Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres 2014-2015 Season Prediction


The draft is over and the bulk of the free agent signings for the Buffalo Sabres are most likely concluded. The draft saw the Sabres acquire top prospect Samson Reinhart; a smooth player with great hockey sense and playmaking skills (and it personally makes me happy to have a player of such a caliber.) The first couple days of free agency have seen GM Tim Murray pick up Brian Gionta (a longtime favorite player of mine), Matt Moulson, Cody McCormick, Andrej Meszaros, and then a trade for Josh Gorges. These additions as well as the returning players will be the key points to my prediction for next season.

Buffalo Sabres Free Agent Forwards

Gionta is a 35 year old former captain and veteran scorer (career high 48 goals in one season) and he will provide the leadership and extra push that the young’s kids will need going forward. Matt Moulson has proven once again that he can score goals by putting up 20+ this season. His scoring touch will be an important asset to have up on the Buffalo Sabres top line. Giving him a chance to succeed will only be beneficial to the scoring problem encountered last year. McCormick will round out the gritty side of the team by most likely Centering the 4th line, and his work ethic will rub off on anyone he plays with (keep in mind that Grigorenko scored 2 goals in one game and he was on a line with McCormick.) These players will not completely solve the scoring issue, but they will certainly help.

Buffalo Sabres Free Agent Defensemen

Another partially overlooked problem from last season was the lacking of defensive coverage and allowing a large number of shots every game (which wears on goalies) Adding two top 4 veteran defensemen in Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros will help to decrease this shot totals and teach the young defensemen such as Ristolainen, Zadorov, and McCabe. Gorges is said to be a “Heart and soul kind of guy” by his former captain Brian Gionta and that will be a quality that is valued by a Sabres team in need of some fire and inspiration.

Returning Players To Watch

The player that most Buffalo Sabres fans can’t wait to watch next season is none other than number 28, Zemgus Girgensons. This kid won the hearts of Buffalo Sabres fans with his work ethic and his fire on the ice that never goes out. He plays hard to the end of every play and doesn’t give up easily. Hopefully his dedication will pay off in the form of more wins.

Tyler Ennis broke out this season by breaking the 20 goal mark for the second time in his career, and he did so on a Sabres club that only saw Cody Hodgson score 20 goals as well. The next closest was Drew Stafford with 16 goals. Look for Ennis to have a larger role on this team next year and look for him to break that 20 goal mark again. He’s shown he can do it, and last year showed that he has gain the confidence to become a leader on this team.

Overall Prediction

I predict that the Buffalo Sabres will finish out of a playoff spot this year again, however, I do not think they will be as far out as they were last year. The kids and the veterans all have something to prove. Last season started with Darcy Regier behind the reigns and Ron Rolston behind the bench. It made for an uninspired team with little to no drive to win or even play most nights. This is Tim Murray and Ted Nolan‘s team now. These players have what it takes to be competitive and that is what Murray said he wanted (interview with Buffalo media at First Niagara Center). Look for a much more competitive and driven team this year.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres

  • Adam Vogler

    While this team has improved it’s leadership, it will still fall well short of a playoff berth. Even if this team wins 10 more games,(based on last years record) this team will be still the worst team in the league. But with the addition of these veterans, draft picks and the 2015 draft picks(please McDavid, Eichel, Hanifan, Barzel, Kylington, Konecy) we are well on our way. 2015-16 should be a great year of change with 16-17 being the year we begin our playoff and championship run year after year

    • terenceduran

      I did not like signing Moulson, but if Reinhart is a top right hand center and could set up left hand Matt Moulson then add Connor McDavid from the draft and 2015-2016 could be a sweet year!

  • Steven Schirmer

    Honestly I doubt we will be anywhere close to a playoff spot once again. If we are, then Tim Murray kinda failed. We need to get the 1st or 2nd pick. Also…Ennis isn’t signed yet. I’m a little scared.

  • wolfdoctor

    We will most certainly be better than last year. My prediction is an improvement from 52 points to 65-75 points.

    • Sabres4Life

      65-75 is a bit of a stretch. It’d be more like 50-68.

