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Buffalo Sabres

30 Teams in 30 Days: Buffalo Sabres

Last season was a big adjustment for the Buffalo Sabres, as they saw two of their best players, Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, leave the team via free agency in the summer of 2007.  The loss of those two key players was probably the main reason the Sabres went from Cup favourites in 2007 to missing the playoffs in 2008.  After last season’s frustrating campaign, the Sabres head into this season with essentially the same team they had when the season concluded in April.  Now, for most teams that would be a concern, but the Sabres have a young core of talented players who they believe will either rebound from off-years or continue to build on their successful seasons.

Forwards:

Last season was the coming out party for Derrick Roy (81 points) and Jason Pominville (80 points) as the two players became the Sabres’ most reliable point producers throughout last season.  Roy and Pominville did their best to offset the poor seasons the Sabres received from Thomas Vanek (64 points) and Maxim Afinogenov (28 points).  If Vanek and Afinogenov rebound from their poor seasons and Roy and Pominville continue ascending to becoming first line forwards, the Sabres should have a far better chance at making the playoffs in 2008/09.  In addition to these four main cogs of the team’s offense, Drew Stafford, Ales Kotalik and Jochen Hecht can also provide solid secondary scoring options to the team.  With youngsters Daniel Paille, Clark MacArthur and Patrick Kaletta also coming into their own, the Sabres have one of the better young forwards corps in the entire NHL.

Defense:

The Sabres felt the loss of Brian Campbell at the end of last season and will continue to feel his loss this season, but the fact is, they were not going to be able to re-sign him anyways, so it made sense for them to trade the defenseman before the trade deadline.  Heading into this season, the Sabres will continue to rely on the underrated combination of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman to face-off against the opposing team’s top line.  One or both of these players will always be on the ice when the Crosby’s of the world take the ice and that is good news for Sabres fans.  Lydman and Tallinder do not get much national attention, but they play extremely solid defensive games and it is extremely important that the two stay healthy.  To help replace the loss of Brian Campbell the Sabres went out this summer and added reliable veteran defenseman Craig Rivet which was a savvy move by GM Darcy Regier.  Rivet can play the point on the power play, battle in the corners and adds leadership to the dressing room of a young team.  Add in the power play skills of Jaroslav Spacek and the Sabres have a pretty solid top-four defence group.  Finally, the team has fairly solid defensive depth with Teppo Numminen returning to the fold, Nathan Paestch and the improving Andrej Sekera to round out its top six-seven.

Goaltending:

For all the worries of Ryan Miller bolting town after this season and heading to Detroit, Sabres fans now rest easy knowing that one of the top netminder in the entire NHL will be manning the crease for their team for the next six seasons.  Miller had a 2.64 G.A.A. last season and a .906 save percentage but should improve on both of those totals this season, as he possesses all the talent necessary to do so.  Miller will be backed up by Patrick Lalime this season, but if Lalime plays more than 10-12 games then the Sabres will be in trouble. 

Prediction:

Ceiling: 6th in the Eastern Conference.

Floor: 10th in the Eastern Conference.

If the Sabres put it all together, they could surprise some people.

The Jets won
The Moose lost
The Ice won

It was a busy Illegal Curve Post-Game Show and we've got an Illegal Curve Hockey Show in 9 hours.

Another busy Saturday coming your way on https://illegalcurve.com/

If you couldn't join @ICEzzyG, @ICdrew and @ICdave live on the Illegal Curve Post-Game Show following the Jets win fear not cause you can watch the replay or download the podcast.

https://illegalcurve.com/game-26-jets-3-blackhawks-1-post-game-recap/

Associate coach Scott Arniel spoke after the Jets win in Chicago.

https://illegalcurve.com/game-26-jets-3-blackhawks-1-post-game-recap/

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