The Buffalo Sabres made a series of bold moves in the past week, headlined by their selection of Michigan defenseman Owen Power with the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft. Adding Power with fellow defenseman and new teammate Rasmus Dahlin in the teams’ rotation has created a lot of buzz in Buffalo.
It’s also a move that is gaining attention across the NHL, including that of writer John Vogl of The Athletic, who has identified what he believes to be the Sabres blueprint for the team they are building.
In fact, he broke down the potential impact of alternating the two defensive talents on the Sabres championship chances, and it turns out history is on their side:
“The gold standard of the past 20 years was established in Anaheim. In 2006, Chris Pronger joined Scott Niedermayer on the Ducks. The lefties anchored their own pairings. Pronger skated 26 minutes, 32 seconds per night and Niedermayer averaged 26:12. While they shared the ice occasionally on special teams or during the final minutes, that was essentially 53 minutes of a 60-minute game with Hall of Famers controlling the action.”
“The Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007. During the three seasons that Pronger and Niedermayer were teammates, Anaheim allowed the seventh-fewest goals in the NHL.”
“So, again, dream big, Sabres fans.”
It is likely that Power will return to Michigan for one more season. If this is the case, fans won’t get to see him the Sabres blue and gold just yet, but they will have this rotation to look forward to. That may come as a welcome relief to many as one of the biggest detriments to the teams’ ability to win many close games this past season was giving up goals on defense.
The team took Power and then began a seven-round replenishment of forwards (plus one more defenseman in the sixth round). After trading Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart on Friday, the Sabres ended up acquiring the additional first-round selection, which turned into Isak Rosén at No. 14 overall, as well as depth in defenseman Robert Hagg and goalie Devon Levi. They also added an additional second-round pick in next year’s draft.
With the draft behind them, the front office will now turn its attention to free agency while fans also wait to learn the fate of team captain Jack Eichel as well.