      • terenceduran

        Well your high end of 68 not much different from my high end 72, IMO 50 is way too low, this team will be better than last year by at least 8 points or 1 more win every 20 games. Moulson + Gionta + Stewart + Mitchell >>> Vanak + Ott; Gorges =/> McBain; DesLauries > Kaleta; Neuvirth <<< Miller and as I said Girgensons, Ristolainen and Gregorenko are all a year older, a year smarter and a year stronger. Lastly bringing Moulson & McCormick back, adding Meszaros & Gionta and trading for Gorges, does not leave much room for rookies to be mentored. I just hope that we do not get so good that we loose the inside track to McDavid.

      • wolfdoctor

        The team was in total disarray last year. Having stability is worth 10 points in the standings alone. And Nolan gets the most out of his players. I stand by my 65-75 point prediction.

        • terenceduran

          I must of missed it, Nolan is such a great coach and gets the most out of his players that nearly every team in the NHL tried to hire him before he chose to return to Buffalo.

          • wolfdoctor

            Yep, you missed it.

          • terenceduran

            Oh, so after he refused the 1 year contract with the Sabres the offers were pouring in. He was offered assistant coach jobs with TBL and NYI in 97 and 98 which he turned down both. Finally as the head coach with NYI in 2006 and team did improve his first year, and won 1 playoff game then the following year the team fell to 79 points. So he must have been rejecting these secret jobs for the past 8 years that no one knows about. And the Sabres have done so much better with him as coach, they just missed the playoff by 40 points.

          • wolfdoctor

            Secret jobs?

            I guess we’ll have to see if the team improves this year or not. In one of your comments you think the team finish with 67-72 points, an improvement of 15-20 points. This is without Miller and Ehrhoff and you say Nolan will have no influence on the team. LMAO

          • terenceduran

            IMO the talent that was brought into the team through trade & free agency and the development of the players from previous drafts, makes the team better now than it was at the beginning of last year. So Nolan (in his own words not mine) said that he is not an X and O coach. So we had to bring in “player coaches” to teach the kids how to play hockey.

          • wolfdoctor

            That’s probably why Nolan doesn’t want kids on the Sabres. If they don’t know how to play hockey then they shouldn’t be there.

          • Sabres4Life

            That’s exactly why he shouldn’t be the coach of a rebuilding team.

          • wolfdoctor

            Very good point.

          • Sabres4Life

            Highly doubt that. You have any proof on this? Only team that was going to give him a chance was Buffalo. His relationships with GM’s and extra curricular activities with a players wife took him out of the running for many jobs. If it weren’t for his relationship with Lafontaine he’d still be in Latvia.

          • terenceduran

            I was being sarcastic, there were not any jobs other than the three listed. Outside the minds of Buffalo press, no one in the NHL thinks he is a coach, much less a “good” coach. When I mention NHL teams, I am given Latvia as an example of his coaching. Muckler had no problem finding a job, Regier was hired and given the title of Senior VP as well as Assistant GM, even Ruff found a new home. But Nolan? three job offers outside of Buffalo and two from the NYI.

          • Sabres4Life

            Sorry bud didn’t get the sarcasm.

          • terenceduran

            No problem. By the way, really good sarcasm is meant to sound sincere, so thanks for the compliment.

        • Sabres4Life

          What was Nolan’s record last season?

          • terenceduran

            17-41-4

          • wolfdoctor

            Room for lots of improvement. Ha ha.

    • terenceduran

      You are correct, the Sabres will finish with 67 to 72 points more points than last year. From the start of last year we lost Miller, Vanek, McCabe and Ehrhoff to now and added, Stewart, Moulson, Gianta, Gorges, Maszaros and Neuvirth. IMO the additions are greater than the losses and should add 15 to 20 points to the season. Hopefully it will not be too much to prevent the team from finishing last. BTW, who are the kids that these veterans will be mentoring? I only see a couple of open spots in the line up, a center and D-man: Grigorenko and Ristolainen.

      • Sabres4Life

        “From the start of last year we lost Miller, Vanek, McCabe and Ehrhoff to now and added, Stewart, Moulson, Gianta, Gorges, Maszaros and Neuvirth.”

        We still have McCabe. I think you mean McBain.

