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Prediction time: Which player will take the biggest step up in 2014-15?


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Poll: Movin' on up

Which Sabre -- youngster or veteran -- is going to make the biggest jump this season?

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Which player's development is most critical for the team's improvement in 2014-15 (assuming you do NOT want them to tank)?

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Purely as a matter of personal preference, which youngster would you most like to see turn into a really good NHL player?

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#1 nfreeman

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:45 PM

OK, how 'bout some non-tank-driven hockey talk?

Which Sabre do you think is going to take the biggest leap this year?

NB that "taking the biggest leap" does not mean "which player will have the best season?" -- i.e. if Reinhart ends up with 21-22-43 (which were Ennis' numbers last year), that will be a pretty big leap for him, but obviously no leap a-tall for Ennis.

Similarly, if Risto becomes a rock-solid, 19 min-per-game top-4 defenseman, that would be a pretty substantial leap -- but Myers would, IMHO, need to (finally!) make it to the all-star game to take a similarly-sized leap.  I would think Hodgson and Ennis would need to get to around 70 points, Stafford to 35 goals, etc.

For question #2, the underlying assumption is that the Sabres aren't going to get McDavid or Eichel, so they might as well try to be as good as they can be.

Question #3 is a fanboy question, but we're all fanboys here, innit?

I chose Myers, a goalie and Reinhart.

Let's have 'em.

#2 Yuri Olesha

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 02:03 PM

I was thinking that if Stafford has a good year, he could easily be the best player on this team.  So that's my prediction, but it will be as much a case of circumstance - we don't have any good players and he'll be getting top minutes - as it will be a case of improvement, but I expect him to have his best season.

#3 shrader

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 02:12 PM

1. I went with Pysyk.  Just a gut feeling there.  He's in his 3rd pro season and is a bit older than Girgensons (the other main option for this question, in my mind).  It should be the point where hopefully he springboards his career.

2. Ristolainen.  I'm not so much thinking 2014-15 but this year and beyond.  He'll be main guy playing on the team this year with the chance of becoming a top pair d-man.  If he can become that guy, they'll be in much better shape.

3. Reinhart is the highest ceiling guy on the team right now.  By "turning into a really good player", I interpret that as becoming the player you are projected to be.  His projection should be superstar, and who wouldn't want that on their team.

#4 Glass Case Of Emotion

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 02:20 PM

1. Armia, his AHL playoffs were outstanding. he's just coming up to speed, I think he could pot 15-20 NHL goals this season if he keeps it up.

2. Nothing will be more important than the Goalies

3. Zadorov, because Pominville.

Edited by Glass Case Of Emotion, 22 August 2014 - 02:21 PM.


#5 Drunkard

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 02:33 PM

1. Stafford because I'm predicting another contract year production boost.   2. Reinhart because I imagine he'll be up with the team all year and if he manages to develop quickly the whole will be better off and improves us down the middle in particular 3. Grigorenko because if he is able to reach his potential and we can still manage to get Eichel or McDavid we'll have one of the best group of centers in the NHL.

Edited by Drunkard, 22 August 2014 - 02:34 PM.


#6 TrueBluePhD

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 03:03 PM

1) Ristolainen. Everything about his development has been trending upwards. I'm excited.

2) I'm with Glass: the goalies. Nothing else matters if we're getting a turd sandwich between the pipes.

3) Grigorenko. This one was easy for me. From the "Russian factor" to the draft day slide to the rushed development...I want so badly for him to overcome it all and turn into the star he has the talent to be. Additionally, if this were to happen, the rebuild looks a lot better and puts us in contention a lot sooner. Not a prediction, of course, but I desperately want it.

#7 bcardona

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 03:24 PM

I went with Ennis for #1.  I liked his play 2nd half of last year, he's skilled, he's fast, he plays with moxy.  With the old core completely gone now, plus the addition of Gionta to prop him up, I like his chances.  

#2 - Myers.  Make or break on "elite" player.  If he plays like an all-star....tank be damned.

#3 - Girgs.  Love his game, simple as that.

Good call on the non-tank thread!

#8 d4rksabre

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:00 PM

Tyler Myers. Not because I think he will, but because he needs to.

#9 weave

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:14 PM

#1 Risto, I think he's the guy ready to really make a leap

#2 Reinhart, The team goes as its centers go.  If the team is going to do well Sam is going to need to do reasonably well.

