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Training camp questions #14: who will surprise us?


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#41 Touched by Boyes

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:04 PM

Wrote him off or just plain forgot about him. I definitely had moments this summer where I forgot about him.

 

Larsson will be an interesting player to keep an eye on this year. Two seasons ago everybody seemed to love the 3rd line of him centering Foligno and Gionta. Is he the 4th line center on this team? My memory is fuzzy on this but I recall he was upset with Nolan who had him on the 4th line. Will he have that attitude on that line or has he matured and knows the role he needs to play on the team?

 

I'm also curious whose on his line this year? Does Housley replicate a line similar to what he was playing on before? Girgensons - Larsson - Pomenville? Fasching - Larsson - Pomenville? Will he play wing somewhere?

Didn't we trade Pominville to MIN for Larsson back in the day? I don't know why that just hit me, but that's an oddity. 



#42 Randall Flagg

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:14 PM

Sabres career years in recent memory:
Zemgus in 2014-15, 30 points in 61 games. 

Ennis that year too, don't remember his point totals. Barely over 40 though. 

Ristolainen "burst out" for over 40 points in 2015-16, so that is legitimate. 

I don't feel Jack has had one yet. Nor Sam. 
McCabe surprised by going from fringe NHLer to solid but not spectacular defenseman, but that doesn't take a team to the next level. 

Teams like Toronto get six career years at once from each of their top 6 players while a KHL defenseman comes over and does great. Let us not forget that Tyler freaking Ballsack Bozo Bozak would have finished second on the Sabres in scoring last year. A no-name rookie (Connor Brown) with 18 goals on top of that. All of these "Career years" match or blow away the career years compiled by Sabres since, like, 2011, all in one season.

Columbus last year had a similar story. 

 

It's our ###### turn, dammit!



#43 MattPie

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:17 PM

Didn't we trade Pominville to MIN for Larsson back in the day? I don't know why that just hit me, but that's an oddity. 

 

Yep, Larsssssson and Hackett, a 2013 1st and 2014 2nd. The 2013 first became Zadorov, the 2014 2nd became Karabcek.



#44 dudacek

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:25 PM

Sabres career years in recent memory:
Zemgus in 2014-15, 30 points in 61 games.
Ennis that year too, don't remember his point totals. Barely over 40 though.
Ristolainen "burst out" for over 40 points in 2015-16, so that is legitimate.
I don't feel Jack has had one yet. Nor Sam.
McCabe surprised by going from fringe NHLer to solid but not spectacular defenseman, but that doesn't take a team to the next level.
Teams like Toronto get six career years at once from each of their top 6 players while a KHL defenseman comes over and does great. Let us not forget that Tyler freaking Ballsack Bozo Bozak would have finished second on the Sabres in scoring last year. A no-name rookie (Connor Brown) with 18 goals on top of that. All of these "Career years" match or blow away the career years compiled by Sabres since, like, 2011, all in one season.
Columbus last year had a similar story.

It's our ###### turn, dammit!

CJ Smith 19/18/37 😜

In all seriousness, I can almost guarantee a winger (likely a young winger) will have an unexpectedly good year this year.
Too many of-age prospects and open spots next to good centres.

Same for a defencemen, whether it's Scandella rising to the opportunity, or one of McCabe, Antipin or Beaulieau seizing theirs.

Edited by dudacek, 13 September 2017 - 03:42 PM.


#45 Doohickie

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:34 PM

Yep, Larsssssson and Hackett, a 2013 1st and 2014 2nd. The 2013 first became Zadorov, the 2014 2nd became Karabcek.

 

...and Zads helped us get ROR.



#46 Thorny

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:39 PM

I disagree. He took a lot of heat last year for games where he looked disinterested or didn't do much. He produced and had some real WOW moments, but I think if he comes out this year and just blows the doors off night in and night out, that would be a big surprise and would make Jack the legitimate star we all want him to be.


I agree with the spirit of your post, but no one does the bolded, every night.

I'll go with Kane. His g/gp and p/gp are already pretty good, so the surprise will be that he stays relatively healthy.

The other surprise will be that there still won't be anyone who wants to sign him.

#47 iTInSn

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:41 PM


Evan Rodrigues as a legitimate NHL third liner. He's an intelligent guy with very few physical attributes that stand out, but maybe he surprises in a role similar to that which Paul Byron grabbed in Montreal.


This is what I was thinking I'd post when I had the chance. Being good at many things is sometimes better than being great at one or two.

#48 mustacheofgod

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:41 PM

CJ Smith 19/18/37

In all seriousness, I can almost guarantee a winger (likely a young winger) will establish himself this year.
Too many of-age prospects and open spots next to good centres.

