Poll: Are the Buffalo Sabres Already Turning the Corner?

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

Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

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?

Are the Buffalo Sabres Already Turning the Corner?

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Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Future, Matt Hackett, NHL

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  • erico

    I believe last season was crippled by the lock out. There were issues before the season even started and it took a snowball effect. Regier decided too shake up the leadership on the team by firing ruff and trading pomminville. With the resurgence of the young kids seems too be giving the older guys life. We have solid goaltending. The numerous d are fighting with their lives for a spot and inserting young talented forwards in the line up are drastically improving the vets. I know its only 2 games into preseason but they are playing nothing like the team last year

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I completely agree, we’re seeing a completely different team than last season

      • Kevin

        I want to hold off until I see our guys matchup against another teams complete NHL roster. Like Jes said “it’s only preseason.” I am excited about one thing though. Something Erico touched on, and that is the fact that last year “they were crippled by the off-season before the season started.” Let me add, they had no preseason, and had no stability heading into the season to work from. This season they will, or should.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Having a full preseason should be something the Sabres benefit from as opposed to last season. And yes, we’re only 2 games into the preseason we should definitely wait a little bit t see how they do against NHL talent.

          • chas territo

            Last seasons lack of a pre-season is really a lame damn excuse! Look at other teams, the teams that went out and one, namely Chicago, they had no pre-season, so, stop with the excuses, the Sabres sucked last year, that is all there is to it!

          • Caitlin Campbell

            Except for the fact Chicago had 2 solid netminders, some of the best defenceman and a solid captain to get the group together. The Sabres are in a completley different league than the Blackhawks last season both based talent wise and leadership wise.
            You have to admit there were a few teams hurt by the lack of training camp last season.

          • chas territo

            Sure there was, but they were not nowhere near as bad as the Sabres. Plus, the teams that fared better, ie:play-offs, were better run than ours.

          • Caitlin Campbell

            I can’t say the Sabres are a very well run team… could use some new ownership

          • chas territo

            I don’t know, we might get another idiot like Golli or a no-show, no-responsing owner like Pegs!! I’d be afraid, very afraid, because cockroaches flock to shit! LOL

          • Robert Murphy

            And why is it that the Sabres don’t have 2 solid netminders, and some of the best defencemen and solid captain???? Could it be the current GM?? 15yrs of running the team and he is put in charge of a “REBUILD” when most teams retool. As long as Darcy the genius remains in charge the Sabres will be exciting but also rans in the division.

  • Jes

    It’s only preseason nothing to get excited over. Preseason is really just to trim down the roster and see what your prospect pool looks like. We could have an unbelievable preseason and be absolutely nothing in the regular season; like many other teams have done in the past. Actually to be honest more than a fair share have. You got to ask this question maybe 20 games into the regular season. That is when we really will know where we stand with this rebuild.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Fair enough, I fully agree. Preseason could mean absolutely nothing.

  • Justin Tosczak

    I voted yes. Because of Z. The young guys are all playing hard and trying to earn time. I personally give most of the credit to Z for stepping up, and putting pressure on everyone to play their top game and take responsibility for what they do. Single handedly, he is changing the attitude of the Sabres.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Z, meaning Zadorov?
      If so, I agree he’s a solid player.

  • qwicwted

    The bar for the Sabres has been set low as no one expects them to make the playoffs. While I don’t get overly excited about preseason – I have to admit there is some excitment brewing. I really like the fact that our youngsters are competing for jobs – that there is an energy, a hunger and desire to make the team and have an impract. We’re seeing Hackett, Girgensens, and Ristolainen making a strong case for themselves to stay with the club. Girgensens (Zemgis = Z) Foligno and Hackett have been the major stories so far.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Thanks for clearing up the Z issue, never heard of him referenced of Z before. Yes the bar has been set offly low, I mean we’re excited over preseason, but there is a sense that this is a different Sabres team. The younger generation is the soul reason for my excitement, because they play excited hockey.

  • chas territo

    Pre-season games do not matter as much as we hope. Sure, 2 games they looked decent,but are they NHL quality? Hell no, they are what they are, a very average team. They have promise, but not much more than that. They need to prove what they are and that comes in the regular season against teams who have their regular, in season rosters to show their capabilities. I refuse to get hyped over such a little evidence like winning 2 measly pre-season games! My feet are planted on the ground.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      You have to admit the youngster have you at the very least excited for the future no? Yes they need to prove themselves against NHL talent in a couple of weeks and thinks could go badly, but at least the future is looking decen and I think that’s what the excitement is truly about.

