Which Buffalo Sabres Player Has The Most To Prove Next Season?

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April 5, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; Buffalo Sabres center Ville Leino (23) celebrates his goal with teammate right wing Drew Stafford (21) during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres open training camp today, and the word of the day, week, month, and season will be, “rebuild” – understandably so.   The Sabres have a metric ton of young talent in their pipeline just waiting to burst onto the NHL scene, and training camp is just the first step that many of the future Sabres will take during their journey to the major leagues.

Yet it is not just the young guns who will have a lot to prove over the course of the 2013-2014 NHL season.  There are a handful of veteran Sabres players who also must make a good impression on the fans and their bosses, due either to injuries robbing them of playing time last season, lackluster efforts, or in some cases, both.

Let’s examine the three members of the Buffalo Sabres who have the most to prove next season, and then I’ll let you vote on which one has the most to gain (or lose) by having a stellar rebound season.

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Topics: Buffalo Sabres

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  • Kevin

    Nice Job Rich! I have to go with Myers. I think he will turn it around this year not so much because HT is there, but more because he has suffered through the worst of his career, and will be better for it with what he learned. Take away his first year and this kid would be in Rochester still learning the pro game. Well, that’s what he had to do after his big first year. He was good before he was ready to be good. If that makes sense.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Thanks, Kevin! I voted for Myers, too. I think he will regain his form, but my fear is that he never becomes the elite defenseman everyone was hoping he would become. Fortunately, even if he is “just” good, adding Ristolainen and Zadorov to the blueline will make the Sabres’ D pretty darn impressive.

      • Kevin

        I think it’s unfair and unrealistic to think he will ever be as spectacular as he was in his rookie season. If he can just be parts of what he was, I will take that. Add that to a more mature mindset and maybe we have a great dman. That’s was part of his problem, he was always trying to match his first yr. Kind a like bowling a 200 when your average is 150. Then you think you can do it all the time and you end up stinking. Not saying you shouldn’t strive. Just be smart about it. I think he learned a very tough in your face lesson. We shall see ay?

  • erico

    there is a numerous list of players on the sabres roster that need to prove themselves. which is why i think the sabres may defeat all odds and be a good team. Players like Stafford, Myers and Leino did not benefit from the shortened season. They showed up to camp in a slump and werent able to shake it in the fast paced season. there was no chance to step back and take a breath. Now with a slew of young guys itching to take jobs away from the vets, these guys will have to step it up a notch. In reality these guys should be better

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Yeah – nothing like an army of young guys looking to replace you to help you feel motivated, right? :D

      • erico

        well look at who wants/needs to make the Sabre roster this yearr

        Adam, Mcnabb, Ristolainen, Armia, Larsson, Flynn, Grigorenko, Girgensons, Porter, zadorov, Pysyk, Ruhwedal

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          Competition is a good thing. I do think the Sabres will perform better than projected this season because of that.

          • erico

            are you kidding me. this year should be an amazing year for sabres. a foligno-ennis-stafford line having a full training camp to get that chemistry back + the potential line of Leino-grigorenko-ott that had great chemistry in january training camp until leino was injured. now it just leaves vanek-hodgson-????

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            I’m not sure about amazing – every team in the NHL had to deal with injuries and shortened training camps, and the Sabres were clearly deficient in many areas last season. All of the negatives that came with the lockout affected all the teams, and all the positives that come with a full training camp, likewise. I expect the Sabres to surprise some people . . . but I’ll hold off on the superlatives for a bit!

          • erico

            i think the lock out hurt teams more than others. Teams who relied on their rookies were more successful because they only had to deal with a 48 game schedule. they showed up to camp already in mid season form by playing in the ahl/junior. Sabres had a few guys sitting on their asses and were unprepared in January.

          • Kevin

            I think to extent you are correct, but is also the fact that Lindy Ruff expected these guys to comback and play his defensive style right off the get go. You can’t play back on your heals right after you have been – as you say erico- sitting on their asses for 3 months.

          • Jes

            take ennis off center. he`s got no business there. if that line couldn`t find chemistry in 48 games last year why do you think they will find it just because they had a training camp and what 5-6 preseason games???? Grigorenko better be our number 2 guy otherwise we are just not using his talents putting him on a 3rd or 4th line. the way I see it, its got to be Leino – Grigorenko – Ennis

  • Jes

    I’d say
    Myers
    Stafford
    Leino
    McBain – was definitely ridiculed in Carolina last few years.
    Our whole team should be on here to tell you the truth minus Ehrhoff.

    • Kevin

      McBain- Hadn’t thought of him. Like to see him excel

  • davidmuscalo

    Myers, of course! Unless he has learned to stick handle over the off season, the only reason he will make the team is his contract. I found it a profound admission of his lax attitude toward the game when he stated this summer that he was learning that there is a mental aspect to the game. How can someone who has been playing the game all these years just discover that you have to be mentally prepared? Is he really the blase or just that dumb?

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Good – no, great – point, David.