#3 Zadorov, this guy has all the tools we've always wanted to see on the team.  I want him to be a player that teams game plan around.

#10 drnkirishone

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:41 PM

1. Deslauriers. He has shown all the things we have wanted from a forward for a long time. Adding more skill to the bottom 6 is going to put him in a position to succeed.
2. The goalies. Short of icing a team as skilled as chicago the goalies will determine how good or bad we are.
3. Zadorov.  Because I love me a defenseman star. He checks all the boxes on my ultimate defenseman list. If he can put it all together in the nhl. We will do as pegula commanded and win cups in the plural

#11 Bob Malooga

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 05:06 PM

1. Larsson seems to think he is ready, he should be ready...and I think he takes a huge step.

2. The goalies, no question...they are not Ryan Miller, and he is who kept us in games. (If I can even say that.)

3. Tough call here...I think Reinhart, Zadorov, Ristolainen, Girgensons, Pysyk, and McCabe will reach where they are supposed to get to...Grigorenko and Armia are the two offensive weapons we could really use. Neither of them have proven much of anything in the NHL/AHL yet either...so I picked Grigorenko, as he was supposed to be a star and offensive dynamo...and I think he deserves to get there, given all he has been through. We need him to, as well! (We desperately need both to develop.)

Good poll, by the way...I think we see quite a few kids make major improvements this year knowing they have a spot to fight for.

Edited by Bob Malooga, 22 August 2014 - 05:07 PM.


#12 freester

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 05:18 PM

I think Stewart is going to have a big year.  He will surprise a lot of people.  Nolan is high on him and he plays with a decent center he could get some points.  He is also in a contract year.

#13 dudacek

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:44 PM

Myers. He won't turn everyone on here into believers, but he will be a high risk high reward, top pairing, all situation difference making defenceman.

Again Myers. If he isn't a top-pairing guy, our defence is going to look pretty sad.

Reinhart. I want a number one centre again so bad, a guy who can actually threaten to regularly add his name to the league's scoring leader board. We haven't had one for so long and he is the best chance of anyone we've seen in years.

Edited by dudacek, 22 August 2014 - 07:45 PM.


#14 Hank

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:32 PM

Armia, goalies and McCabe.

#15 bunomatic

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:34 PM

Foligno takes the biggest jump ;)
I jest.

I couldn't vote because my answer for #1 is Stewart and he ain't included. Contract year and something to prove.
#2 I take Reinhart
#3 I also take Reinhart because if he doesn't he'll be considered a bust pick which would sukc.

#16 Tankalicious

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:40 PM

Pysyk. He's just been in the corner sharpening his Sabre while everybody at the pool hall talks about the other kids.

Edited by Tankalicious, 22 August 2014 - 09:40 PM.


#17 HopefulFuture

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:56 PM

Foligno. He is the key to me. NHL experience, he's gritty, he's tough and he's proven he can pot the puck when given linemates to play with that can show him the refined side of the game and his role in it.

To me, the Stafford, Ennis, Foligno line is critical. But as a player, what he learns from playing LW with those players could prove critical for a scoring, power forward, fighting, 3rd line LW'er.

As for make or break time, it's Hodgson. He needs to show he can center a 2nd/3rd scoring line by upping that face off percentage, increasing play making abilities through assists and learning a defensive game that suits his purpose.

As for the future, It's all about Girgensons. I see him becoming the pillar of a center if he can control the face off dot, much like Hodgson to that end. But, more importantly, it's his attitude, his drive, his determination that seals the deal for him as the 2nd line center position. He can score, with flare, he can hit, he can control the flow of a game. This year, it's his time to shine 82 games. Let us pray he does so.

#18 nfreeman

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 11:09 PM

View Postdudacek, on 22 August 2014 - 07:44 PM, said:

Myers. He won't turn everyone on here into believers, but he will be a high risk high reward, top pairing, all situation difference making defenceman.

Again Myers. If he isn't a top-pairing guy, our defence is going to look pretty sad.

Reinhart. I want a number one centre again so bad, a guy who can actually threaten to regularly add his name to the league's scoring leader board. We haven't had one for so long and he is the best chance of anyone we've seen in years.

I'm not really expecting this, but that would be soooooooooo sweet.

View Postbunomatic, on 22 August 2014 - 08:34 PM, said:

Foligno takes the biggest jump ;)
I jest.

