It’s no secret that not a lot of people are betting on the Buffalo Sabres to make the playoffs next season. In fact, they are a popular choose to finish at or near the bottom of the NHL standings.
If that does happen, there will be a silver lining for Sabres fans as the upcoming draft is shaping up to be a great one. Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have the potential to develop into players that a team could build a successful franchise around and both will give Buffalo fans an early preview of what they’re capable of this fall.
Eichel has been invited to the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 25, which will be held at Buffalo’s First Niagara Center, per NHL.com. He’s set to play for Boston University this season.
“He’s one of the most heralded incoming freshmen to come to Boston University in a long time,” Boston University coach David Quinn said. “He’s not only a great player but a great kid and will have a lot to offer our program both on and off the ice.”
Eichel is also expected to headline the States’ world junior team, which is looking to rebound after falling to Russia in the quarterfinals in 2014.
Roughly a month after the All-American Prospects Game, the Sabres will host an OHL game between the Niagara Ice Dogs and McDavid’s Erie Otters.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.