No, history isn’t repeating itself for the Buffalo Sabres, Amerks
Just under two decades ago, the Rochester Americans were playing in the Conference Finals, and the Buffalo Sabres followed soon after.
Mike Harrington of Buffalo News wrote an incredible piece (link below) regarding the last time the Rochester Americans punched their ticket into the Conference Finals, the Buffalo Sabres followed suit a few seasons after. That appearance occurred in 2003-04, and as you know, the Sabres followed up in 2005-06, and again in 2006-07.
So that led me to ask the critical question: Is history repeating itself here in 2022-23? Now that the Amerks are in the Conference Finals featuring young talent like Jiri Kulich, Lukas Rousek, Isak Rosen, and Brett Murray, among others, that two or three years from today when the Blue and Gold’s process is more than complete, could they find themselves in serious Cup contention?
I’m going the optimistic route and saying, YES. BUT, I’m also going to go the ultra-optimistic route and say no, they are not repeating history because I honestly believe this incarnation of the Sabres can do something the 2005-06 and 2006-07 teams didn’t do, and that is to break into the Stanley Cup Final.
Buffalo Sabres, Amerks, won’t repeat history – They will make history
When you look at the Sabres current roster, without any projected trades or free agent signings, you can’t help but love what you see. This is a team that has an incredible young goaltender in Devon Levi, who will steadily adapt to the NHL demands this season. But Levi’s not the only commodity fans should be bullish about.
They have a blueliner who should have been a Norris Trophy finalist in Rasmus Dahlin. Another defenseman, Owen Power, is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, and yet another, Mattias Samuelsson, does nothing but help the Sabres win perhaps more than any other player. While Buffalo needs one more top four D-man, the direction they are heading in is uncanny.
The trio of Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson, and Alex Tuch are among the NHL’s best, while the Kid Line led by Dylan Cozens showed more than a few flashes. Former first round pick Casey Mittelstadt got it together, while Tyson Jost and Peyton Krebs (assuming both are still in town) were effective on a penalty kill that eventually started turning its fortunes around late in the year.
Then you have Matt Savoie, who could likely step over from the WHL and become an effective winger for the Sabres on the middle six. Jiri Kulich may not be too far behind him, and another forward, Jordan Greenway, has the potential to be an effective player. Once Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons leave for good, you also have Lukas Rousek and potentially even Brett Murray ready and raring to go.
Obviously, there are a few holes on the roster the Buffalo Sabres still need to deal with. But it’s more than safe to say that, given the improvement this team has made under general manager Kevyn Adams and head coach Don Granato in just two short seasons, along with the system and stability currently in place, it’s 100% okay to believe the Sabres, and the Amerks, won’t just repeat history, but will make new history by raising a few banners in their respective arenas.
Source: Mike Harrington: Last time Amerks got this far, Sabres closed in on Stanley Cup by Mike Harrington, BuffaloNews.com