I couldn't vote because my answer for #1 is Stewart and he ain't included. Contract year and something to prove.
#2 I take Reinhart
#3 I also take Reinhart because if he doesn't he'll be considered a bust pick which would sukc.

I thought about including Stewart, but decided to omit him since he only played about 30 seconds for the Sabres last year.  But I agree that I could see him having a good year.

#19 wyldnwoody44

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 01:42 AM

Girgs, he has a great game and has missed some easy scoring chances last season, I'm looking for his tenacity to pay off on the score sheet.

Enroth, it's time to prove that height isn't a make or break stat for goalies.... No more pre game coffees

Obviously Stafford because of a contract year, although if he has a phenomenal year I want him traded because the cycle of him playing well in a contract year is growing old on me

Lastly, I want to see Hodgson step up into a #2 role and up his defensive game as well, it's a year that he needs if he wants to stay off the trading block.

#20 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 08:33 AM

Great topic.  Thanks, nfreeman.

1.   Grigorenko ... I still believe.

2.  Myers ... now is the time for him to become our stud defender.

3.  Reinhart ... since the odds of the Sabres landing McDavid (and since this is an anti-tank thread ... for the record I am firmly anti-tank, but I don't think the team will be very good) are slim ... I want Reinhart to become the stud #1 centre that the Sabres have been missing since LaLaLa and D.H.

#21 DeLuca1967

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 01:58 PM

Reinhart across the board. The Sabres are overdue to have a rookie forward make a huge impact.

#22 Ottosmagic13

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 04:06 PM

1. Zemgus - Together with Ennis he made games exciting last year in the middle of a crappy season. I think if he makes that jump his effort and attitude will lead the team and open the door for a hard working, talented, cup winning team in a year or two.

2. Goalies - Manly because from the time I can remember, buffalo has been a haven for goal-tending greats. The first games I went to I went in part to watch Hasek and the Miller era kept up the standard. Watching the US Team tended (if in part) by a Sabres goalie was exciting. I'd like to see Neuvirth in particular grow into his own (sorry Enroth i'll wait for Ulmark too).

3. Deslauriers - I want to the new core that we are developing become something. I want the 7-12 forwards made up of guys that surprised us in their output and would be playing in higher spots on other teams. I would love a pool of players out of Rochester that can light a fire under the NHL guys, knowing that there is a up and coming youngster that is able and willing to take your spot will drive home that hard work and consistant talent attitude that I believe is going to be the key of the *new* sabres

Edited by Ottosmagic13, 23 August 2014 - 10:48 PM.


#23 nfreeman

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 08:17 PM

View PostDeLuca1967, on 23 August 2014 - 01:58 PM, said:

Reinhart across the board. The Sabres are overdue to have a rookie forward make a huge impact.

Say it again brother!


View PostOttosmagic13, on 23 August 2014 - 04:06 PM, said:

1. Zemgus - Together with Ennis he made games exciting last year in the middle of a crappy season. I think if he makes that jump his effort and attitude will lead the team and open the door for a hard working, talented, cup winning team in a year or two.

2. Goalies - Manly because from the time I can remember, buffalo has been a haven for goal-tending greats. The first games I went to I went in part to watch Hasek and the Miller era kept up the standard. Watching the US Team tended (if in part) by a Sabres goalie was exciting. I'd like to see Neuvirth in particular grow into his own (sorry Enroth i'll wait for Ulmark too).

3. Deslauriers - I want to the new core that we are developing become something. I want the 7-12 forawards made up of guys that surprised us in their output and would be playing in higher spots on other teams. I would love a pool of players out of Rochester that can light a fire under the NHL guys, knowing that their is a up and coming youngster that is able and willing to take your spot will drive home that hard work and consistant talent attitude that I believe is going to be the key of the *new* sabres

Good post.

#24 Naulter8

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:00 AM

I honestly think Chris Stewart is going to make a big jump this year,  for some reason he wasn't on the poll though.  I've always liked him and I think if he can stay healthy he will have a very good chance to lead this team in points. Most people don't know that he's been kind of plagued by injuries most of his career, if he could stay healthy and we resigned him that trade could have brought in more then anyone anticipated.

I'm really hoping for good seasons for Myers,  Ristolainen and Grigorenko.  I don't know if it's possible but I'd like to see great years from everyone of our young guns,  and still finish last.