Same for a defencemen, whether it's Scandella rising to the opportunity, or one of McCabe, Antipin or Beaulieau seizing theirs.

 

If one of each happens there's no doubt in my mind we make the playoffs this year.



#49 dudacek

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 05:14 PM

Speaking strictly in generalities, but the Sabres seem to have a lot of guys poised to improve.

Generally players who are the likeliest to have big (for them) years are:
* Veteran players under 30 who scored under their established totals last year (ROR, Okposo, Scandella, Bogosian)
* Forwards entering their third or fourth season (Eichel, Reinhart, Larsson)
* Defenceman aged 22-25 who have yet to emerge (Antipin, McCabe, Beaulieu, Ristolainen - although you could argue the latter two emerged last season)

Zemgus is an odd case because he's too young to have a solid track record, and his fourth year, last year, was the lowest point total of his career.

Moulson, Pominville, are past their prime, and even repeating last year's totals would be unusual.
The same might be said for Pouliot, but he is only 30 and scored at a more than 30point pace seven consecutive years prior to last year.


But really, aside from Moulson and Pominville, the only guy likely to regress, in terms of trends is Kane, a younger vet coming off one of his best seasons. Of course he is a highly motivated pending unrestricted free agent.

Honestly, the Sabres might be a good team to find some hockey pool bargains this year.

#50 ericcomposer72

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:48 PM

FWIW, Someone I know on the "inside" - who has watched Beaulieu carefully - says he's a stud and just needs some confidence. He said he has tons of skill and we're lucky to have him.


Edited by ericcomposer72, 13 September 2017 - 10:48 PM.


#51 WildCard

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:52 PM

FWIW, Someone I know on the "inside" - who has watched Beaulieu carefully - says he's a stud and just needs some confidence. He said he has tons of skill and we're lucky to have him.

I'm really excited to see him play. Feel like he could really surprise some people. The preliminary reports from the big guns (TSN guys) all said he can play, just got stuck with Bergevin / Michelle and never got a chance to thrive.



#52 qwksndmonster

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:57 PM

I hope the D core surprises. If McCabe takes the next step and one of Antipin or Beaulieu (Liger I see your point) is a legit top 4 guy we could do some real damage in the playoffs this season.

#53 dudacek

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:59 PM

Beaulieau coughs up the puck and makes brain cramp decisions.
Can skate and shoot with the best of them and brings a surprising edge.

Really could flourish with what we expect Housley to preach;
Not been the most dedicated to hockey; maybe with the trade and age comes maturity.

Edited by dudacek, 13 September 2017 - 11:01 PM.


#54 Randall Flagg

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:02 PM

Montreal fans actually have very little good to say about his shot, and that comes from before they traded him.

I'm not expecting much so if he does well that's a huge plus.

#55 bob_sauve28

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:03 AM

Jake McCabe. We all like his game. Phil Housley loved his game when he coached Team USA at the WJC making him team captain. I think he already has a ton of confidence in him. That is going to lead to bigger minutes. I can't wait to see what Phil has in store for Jake.
I like the Bogo answer as well. He would be my second choice.

I just wonder if Jake is an example of a player that was rushed into the NHL because of our shortage of defenseman. Could he have gained more by staying in AHL for a half more season? 



#56 rakish

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:15 AM

All the good picks (Eichel) are taken, I'm going with Taylor Fedun.



#57 Derrico

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 08:19 AM

@Bob I disagree that Jake was rushed. I argued two camps ago that I thought he would be the biggest surprise and was ready for the show. He was drafted in 2012 (#44 overall) and played 2 full seasons for the University of Wisconsin plus an entire year for Rochester in his 3rd post draft season. So he had 3 full seasons of high quality hockey prior to the permanent jump. He was 22 when he started playing full time. Let's compare that to Guhle who was sent back two straight OHL years and some are saying let him play atleast one season in Roch. I'm on board with that and it will also give him 3 post draft years of development prior to the NHL if he plays the whole year in Roch. A guy like Zadorov is who they screwed around. He got sent back to the OHL for one season post draft before making the Sabres full time. Don't get me started on Grigorenko....

#58 d4rksabre

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:02 AM

@JeremyWGR Eichel saying he hasn't proven anything + a willingness to play out season w/o extension = "I'm planning on lighting it up."
@JeremyWGR Eichel calling his past seasons "mediocre" is a good indication of what he thinks he's capable of too.

