Tag: Andrej Meszaros

Brian Gionta,

‘Expectation’ for Buffalo to make playoffs, says Gionta


Brian Gionta has played in the NHL 12 years, and only missed the playoffs once.

He doesn’t plan on doing it twice.

“My expectation is to make the playoffs. I didn’t go [to Buffalo] to sit around and watch the playoffs on TV,” Gionta said, per ESPN. “The expectation is to make the playoffs and continue to grow and build. I think that’s the first step. I think it’s a realistic step to try to get in there in the playoffs.”

A centerpiece of Buffalo’s veteran-laden free agent summer coup — along with Josh Gorges, Matt Moulson, Andrej Meszaros, Cody McCormick and Andre Benoit — Gionta provides the Sabres with immense postseason experience. A veteran of over 100 playoff games (112, to be exact), Gionta won a Cup with the Devils in 2003 and went to a pair of Eastern Conference Finals with Montreal, finishing second on the team in goals (nine) and points (15) in 2010.

The Sabres, though, aren’t exactly in a place to talk playoffs. The club is coming off one of the worst showings in franchise history and has just two postseason appearances in the last seven years, failing to advance past the first round both times. What’s more, parts of this year’s team are woefully inexperienced — at center, the club’s top three options could very well be Cody Hodgson (24 years old), Zemgus Girgensons (20) and Sam Reinhart (18).

That said, things can change in a hurry in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay was the No. 3 seed after finishing 14th during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, while the Islanders went the other way — going from an eighth seed in ’13 to missing the postseason by 14 points last year.

It’s Buffalo Sabres day on PHT

Cody Hodgson

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres entered 2013-14 with low expectations, but even with that in mind it was a disappointing campaign. They got off to a 0-6-1 start, never did better than a three-game winning streak, and finished the season with 52 points, which was 14 less than the next worst team.

Buffalo’s offense was a disaster. Only four players recorded at least 10 goals with the Sabres and Cody Hodgson led the team with 44 points. Collectively, they averaged just 1.83 goals per game, which is worse than any team has done since the dawn of the 21st century.

And yet, it’s not all doom-and-gloom in Buffalo. The Sabres made some moves that should help them down the road, starting with the trade of Thomas Vanek to the Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson, a 2015 first-round pick, and a second round selection. They later dealt Moulson and Cody McCormick to Minnesota in exchange for Torrey Mitchell and a pair of second rounders.

Buffalo also sent goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to St. Louis and got, among other things, Chris Stewart, another 2015 first rounder, and goaltender Jaroslav Halak (who they later flipped to Washington in a deal that brought goalie Michal Neuvirth to Buffalo).

Losing the likes of Vanek, Miller, and Ott had to hurt, but they might have walked away as free agents anyways and Buffalo now has three 2015 first round picks to work with.

Over the summer, Buffalo brought back Moulson on a five-year, $25 million contract and also added veterans Brian Gionta, Cody McCormick, and Andrej Meszaros. The hope is that they’ll help guide the Sabres’ young core.

On paper, the Sabres look like a team in for another long season, but at least there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Buffalo’s future.

Sabres sign d-man Benoit — one year, $800,000

Colorado Avalanche v San Jose Sharks

The Buffalo Sabres have signed defenseman Andre Benoit to a one-year, $800,000 contract, according to TSN’s Aaron Ward.

Benoit played 79 games for Colorado last season, scoring seven goals with 21 assists while logging 20:13 of ice time per contest. The undrafted 30-year-old has skated in 120 NHL games with the Avalanche and Senators, plus a whole bunch more in the AHL and in Europe.

In Buffalo, Benoit will join newcomers Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros on a Sabres blue line that struggled both defensively and offensively last season, and also one that no longer has Christian Ehrhoff.

Expect Benoit to get time on the power play. In Colorado, he averaged 2:26 per game with the man advantage, scoring once with seven assists.