The Buffalo Sabres have completed their preseason and there have been some impressive candidates, and others that didn’t quite look up to par.
As The Buffalo Sabres pressed on through their preseason, fans got a glimpse of what things might be like under coach Phil Housley, and how things would mesh between the newcomers and the core group. As it would seem fitting, there were some players that stood out, while others seemed to crumble under the pressure.
Let’s start with the ones who impressed in preseason.
From the core group, Rasmus Ristolainen looked refreshed and ready to play each night. His positioning was sound, and he was using his offensive ability to create some pressure in the opponents’ zones. Kyle Okposo looked like he was picking up where he left off before his season ending issue. He was skating hard and putting a lot of pucks on net; something that will benefit him and this team come the regular season.
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From the group of youngsters, or even new coming players, two in particular stood out to me while I was watching. First off is Seth Griffith. The new Buffalo Sabre has been putting his all into every shift in the preseason, and it seems he is going to be rewarded with an opening night roster position. He had some good chemistry with Sam Reinhart and Matt Moulson, so I wonder if coach Housley will put them together opening night.
The second player that stood out to me was Viktor Antipin. The Russian defender was everything that he was advertised as, plus more. He was skating with speed, laying the body on opposing players, and he was jumping up into the play to make some offense happen where it might not usually be there.
With every preseason, there are those who impress, and those who disappoint. In the case of the Buffalo Sabres, Three players didn’t quite meet expectations.
Nick Baptiste was one of the young forwards to be sent to Rochester instead of being a part of the opening lineup. Baptiste has had some flashes of skill and speed in Rochester, and was a solid call up for a few games last season. This season was important that he make a real shot at the opening roster, but he didn’t quite make the cut.
Justin Bailey was sent down to Rochester today, and he is another young player that should have been able to make the Buffalo Sabres opening lineup. Bailey skated well and used his speed and physical presence in the preseason to create what he could. The bottom line for a player like him is production though, and he was the opposite of that as he posted zero points.
Then there is the likes of Nicholas Deslauriers. The gritty forward was an up and down player with the Buffalo Sabres last season. As it stands today, Deslauriers has been put on waivers with the intent to send him to the Rochester Americans. It appears that his spot on the team has been taken by newcomer Jordan Nolan. With players like Deslauriers not playing too many minutes per night, this might signal that he is bound to be moved elsewhere.
The Buffalo Sabres have their first game of the season October 5, against the Montreal Canadiens in a 7:00pm EST face-off. Expect to see some new faces playing very well, and expect this team to come out of the gate firing.