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

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Drew Stafford, F

The Drew Stafford storyline is an interesting one to follow.  For starters, he has never created the sort of expectations that Tyler Myers created during his sensational rookie campaign.  His best season saw him go for 31-21-52 in 2010-2011, and he followed that season with a 50 point campaign.  Good, but not superstar-good.

Apr 9, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward Drew Stafford (21) during the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

And Drew Stafford is a touch overpaid, yes, as he is set to make 4 mil this season with the Sabres – but it’s not like he was a free-agent that the Sabres went out and grossly overpaid for, as they did with Leino.  Yet there’s probably as many fans of the blue and gold calling for Stafford to be traded than there are asking the same for Myers and Leino.

When Stafford is interested in playing hockey, he’s a second-line forward at best, and it’s not inconceivable to see him scoring close to 50 points in a full 82-game season.  Sabres fans really can’t ask for much more than that, so just as is the case with Leino, I don’t think Stafford has as much work cut out for him as Myers does . . . but possibly the thing that infuriates fans about Stafford so much is that he just doesn’t seem to be fully invested in the sport of hockey.  Maybe that will change due to the fact that he’s all growed up and married now . . . but I can tell you one thing: if he opens the season with as prolonged a slump as he opened last year’s campaign, the sharks will come out to feed, and it won’t be pretty.

Worst Case Scenario: Healthy-scratch city, toiling on the third line, and gone, baby gone long before April

You’ve heard the scenarios – now cast your vote.  Which member of the 2013-2014 Buffalo Sabres has the most to prove, and the most to lose, come the regular season?  Tyler Myers and his sky-high expectations?  Ville Leino and his gi-normous contract?  Drew Stafford and his questionable commitment?  Vote!!!

Which Buffalo Sabres player needs to prove himself the most next season?

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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.