Sabres News NHL: The Buffalo Sabres set to open training camp on September 14, 2017.



Buffalo Sabres 2017 Season Preview



Jack Eichel was the guy drafted after Connor McDavid in 2015. Many considered him a generational talent like McDavid. Eichel should finally see line 1 action in 2017-2018.



Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 8/31/2017.



Buffalo Sabres Line 1 Forwards


Player
Position
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Evander Kane
Left Wing
70
6-foot-2-inches
211-pounds
28
15
43
Jack Eichel
Center
61
6-foot-2-inches
194-pounds
24
33
57
Kyle Okposo
Right Wing
65
6-foot-0-inches
208-pounds
19
26
45

Bufalo Sabres Line 2 Forwards


Player
Position
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Benoit Pouliot
Left Wing
67
6-foot-3-inches
204-pounds
6
8
14
Ryan O'Reilly
Center
72
6-foot-0-inches
210-pounds
20
35
55
Sam Reinhart
Right Wing
79
6-foot-1-inches
183-pounds
17
30
47

Buffalo Sabres Line 3 Forwards


Player
Position
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Matt Moulson
Left Wing
81
6-foot-1-inches
200-pounds
14
18
32
Zemgus Girgensons
Center
75
6-foot-2-inches
200-pounds
7
9
16
Jason Pominville
Right Wing
74
6-foot-0-inches
181-pounds
13
34
47

Buffalo Sabres Line 4 Forwards


Player
Position
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Nicolas Deslauriers
Left Wing
82
6-foot-1-inches
209-pounds
0
2
2
Johan Larsson
Center
36
5-foot-11-inches
206-pounds
6
5
11
Jacob Josefson
Right Wing
38
6-foot-0-inches
190-pounds
1
9
10


Buffalo Sabres Forwards Review: Buffalo has an excellent first line with Evander Kane and Kyle Okposo at left wing and right wing. Those guys will do more with Jack Eichel playing on the top line next season instead of Ryan O'Reilly.


Ryan O'Reilly and Sam Reinhart can anchor the second line at center and right wing with Benoit Pouliot coming from Edmonton to compliment them at left wing. Zemgus Girgensons has Matt Moulson, a veteran in Buffalo complimenting him at left wing along with newcomer Jason Pomminville who did wonderful in Minnesota before being shipped to the Sabres in a deal that involved the Wild getting Tyler Ennis.


Nicholas Deslauriers has three years of experience on the fourth line. John Larsson has some experience on the fourth line and now you bring in right winger Jacob Josefson to round out their group of forwards.


Buffalo has a very underrated offense with all of the additions they made. Buffalo was 24th in goals scored in 2016-2017. Despite that, the Sabres finished 1st among every NHL team on the power play. I still think Buffalo boasts a top 15 power play unit. I'm not sure they can maintain the top power play unit for a second year in a row. That's a lot to ask for this young group even though the power play unit will be a strength for Buffalo when they have an extra man on the ice.




Buffalo Sabres Defensive Lines


Player
Line
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Rasmus Ristolainen
Line 1
79
6-foot-4-inches
203-pounds
6
39
45
Marco Scandella
Line 1
71
6-foot-3-inches
208-pounds
4
9
13
Zach Bogosian
Line 2
56
6-foot-3-inches
228-pounds
2
9
11
Jake McCabe
Line 2
76
6-foot-1-inches
209-pounds
3
17
20
Nathan Beaulieu
Line 3
74
6-foot-2-inches
205-pounds
4
24
28
Victor Antipin
Line 3
0
5-foot-11-inches
179-pounds
0
0
0


Buffalo Sabres Defensemen Review: Buffalo has one good defender in Rasumus Ristolanen. I don't trust Marco Scandella or Nathan Beauleau as that line 1 guy across from Ristolanen. This team needs one more defender that can replace Antipin before they can seriously consider contending in the Eastern Conference.


Last year Buffalo ranked 20th in goals allowed and 25th in penalty killing. They improved defensively from a bottom-feeder to a team that got slightly better. Finishing in the top 20 in both goals allowed and penalty killing is possible. I don't think they will do enough defensively to contend mainly because I'm not a fan of Scandella on the top line. Beauleau could be effective in the right role though.




Draft Utopia Between The Pipes Goalie Tracker


Starting Goalie


Player
Team
Games Played
Record
Shutouts
Save Percentage
Goals Against Average
Robin Lehner
Buffalo Sabres
58
2 Shutouts
.920
2.68 GAA

Backup Goalie


Player
Team
Games Played
Record
Shutouts
Save Percentage
Goals Against Average
Chad Johnson
Buffalo Sabres
33
18-15-1
3 Shutouts
.910
2.57 GAA


Buffalo Sabres Goaltender Review: Buffalo's decision to give Ottawa a second first rounder in the 2015 NHL Draft for Robin Lehner is something they are probably regretting right now. Chad Johnson did well in Calgary since he had a good defense. He should remain a terrible backup in Buffalo.


If Buffalo gets to the playoffs it won't be due to the defense. It will be due to Robin Lehner finally playing like an All Star goalie. I doubt if Lehner is capable of that right now.




Buffalo Sabres Prospect Pool: Buffalo has winger Alex Nylander on the Providence Americans in the AHL after taking him 8th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Nylander is versatile enough to play either winger role. Cliff Pu could be a future call up as well. You also got 2017 first round pick Casey Mittelstadt in your system along with defenseman Brycen Martin who I think is capable of playing on Buffalo's third line right now as that extra defender.


The Sabres have some guys from this 2014 draft class that are NHL ready at this point like second round pick Brendan Lemieux at left wing and third round pick Jonas Johansen as a goalie to develop for the future. They are gonna wait another year to play these guys in the NHL though.




Buffalo Sabres 2017-2018 Prediction


Buffalo is still a year away from putting together a playoff team. I could see the Sabres doing sloppy enough to revert to being a bottom 5 team. I could also see them improving on what they did the last two seasons only to finish in the 10-15 draft range while missing the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Either way, I don't see a playoff team.




Click the link below to get information on Buffalo's AHL partner, the Rochester Americans.










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