On the third day of Christmas, the Buffalo Sabres need, three top forwards. Ok, call me cheesy, but day one was a goalie, day two was defense, did you not think that day three was going to be about the offense? Why three forwards? Because it constitutes the top line. If you have a franchise goalie and shut down defensemen, now you need a true, number one line.
Long gone are the days that the you had a “named” line since the famed French Connection. In fact, league wide it has been ages since a team had a line that stuck together long enough to earn itself a nickname.
What other teams have that the Buffalo Sabres do not, is a true first line. Most guys who are currently on the Buffalo Sabres roster would be second or third liners at best on most other teams in the league.
The Sabres are paying Cody Hodgson to be their first line center – but with problems in his two way game is he ready, or will he ever be ready for the role of a true number one center.
Mikhail Grigorenko had been tapped as the potential future for the first line, but his inability to perform in North America at the professional level is a troubling sign. When the next NHL season starts he will have one year remaining on his NHL contract, and he has a total of 43 NHL games and a total of three goals. It is doubtful that Grigorenko remains with the Buffalo Sabres beyond this season – and his shotgun start in the World Juniors tournament just might convince him to want to play in the European theater longer with a larger ice surface and less of the North American game.
Zemgus Girgensons has emerged as not only a fan favorite – but the type of power forward that the Buffalo Sabres have been missing in the organization.
Could Zemgus Girgensons be the linch pin to which the Buffalo Sabres build their first line around? Find yourself a sniper that the kid can work alongside, and put on their a perfect passer – and you have the regeneration of top scoring line the Buffalo Sabres have not seen since the days of Danny Briere and Chris Drury.
Speaking of which, by the time the Sabres develop Girgensons and can guarantee him first line minutes consistently – and with regular linemates – the Sabres could have two top scoring lines again like the Drury/Briere days.
When will the Buffalo Sabres be a dominant club again? When their offense and defense regains some semblance of consistency, which it is appearing that things are coming together for some time in the near future, but most likely the 2016-2017 could be a banner raising season for the Buffalo Sabres. If no banner is in the immediate future, they will give teams hell in the playoffs.
The only problem for Girgensons, is he may have to wait to find out who his permanent linemates on the top line are – as they are either still in prospect mode, or are yet to be signed by the Buffalo Sabres in free agency.
The biggest wild card for the Buffalo Sabres future is the contingency we call the top scoring line, and their biggest need on the third day of Christmas. With scoring lines in place, guys that play third and fourth line minutes will be able to truly play the role they are molded for.