As Sabres fans look at this year’s team after the offseason moves (or lack of them), most likely they will be disappointed. Fans have been very critical of the management’s moves over recent years. With a deeper look at the team, has the team improved? A quick comparison may not look better, but even with the lack of acquisitions, the Sabres may be set for a deep run into the playoffs.
The Sabres have bulked up and got tougher with the addition of Shaone Morrisonn. Morrisonn will add more grit to the defense that the Sabres have been missing. The Sabres also got tougher by moving Cody McCormick to the starting lineup after he played well in the Boston series when he was called up from Portland.
The Sabres lineup stayed similar to last season, but that may not be a bad thing. Many fans are forgetting that the Sabres did finish third place in the Eastern Conference and were just a win away from finishing in the 2nd seed.
The Sabres have gained more experience and getting the taste of the playoffs may benefit them this year. Players like Tyler Ennis and Tyler Myers will be expected to do much more this season.
When the playoffs start the regular season doesn’t matter anymore as we learned last year with the 7 and 8 seed making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals last year. This proves that it shouldn’t matter where the Sabres finish at the end of the regular season as long as they make it to the postseason.
The Sabres might not have a star filled lineup for the regular season, but they certainly have the pieces to make a deep run into the playoffs. Playoff hockey is a completely different style of play compared to the regular season. In the playoffs teams need depth on all lines to play and having one great line doesn’t seem to matter if the other lines can’t step up.
Come playoff time the most important factors to winning a Stanley cup are veteran leadership, goaltending, special teams, grit, and depth. The Sabres only question out of these seems to be the special teams with their power play struggles. It will be seen if Jordan Leopold or Tyler Myers will be the answer for them this season.
The addition of Rob Niedermayer for the Sabres third line will certainly help in the playoffs, assuming they make it that far. Teams can never have enough veteran leadership when it comes April and June.
Possibly the most important piece to having a successful run deep into the playoffs and perhaps a Stanley Cup is having a good goaltender. That is an easy check next to the Sabres as they have Ryan Miller who arguably is the best in the league. Miller has continually gotten better and better and proved himself in the Olympics as the best goaltender in the world by winning the tournament MVP.
As long as the Sabres make the playoffs and can score on the power play, it will be a successful season. Sabres fans will soon forget about the offseason come October as they have potential to go deep into the playoffs.