From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.
39-32-11, 89 points. Third in Northeast Division, ninth in Eastern Conference.
Steve Ott (via trade), Kevin Porter, John Scott, Adam Pardy (via trade)
Derek Roy (traded to Dallas), Jochen Hecht (not re-signed), Brad Boyes (signed with Islanders)
12th overall — Mikhail Grigorenko (F – Quebec Remparts – QMJHL)
14th overall — Zemgus Girgensons (F – Dubuque – USHL)
A season that had the highest of high hopes after an assortment of big moves got off to a thud of a start, burying the Sabres early on. High-paid guys like Ville Leino and Christian Ehrhoff didn’t quite have the impact Buffalo hoped for and Ryan Miller struggled with both net-crashing Bruins and stopping pucks. They rallied hard late in the season and came close to stealing a playoff spot but fell short by three points.
Swapping out Derek Roy for Steve Ott while adding tough guy John Scott certainly helps add a lot of sandpaper and physicality to a Sabres roster that needed it. Patrick Kaleta’s new three-year deal shows that they’re still in the business of irritating opponents as well. What will ultimately decide the Sabres’ hopes though is consistency. Sounds easy, right? It hasn’t been for Buffalo, especially last season.
Miller had his ups and downs, so did the defense in front of him. The offense would show flashes of brilliance with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville having great seasons, but even they weren’t immune. Another big season from (as yet unsigned RFA) Tyler Ennis, having Ott show he’s more than an abrasive forward and kids like Cody Hodgson and Luke Adam growing up a little, Buffalo could be right back in the postseason. Perhaps Grigorenko can be the secret weapon as a first-year player.
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