#25 Heimdall

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 05:28 AM

I went for
#1 Hodgson ( wanted to put Grigorenko here, but i think he will tear up the AHL and only gets a few call ups)
#2 enrorth/neuvirth  the goalies are our biggest question mark i think.
#3 Grigorenko think everyone know how much i love this kid, and still our only center i can see winning more face offs than losing them.

#26 mustacheofgod

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:20 PM

#1 & #3 I chose Grigorenko. He's been dragged through a real $hitparade so far by the organization. I hope he can use that as a chip on his shoulder and be able to compete & produce at an NHL level.

#2: Tyler Myers. Everybody here seems to be agreeing with the goalies which I agree with to an extent but for the first time in a long, long time the team is devoid of a goaltender who is going to steal a game for us when all other parts of our game break down. We need Myers to step up to the player he's shown he can be and more importantly paid to be. He needs to set an example to the rest of our D-Core. If he plays confidently it will trickle down to the rest of the team.

Personally, I don't think that's going to happen and poor play in our defensive zone by the D & Goalies is what is going to keep us nestled tightly in the bottom of the standings all year. I do predict our offensive to be more productive this year (how can it not be?). I sincerely believe Leino had some sort of kinetic vampirism that sucked the goal-juice from everyone on the team. Getting rid of the waiver scraps and having the younger guys become less young will help as well.

#27 waldo

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 05:02 PM

We can not have too many players improve at once .  It is another tank year . The last I hope in our eight year rebuild :blink:  Just six years left to glory :bag:

#28 Spndnchz

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 12:07 PM

Sabres get 75/1 odds to win the 2015 Stanley Cup.

Tied with Calgary, Florida and Nashville for the bottom.

#29 LaLaLaFontaine

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 12:17 PM

I went with

1. Myers: I think he will prosper under Nolan.

2. Reinhart our most important talent.

3. Girgensons, because I love his guts.

#30 MattPie

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 11:21 AM

View Postnfreeman, on 22 August 2014 - 12:45 PM, said:

Similarly, if Risto becomes a rock-solid, 19 min-per-game top-4 defenseman, that would be a pretty substantial leap -- but Myers would, IMHO, need to (finally!) make it to the all-star game to take a similarly-sized leap.  I would think Hodgson and Ennis would need to get to around 70 points, Stafford to 35 goals, etc.
ve 'em.

Just a quick comment on the All-star game. While that would be nice to have more, you have to figure Buffalo only sends one player to the All-star game, but Myers has a much chance as anyone. Just doing the math, there are 16 teams in the East. Each team seems to have one player (you have to keep the fans interested), so that's 16 players locked in with one Sabre. If another Sabre fills one of the remaining 5 slots (12 F + 6 D + 3G??),  Buffalo is having a way better year than expected.

#31 Taro T

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 11:53 AM

I went w/ Myers, Reinhart, & Grigorenko.

I expect Myers will prove to be the real deal and this year will be his (2nd) coming out party.

Went w/ Reinhart for 2, but could easily have gone w/ the goalie combo.  I expect having 2 strong centers would be almost as important as getting solid goaltending for having a reasonable season, and expect there is a better chance that he'll play as a legit #2 than either goalie will be in the top 10.

For 3, went w/ Grigorenko because if he pans out, the Sabres go from having arguably the worst C's in the league to quite likely a top 5 set in 2-3 years.

#32 drnkirishone

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:14 PM

View PostMattPie, on 03 September 2014 - 11:21 AM, said:



Just a quick comment on the All-star game. While that would be nice to have more, you have to figure Buffalo only sends one player to the All-star game, but Myers has a much chance as anyone. Just doing the math, there are 16 teams in the East. Each team seems to have one player (you have to keep the fans interested), so that's 16 players locked in with one Sabre. If another Sabre fills one of the remaining 5 slots (12 F + 6 D + 3G??),  Buffalo is having a way better year than expected.
east and west dont matter do they? The nhl is doing the draft for the 2 teams again right? I also don't think they have a concrete rule of at least 1 per team anymore

#33 shrader

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 08:29 AM

View Postdrnkirishone, on 03 September 2014 - 06:14 PM, said:

east and west dont matter do they? The nhl is doing the draft for the 2 teams again right? I also don't think they have a concrete rule of at least 1 per team anymore

Haven't they been doing some sort of young stars thing as well?  So in between the all star rosters and that young star roster, that would be how they get at least one guy from every team.  If he's in the NHL, your one representative is Reinhart.