      • chas territo

        Can’t say they have me excited, mildly, maybe>. I’ve seen it all before, so excitement in any degree is out of my line of site, right now. You can keep feeling it and that’s great for you, but I am an older fan and can not, until they show more get excited.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          fair enough

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  • Matt Nolan

    The preseason means nothing come talk to me in December I’ve been a buffalo fan to long to fall for the preseason optimism sure I like what’s going on but we haven’t even seen the corner like with the buffalo bills starting the season 4-0 then finishing 5-11 when we actually have put together some solid wins an d are competitive almost every night then well talk about the corner until then this is preseason the sabres could easily win the first two games of the year then bomb I’m excited to watch but let’s be real people I think we can be competitive but let’s save the cup contender talk until we make the playoffs

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I have no doubt that the Sabres are no where near cup contenders, I just put that as an option in the poll. Heck considering their a lock to miss the playoffs (experts opinions) there is no need to even think Cup.
      Like I said earlier, the excitement is surrounding the future and how that future may not be that far away.

  • wolfdoctor

    I’m cautiously optimistic. Buffalo teams have been a let down too often to allow myself to get overly excited. Having said that, we have 6 first round picks who should all be on the team within 2 years (assuming they pan out) and a number of other prospects who should also be part of the team within a few years. As cautious as I am, I’ll be surprised if the Sabres aren’t one of the top teams 3-5 years from now. But thinking negatively, even if only half of our top prospects pan out, I have to believe the Sabres will be better than they’ve been over the last 3 seasons. The worst scenario would be (1) allowing Miller and Vanek to walk without getting anything for them; and (2) our prospects don’t progress and play as hoped. In that case the team could actually be worse than they’ve been.

  • Robert Murphy

    COME ON MAN This is preseason. When the regular season starts Darcy will do something to mess things up or probably do his regular NOTHING

    • chas territo

      So damn MF true,Robert! As long as DR and Pegs control this team with no accountability I find it very hard to support our Sabres! Does that make me a non-fan? No, just a very disgruntled one! It is a trying time right now, especially with an owner who shows his face only when he is ptomoting any new money making scheme, see !st Niagara ice rinks.

      • Robert Murphy

        Agree. Notice how he made the big deal about the new locker room and the plaza. He never mentioned how he raised ticket prices three times since he has been here

  • erico

    Just wait this team will surprise everyone

    • chas territo

      Going from last place to 92nd place would be a surprise for sure! Lol Seriously, getting anywhere above 3rd place would be THR surprise.

      • erico

        are you talking division or conference?

        • chas territo

          Is there a pee wee or midget league? Not much faith in the Sabres right now. Too many problems that I see with all things Buffalo Sabres. Sorry, but that’s how I feel. Notice I said feel not as fact.

  • davidmuscalo

    Preseason means nothing, really, It is just a tuneup for the regular season where winning games counts in the standings. Yes, there is a plethora of raw talent on our team, but that’s just it; they unproven, inexperience raw talent. When the regular season starts, the young guys that stick with the team will provide us with a lot of thrills, but they will also make a lot of mistakes. I am looking forward to a lot of exiting hockey from this team this year, but I am not sanguine that the Sabres will be in playoffs come spring. I hope I am wrong and the players develop a rapport that gets them through the tough games and propels them toward the top of the standings. It will be crucial to have a consistently functional defense unlike last year when the defense failed to show up too often. There are a lot of intangible and possibilities with this team and if Rolston manages these young right, the Sabres could be a team no other teams wants to play.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      It’s going to be some exciting hockey for sure, but yes they’re unproven and will make mistakes. Playoffs are likely out of the question but right now the future seems exciting.

  • Corbin Nevermore

    You buffalo peeps need to get some sunshine. This team was not completely gutted and they look a lot better than the media keeps saying. A lot of weight was lifted with the firing of Ruff and all the pressure Pegula put on them to win the cup. Now they they have little to no expectation on this team they have the freedom to just play. It’s the same reason back to back SC championships are so rare. The pressure coupled with the competition is a lot to bear. Say what you will about it just being pre-season, but wins build confidence no matter when they happen, and entering the season with momentum is better than coming in with no victories like some clubs will face.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I agree- little pressure, no expectations, some confident and hungry young players and a completely different Sabres team. And yes preseason victories do cary some confidence and is sure as heck better than losing.

  • Jay Blanchard

    Turn the corner to me means after 80 games they make the play offs. You can not tell a darn thing from preseason. Other than Stafford is still milking it.

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