Have the last two pre-season games not been a breath of exciting, fresh air for Sabres’ fans? To see a hungry, motivated, bunch of young players leave it all on the ice for a chance to don the blue and gold has been fantastic to watch. Through the prospects tournament and pre-season thus far, it’s easy to see that the future of the Sabres is going to be very bright.
Before players even reported to training camp the forecast for the Sabres this season was long and miserable, but after seeing them in their first pre-season games we may have been misinformed. Although it’s meaningless pre-season and fans shouldn’t start planning the Sabres Stanley Cup parade quite yet, it would be tough for one to not be excited about the Sabres. Sitting at 2-0 through pre-season, the Sabres should be feeling good. Not just because the disaster season has yet to begin, but because of the vast wealth of youth flowing throughout the system.
Training camp and pre-season has been an eye opener for the Sabres brass. Rasmus Ristolainen, Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus
Girgensons have shown that they are ready to make the step to the NHL and are fighting hard to earn roster spots. Marcus Foligno has shown potential on the top line, sparking chemistry with Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson. Although he likely won’t crack the roster this season, Nikita Zadorov has shown that he’s not that far off from the NHL. Joel Armia has also shown that he’s not too far from breaking into the NHL and adapting to the North American game. Heck, even players like Nick Baptiste who are still in junior are showing signs of a bright future with the Sabres. Not to mention defence such as Mark Pysyk and Tyler Myers feeling more confident. The future of the Sabres is starting to resemble a team from 2006-2007 with budding young players and solid veterans.
Perhaps the most impressive showing that boosts well for the future is the play of Matt Hackett. The kid has looked like a stud and is showing that if given the chance may be able to take over the Sabres starting goaltending duties when Ryan Miller sails away. Look out Jhonas Enroth there’s a new kid in town and his name is Hackett.
Through pre-season and training camp, one thing has been clear- the young players came to play. With a few of the young players cracking the roster, this season may not be as bad as predicted. The younger guys play their hearts out and are determined to not get shown up, you know they’ll give it their all every night.
It’s beginning to look like the rebuild wont be as long or painful as anyone predicted. So my question to all of you: Are the Buffalo Sabres already beginning to turn the corner?