We’re a little over a month into the season now and the Buffalo Sabres have a record of 8-9-1 (17 pts). The fact that Buffalo is right around .500 with key players out really shows what this team can do when fully healthy.
You look at the injuries and it’s amazing how this team will rally together and find ways to win. Robin Lehner has been out of the lineup since the first game of the season and while Chad Johnson has been subpar, rookie Linus Ullmark stepped in and has looked like he will take the starting job from Johnson until Lehner returns.
And when Lehner come back into the lineup it is possible that Dan Byslma could go with him and Ullmark for the rest of the season. Ullmark seems like he has earned a spot with his play.
Zach Bogosian has played his first game of the season, and good timing too. This defense needs his presence. While the defense has been playing really well, allowing about 29 shots a game which is 11th in the NHL, Bogosian will bring the extra physicality this defense needs.
Everyone has played well except for Mike Weber and Carlo Colaiacovo. With Bogosian in the lineup, expect Colaiacovo to be put on waivers with the purpose of going to Rochester.
Now you have your defense of Risto-Gorges, Pysyk-McCabe and Bogo-Franson. That’s a pretty solid defensive core that will be dangerous defensively and offensively.
With the forwards, boy when this offense is at full potential, look out NHL. This is a scary offense with four lines that can score night in and night out. Evander Kane is the only key injury right now and he looks like he will be back in a few weeks.
When he gets back, I’d figure Byslma will put him back on the same line as Jack Eichel. Who the other winger could be, Sam Reinhart? Possibly. Maybe Gionta? With O’Reilly being the best Sabre forward Byslma could put him with anyone and O’Reilly will have success.
This Sabres team has so much potential this season and could really make some noise towards the end of the season. Is there a chance this team slips into the playoffs? Maybe if they stay healthy enough.
Otherwise I wouldn’t be surprised if they missed. However, Buffalo could be one of the last teams in the eastern conference eliminated from playoff contention if they continue to play well. The excitement is here Sabres fan! Let’s have fun and watch some exciting hockey!