#59 bob_sauve28

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:10 AM

@Bob I disagree that Jake was rushed. I argued two camps ago that I thought he would be the biggest surprise and was ready for the show. He was drafted in 2012 (#44 overall) and played 2 full seasons for the University of Wisconsin plus an entire year for Rochester in his 3rd post draft season. So he had 3 full seasons of high quality hockey prior to the permanent jump. He was 22 when he started playing full time. Let's compare that to Guhle who was sent back two straight OHL years and some are saying let him play atleast one season in Roch. I'm on board with that and it will also give him 3 post draft years of development prior to the NHL if he plays the whole year in Roch. A guy like Zadorov is who they screwed around. He got sent back to the OHL for one season post draft before making the Sabres full time. Don't get me started on Grigorenko....

Thanks, I didn't know he was 22! I just remember he started out in AHL before they realized the defense in Buffalo was a disaster



#60 MattPie

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:15 AM

@JeremyWGR Eichel saying he hasn't proven anything + a willingness to play out season w/o extension = "I'm planning on lighting it up."
@JeremyWGR Eichel calling his past seasons "mediocre" is a good indication of what he thinks he's capable of too.

 

Be still my heart!



#61 Pokey Jones

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 12:12 AM

McCabe won't surprise me, I actually expect him to be pretty good. He will surprise me if he isn't.

 

I am hoping Rodrigues will take the final step and learn how to finish the play. With his speed, I have him as a potential longshot to play with Eichel.

 

I think the biggest surprise will be Beaulieu. Housley will take him to the next level like he did with that Nashville D. 

 

Reinhart will surprise me if he can play Housley's system well. I hope I am wrong about him. 



#62 Randall Flagg

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 12:16 AM

My surprise in the other direction is going to be Beaulieu, in that I continue to believe he'll be the least favorite Sabre on this board (unless Pouliot falls apart, or Gorges/Des get a lot of playing time).



#63 bob_sauve28

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 08:45 AM

FWIW, Someone I know on the "inside" - who has watched Beaulieu carefully - says he's a stud and just needs some confidence. He said he has tons of skill and we're lucky to have him.



He had 29 points last year which is way more than any defenseman aside from Risto had on our team. Young and improving with a ton of skill.

#64 Pokey Jones

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 12:44 AM

That's my feeling. They didn't just randomly pick him up they think he is a guy that will excel under Housley and they feel they know how to bring that out like Housley did with Ellis.  



#65 Huckleberry

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 07:54 PM

@Bob I disagree that Jake was rushed. I argued two camps ago that I thought he would be the biggest surprise and was ready for the show. He was drafted in 2012 (#44 overall) and played 2 full seasons for the University of Wisconsin plus an entire year for Rochester in his 3rd post draft season. So he had 3 full seasons of high quality hockey prior to the permanent jump. He was 22 when he started playing full time. Let's compare that to Guhle who was sent back two straight OHL years and some are saying let him play atleast one season in Roch. I'm on board with that and it will also give him 3 post draft years of development prior to the NHL if he plays the whole year in Roch. A guy like Zadorov is who they screwed around. He got sent back to the OHL for one season post draft before making the Sabres full time. Don't get me started on Grigorenko....

 

Zadorov forced it a bit when he didn't want to go back to OHL and threatened to bolt to the KHL.



#66 ShadowLiger

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 09:30 AM

Seth Griffith. I'm changing my answer

#67 bob_sauve28

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 10:28 AM

Housley pretty high on Rodriguez. Had some really nice things to say about him so far. 



#68 dudacek

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 10:58 AM

Housley pretty high on Rodriguez. Had some really nice things to say about him so far.


One thing about Housley, he certainly believes in positive reinforcement.

#69 BRAWNDO

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 11:03 AM

Seth Griffith. I'm changing my answer


I would add Stevie Moses to the mix. He was signed by Nashville so Phil is familiar with him. And Housley continues to mention his speed in pressers.

#70 GASabresFan

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 03:06 PM

McCabe!  He might just earn the No.1 pairing slot with Risto.

 

That also might be a good thing.  It will take some pressure off Scandella and his repaired hip.

 

McCabe Ristolainen

Scandella Antipin

Beaulieu Bogosian

 

I really like those pairings.  Puts a heavy player on all three pairings.  Speed in all three pairings as well as a natural puck mover on all three pairings.



#71 rakish

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 04:33 PM

Seth Griffith. I'm changing my answer

 

I was thinking about changing my anwer to Taylor Fedun and Seth Griffith, but decided taking two picks would be to much.



#72 We've

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 05:21 PM

None surprises.



#73 Pokey Jones

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 05:48 PM

Housley is high on Rodrigues because he has speed. Housley wants an uptempo game so initially anyone with speed will be favored. Griffith might also fit that.