April 17, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Marcus Foligno (82) and right wing Drew Stafford (21) celebrate their shootout win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres May Not Be As Bad As You Think

Based on last year’s subpar season, it would be easy to assume that the Sabres will have another below average one. Not to mention, very minor off season acquisitions. With having such a young team, you would think the Sabres are in for another long season, but I will tell you why the Buffalo Sabres may not be as bad as you think.

When a line is a combined minus 34, that is totally unacceptable. Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno all must have bounce back seasons. If this line can live up to the hype they brought at the end of the 2011-12 season, this will make for a solid 2nd-3rd line. Stafford is the key. He must regain his scoring touch and live up to his 4 million dollar salary. Another forward who must have a big season is Ville Leino. Leino has been hampered by injuries during his short stint with the Sabres. He showed promise in his 8 games last season, as he recorded 6 points. If Leino can continue his pace from last year, he makes for a solid top 6 forward. In particular, if these four forwards turn out to have solid seasons, this will lift the Sabres out of the basement of the East.

Henrik Tallinder was brought back to Buffalo for one simple reason; to rejuvenate the career of Tyler Myers. If this D pairing can even come close to how they played when Myers was a rookie, this will be huge for the Sabres. Over the last few seasons, Myers has been a wreck and appears lost in every aspect of the game. Expect Tallinder to guide and help Myers to save his career and have a nice bounce back season. If this can occur, it will benefit the Sabres greatly, and definitely improve their spot in the standings.

The goaltending has been short of great for the Sabres over the past few seasons. Since the 2010 Olympics, Ryan Miller has been nothing more than average. Regardless of whom the starter is, Buffalo must get consistent play from this position. Miller and Enroth, in my opinion, will most likely split time until one goalie pulls ahead of the other, or Miller gets traded. Jhonas Enroth is in the prime of his career and ready to start. The time is now for Enroth, and with consistent play in net, I don’t see why the Sabres can’t contend for a playoff spot.

There are players at every position that need to have comeback seasons in order for the Sabres to succeed. If the players named above can live up to their contracts, and not to mention get consistent goaltending, I have every reason to believe that the Sabres can at least compete for one of the final playoff spots.

Tags: 2013-14 Season Buffalo Sabres Ryan Miller

  • chas territo

    Bad/think? I see them as bad to average this year. DR had a decent draft, not great, so the team on ice will be bad to start. The draft picks… How many will be on the big league team? We already know the current roster has too many Stafford types already. Hope springs eternal they say, however for our team hope springs sewer! Lol

  • Jes

    I’m hoping we are at the bottom of the league rather than the middle for a couple seasons because hey we need superstars on this team and the only way that’s going to happen is getting one of the top 3 picks in the draft. The only way Vanek stays is if we make the playoffs and with the new teams added to our conference I don’t see how that is possible. What we really need to do is resign Hodgson and trade both Miller and Vanek now before they become distractions and take up valuable ice time that could be given to the youth. So basically we will be bad with a shot at being average (which we do not want). We need that top 3 pick for at least a couple seasons.

    • 40plusyearsfrustration

      So true Jes. Yet some fans that I have seen posts on want this team to make that run for the last play-off spot with the hope a miracle will happen. And if/ when this average team ends up with another mid-round draft pick, they’ll say said GM will make a pick that seems to be another second coming, like this years crop.
      Hate to say it, but bottom of the barrel to get a player where super-stars often arrive from; “TOP 3 PICK”.
      Great to read your comments Jes. Keep up the good work.

      • Jes

        ya thanks man. it’s just frustrating that some fans think a rebuild can be done overnight ie Ottawa and Montreal. But really they had one bad season and rebounded the very next season. That’s not a rebuild it’s a rebound. They already had a tonne of great prospects and merging players in the system. We’ve already missed the playoffs I don’t know 4 out of last 6 times? We’ve had our chance to rebound but now it’s time for a rebuild and to do it right we gotta stink like trash. I doubt we will be worse than the Flames or the Panthers but here’s to hoping we are(Y)

        • Matt Nolan

          To be honest if we’re gonna suck again I hope we suck and get Connor mcdavid that is how you turn a franchise around

          • Jes

            That’s what I’m hoping for

      • Greg Antilla

        I’ve been saying this the last 3 years. The Sabres were near the bottom at roughly the halfway point of each of the last 3 seasons and had golden opportunities to grab top picks. Instead, they made a “push for the playoffs”, got booted in one round and missed the other two… completely ruining their shot at top picks. Then they ironically whine in the media about how they wish they could “move up” in the draft. They could have picked up Calder-contending rookies the last 3 seasons, added that to their seasoned vets, and then start to make a run as early as this season. Instead, they now have to start over and do what they should have done the past few years.

        As I mentioned earlier, I had been saying this for the last 3 years… but was roasted at places like homer central (Die By The Blade) for saying it. Phrases like, “You can’t expect them to throw a season”, and polls showing most wanted “playoffs rather than picks”. I laughed when I popped in recently and saw they actually completely reversed those opinions.. hello hypocrisy.

  • PaulR

    If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs. That is, if we had some eggs….

    • Jes

      lol I tried to say this fast 3 times couldn’t do it

  • bullwinkle88

    That’s a whole boatload of “ifs”, so let me try one.

    If the Sabres can defy their current odds of 100-1, they will win the Cup!!!

    Since were playing the “if” game, why not?

  • GuyOnABuffalo

    Miller and Enroth, in my opinion, will most likely split time until one goalie pulls ahead of the other, or Miller gets traded. Jhonas Enroth is in the prime of his career and ready to start.


  • Robert Murphy

    One reason the Sabres won’t be any better this year:Darcy Regier 16yrs of failure what makes you believe he will improve this team. They are rebuilding and all he has done is bring in two older defensemen. Still we lack scoring, PP scoring and winning faceoffs.

    • ende

      Do you know what rebuilding means?

      • Robert Murphy

        Check above comment. I know it doesn’t mean having Darcy sit on his hands and watch the division get better

        • ende

          Robert, a rebuild isn’t something you just do over the course of a summer. It’s not like you just dump some players and go get new ones. We are probably going to be in rebuild mode for at least 2-3 years. You’d better hope we do much worse than last season. Blackhawks and Penguins are the model here… bottom out, draft high, grow your youth together. We’ll get there but we’re going to have to suck for quite awhile.

          Darcy’s doing really well with the rebuild actually. He has stockpiled picks and drafted well. Our C’s and D’s will take awhile to mature, and we’ll add the scoring depth later. About the only thing Darcy could be doing right now is shopping Miller, but odds are we’ll get more return for him mid-season. There’s no point in looking at free agency or trades right now.

          New beginnings.

          • Robert Murphy

            I hope your right. I can’t see Darcy doing it.

    • Jes

      Tallinder was really the only older defensemen. McBain is only 25 years old. And it’s a rebuild man it’s not gonna take shape overnight.

      • Robert Murphy

        The key word is rebuild. That means you bring in players that will help your team win. The Sabres have been below average in scoring, power play goals and faceoffs. Darcy has done nothing to improve in those areas this year. At best this team will be as bad as last years. With the new division setup they are probable going to be much worse