It would also give the team a huge boost if Myers and Stafford were to wake up and smell the coffee. I’m not sanguine that they will do so, because history has shown us that neither has the desire or dedication to being a true professional. Regardless, I think the coming season will determine if either or both of these players will be part of the Sabres team when the 2014-2015 season begins.

    You can make excuses for Myers such as he expected the 2012-2013 season to be cancelled. So did many other players, but that didn’t stop them from showing in shape and ready to play when the lockout ended. It was also obvious that in many games throughout the season that he was not mentally into the game. Additionally, when is he going to learn to stick handle. I cringe every time he touch the puck in the defensive zone and has it stolen by an opposition player.

    • Jes

      Myers is fine. I don’t think you seen him play once Rolston took over. HUGE IM[ROVEMENT!! He’s going to be great this upcoming season. He knows his jobs on the line and he’s got to improve drastically to earn his minutes. Ristolainen will be breathing down him at least by next year hell maybe even this year. And let’s not forget about Zadorov either.

  • Pingback: Back of the Net: Bolts By The Bay 7/28/13