With training camp here soon, is anyone interested in some actual Sabres talk about how you see this season unfolding?
I expect a more entertaining hockey team this year.
I expect the Ted Nolan stamp to firmly attach itself to this year's squad; we will be on the bad end of a few blowouts; we will spend all kinds of time in our own end; and we will still struggle mightily to score goals.
But at least we will be struggling hard. We will have more depth and better leadership; we will hit and skate and throw ourselves in front of shots. At times we will be hanging on by our fingernails. But we will hang in there. And we will play with pride.
We better hope that renewed pride is at least partly due to dumping Ehrhoff. Because his loss hurts us virtually everywhere else. Unless Pysyk and Risto make big leaps, I expect Myers to be the only defenceman capable of moving the puck out of our zone with any form of regularity. I expect this to be the team's biggest weakness, along with a dismal power play, completely lacking in a real quarterback on the point.
But once we do get it out of our zone, I expect more extended periods in the attacking end, and a much better forecheck thanks to a combination of philosophy and a forward corps more tailored to that kind of game (think Mitchell, Kaleta, Stewart, Larsson, Deslauriers, Gionta, an improving Foligno and Girgensons and the 2014 Stafford.) We will also score more thanks to better depth, but it won't be enough to make a huge difference.
That's because we will also allow more goals, probably a lot more goals. I expect Neuvirth and Enroth to each steal games this year, and I expect them to give a few away as well. I hope one of them emerges as a clear number one, but I don't expect it.
I also don't expect any breakthrough offensive leaps by any sabres player. But I do expect Myers to thrive under Nolan. And I expect that by the end of the season, Zemgus Girgensons will have started to get NHL people talking.
Overall, I expect that a more consistent effort, a better team focus, the chance to watch the ups and downs of a few intriguing young players, more unpredictable goaltending, and less Ville Leino will add up to more interesting games. I certainly expect better than the minor league team we watched after the trade deadline last year, and the deer-in-the-headlights horror show that got Ron Rolston fired.
I think that in the period in between those two segments we were probably on a pace for 60-70 points. I expect that to be what we finish with this year, good for a bottom five ticket in the McDavid derby.
What do you expect?
Edited by dudacek, 02 September 2014 - 10:40 PM.