        Gionta is nothing but 3rd liner now. His shot is horrible. He is only hear for his leadership qualities.

        Meszaros is usually injured half the year so I don’t think he is an improvement over Tallinder.

        Gorges is a big improvement but definitely won’t offset the loss of Ehrhoff.

        Moulson we had him for more then half the season and he was on pace 54 points if he had played the entire season in Buffalo. Technically shouldn’t even be a considered an added player.

        Stewart hasn’t really had a good offensive season since his second NHL season. In which he had 28 goals and 36 assists. The closest he’s been to those numbers is 2012/2013 where he had 18 goals and 18 assists. If it’s not inconsistency that is holding him back it’s his injuries.

        Neuvirth is a big subtraction on Miller. He looked good in the two games he’s played here but honestly it’s 2 games.

        From last season we have lost Miller, Vanek, McNabb, McBain, Ott and Ehrhoff. Now we have Stewart, Gionta, Gorges, Meszaros and Neuvirth.

  • Dano

    MeThinks Buffalo finishes 6 or 7th from the bottom of the league. Huge improvement over last year. I think the Islanders pick is whats going to be in the top3 picks for Buffalo next year while Buffalo is slotted in the 5-8 range.

    All the talks of tanking or loosing to get better draft picks was noted by the league and the discussions for changing the draft ‘ lottery ‘ around came from it ( that and Edmonton constantly picking in the top 3 ).

    • Sabres4Life

      Draft still basically the same. 5% less chance of last place team winning the lottery and last place can only drop to number 2 for next seasons draft. So either way you are guaranteed one of the generational players.

  • Max Marko

    Sabres barely finished last year with 20 wins. I say the get 25-30. Gets the job done, puts them at bottom of the league.

  • Sabres4Life

    If we do not land McDavid or Eichel I am chalking Murray’s tenure here as a big failure. Meszaros and Gionta were ok signings won’t really effect the tank. But Moulson should not have been signed. Instead we should’ve gave $4 mill on a one year contract to Setoguchi or Stempniak. Gorges is a great acquisition that’s what scares me. Hopefully our top prospects stick it in the minors or juniors for next season. With a little luck we can have a McDavid or Eichel next year.

    Teams to watch out for Ottawa, Carolina, Calgary, Edmonton, Arizona and Florida

  • terenceduran

    Does any one know why Reid Gardiner was not drafted? There must be a reason. He was ranked 29th on CSS North American skater list. IMO Murray could have traded for a 7th round and picked him up for practically nothing.

  • terenceduran

    I am posting this again: Does any one know why Reid Gardiner was not drafted? There must be a reason. He was ranked 29th on CSS North American skater list. IMO Murray could have traded for a 7th round and picked him up for practically nothing.

    • wolfdoctor

      “After pouring in seven goals in September, four in October and seven in November, Gardiner scored just three times the rest of the season.”

      • terenceduran

        Thanks, I read some on line posts about him and his CSS ranking, I did not peruse the stats. That must be the reason every team passed him by. If you consider once the 4th round starts, there only a 3% chance of finding an NHL player, every team must have thought he had less than a 3% chance of making the grade. I wonder what CSS saw in him that none of the teams saw.

        • wolfdoctor

          Yes, there are always a few who leave me scratching my head as to why they went undrafted. I would have thought Vladimir Tkachev would have been drafted by somebody (30 points in 20 games). I guess his size and his birth date were his downfall.

          • terenceduran

            He was slated to go in the 3rd round, yes he is small but so is Martin St. Louis. Well I am not a GM nor a scout but what is the purpose of having a CSS if player ranked among the top 60 does not get drafted at all? Thanks for the reply.

        • Sabres4Life

          So if he went undrafted does that make him UFA or does he just re-enter the draft next year?

  • Los Anthony Trembath

    I think most people are selling this team a little short. I think this teams talent pool puts them in the middle of the nhl pack. I believe in the d now. Much more heart with the signings. And our offence lacks experience but I think the skill level will keep us in the middle of the pack. Starting the season with solid coaching and good management will do wonders for the players attitude and confidence. I think the biggest question mark is goaltending. A lot of intangibles at work this season. I’m seeing a tenth place finish in the east