We’ve all seen power rankings for the various NHL teams, and of course, we all have our own opinions on them. In this series, we will instead be looking at the power rankings for the Buffalo Sabres players themselves.
What do these power rankings mean?
These are the players who will have the biggest overall impact for the Sabres this season, in a positive way of course. It’s what each player has, or will, accomplish for the 2019-2020 season. Since it’s the offseason, the picks come with more expectations than anything else.
We will update these as the season nears and even more throughout the year.
For now, here are the starting offseason rankings:
#1 – Jack Eichel
The Sabres will (hopefully) sport a much more competitive team this year, and Eichel is the offensive driving force behind them. More depth in the lineup would only help Eichel and it’s not unrealistic to envision him reaching 90 or even 100 points. Eichel is one of the best players in the entire league when it comes to driving play and zone entries, and he is still quite young with room to improve.
#2 – Rasmus Dahlin
Dahlin has only scratched the surface of his full potential. Leading the Sabres defensemen with 44 points in his rookie season is impressive in its own right, but his potential could start to become unlocked even more this season. Dahlin does have moments where he may make a mistake, but he never seems to let that bother him and often comes back to rectify that mistake in short order. 50+ points are not out of the question for Buffalo’s top defenseman this season
#3 – Sam Reinhart
Sam “the silent one” Reinhart had a breakout season last year, playing in all 82 games and producing 65 points. Reinhart plays the game always one or two steps ahead and is often in the right place at the right time. There may be times when Reinhart plays top-line minutes, and will likely play on the 1st power-play unit. Reinhart has all the tools to be productive in the league and seems to continue to get better with each passing season.
#4 – Jeff Skinner
After an impressive 40-goal campaign, expectations are high for the talented left-winger. Skinner will almost undoubtedly be paired with Jack Eichel once again and we all know that the chemistry is there. Skinner is in his prime now and will be playing top-line minutes with one of the most talented play-making centers in the league. He also excels at producing at even strength, and his grit and determination are always apparent as he is not afraid to mix it up and go to the dirty areas to put pucks in the net.
#5 – Casey Mittelstadt
The sky is the limit for this young hockey player, and we saw glimpses of his potential throughout last season. Mittelstadt will have another full offseason of training, and even though his point totals don’t jump off the page from last year’s campaign, he was one of the best on the team in controlled zone entries.
#6 – Brandon Montour
The 25-year-old defenseman is on the cusp of entering his prime, and will hopefully be wearing a Sabres uniform for years to come. In a perfect world, Montour will be Dahlin’s partner on the team’s top defensive pairing. In 20 games last season, Montour accumulated 10 points, which would translate to a 41-point season if that pace was continued. An underrated player league-wide, Montour was in the top 15 in both zone entries and zone exits for defensemen.
#7 – Marcus Johansson
The recently signed free agent acquisition is viewed as a LW or RW but he has been playing more on the left side in recent years. Johansson put up 30 points in 58 games last season and took his play to another level in the playoffs, scoring 11 more points. This is the type of forward that perfectly fits the team that Jason Botterill is trying to make, one who plays at a fast pace and drives possession. Johansson is a smart and fast player that has posted positive possession numbers and should be a huge asset for the team when it comes to secondary scoring.
#8 – Rasmus Ristolainen
Ristolainen’s future with the Buffalo Sabres is currently in question, however, that does not take away the fact that he put up 43 points in 78 games on a below-average team last season. Ristolainen is a polarizing player from various fans viewpoints, but the talent, size, and tools are all there. Risto is one of the few players that fans can point to who has both size and grit, but his poor possession metrics and league-worst plus/minus rating are very concerning. Will another new coach help round out his game, and will that be with the Sabres?
#9 – Victor Olofsson
Olofsson could finally be unleashed this October as he has already proven himself at the AHL level and at development camp, and has shown that, in a limited stint, can more than adequately carry himself in the NHL. Olofsson only played six games with the Sabres last season, however, he put up four points and posted quite positive possession metrics, although this was with more than favorable offensive zone starts.
#10 – Colin Miller
Stolen for pennies on the dollar, Miller is a significant upgrade to the defensive core. Playing in 65 games last year with the Vegas Golden Knights, Miller was able to contribute 29 points in only 65 games. His possession metrics are fantastic, and I am hopeful to see his goal total jump up next year.
Rank Player 🔼🔽 1 Jack Eichel -- 2 Rasmus Dahlin -- 3 Sam Reinhart -- 4 Jeff Skinner -- 5 Casey Mittelstadt -- 6 Brandon Montour -- 7 Marcus Johansson -- 8 Rasmus Ristolainen -- 9 Victor Olofsson -- 10 Colin Miller --
For our new #Sabres player power rankings, which would you most like to see?
— BuffaloHockeyCentral (@BHCdotcom) July 22, 2019
Decisions for players in the first few slots were a bit easier to decide upon, while players in the 6-10 range are very interchangeable depending on your personal viewpoint.
We want to hear what you think! Leave us a comment below.
Cheers & Go Sabres!