Our staff writers took a few minutes to discuss their bold predictions for Buffalo in the 2019-2020 season. Let’s get right to it!
EICHEL SCORES MORE POINTS THAN MARNER – Marner has been getting better and better each season with point totals of 61, 69, and 94 so far. Not only may he take a step back, but Eichel is set to increase hit point total again, something he has done in each of his first four years. Eichel has totals of 56, 57, 64, and 82. – Brian
Jack Eichel back at it with this snipe pic.twitter.com/lhbPKaDDYx
— Hockey Videos (@TheHockeyVideos) October 12, 2015
SOBOTKA HITS 25 POINTS – After a season in which the 32-year-old winger was lambasted as perhaps the worst forward in all of hockey, Sobotka has seemingly had a better camp and mildly better preseason. Perhaps new head coach Ralph Kruger can reignite competent play from Sobotka in his 10th NHL season. He’ll get a chance to mark the scoresheet, as he’s practiced in the early stages of the season on the second line. Were Sobotka able to reach this plateau, it would be the 7th time in his career. – Craig S
OLOFSSON SCORES 30 GOALS – He has the best shot on the team and quite possibly one of the best releases in the league. In a six-game stint last season with the Sabres, he scored two goals and four points, putting both his shot and playmaking ability on full display. As of right now, he’s slotted for the top-line and the first power-play unit, putting him in the driver’s seat for a breakout season. His 30 goals in Rochester last season will undoubtedly translate to the big club this year. He may be a dark horse candidate for the Calder Trophy, but this won’t come as a surprise to those in Buffalo who have kept a close eye on him. – Matt S.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) September 8, 2018
RISTO WILL BE TRADED – Although many fans are upset with the lack of roster moves made this offseason, timing is everything when it comes to getting fair value in return. A player whose name has been in the rumor mill all offseason is Rasmus Ristolainen. With plenty of quality NHL defensemen on the roster, he will be expendable when some injured defensemen return. There are many NHL teams that are in need of a top 4 RHD like Ristolainen. Unless Krueger is able to get the most out of Ristolainen and turn him into the elite d-man we once thought he could be, expect him to be sent elsewhere for offensive help in return. – John K.
EICHEL HITS 100 POINTS – The Sabres best player is about to become even better. With Buffalo getting some better depth on offense, it will allow the top line to be more of a force. With Skinner and a dangerous Olofsson on his wing, Eichel could really benefit in his 5th season. He’s yet to hit 30 goals or 100 points, but both are certainly within his reach this year. – Kevin
DEFENSE WILL FINISH IN TOP 10 IN GOALS ALLOWED – Colin Miller and Brandon Montour (injured) will be able to help provide veteran leadership while a youth movement that includes Rasmus Dahlin, Henri Jokiharju and Lawrence Pilut step up. Along with Rasmus Ristolainen, the majority of defensemen are fairly new to the organization as they look to write a new chapter. Last season’s 10th-highest scoring defense was in Vegas, and would likely result in the Sabres making the postseason if they finish in this position when the regular season ends. – Robert
DEFENSE WILL BE A TOP 10 UNIT (PART 2) – Within the last year and half the Sabres defense has been remade consisting of Dahlin, Montour, Miller, and Jokiharju joining Pilot and McCabe. That is a significantly younger more talented crop than they have had a long time. By the end of the season, led by Dahlin’s play, the Sabres are going to be credited for being a replica of Nashville (at least on defense) with a group set to dominate for a decade-plus. 2019-20 might not be a playoff year but the gains made on D have Buffalo being called the top up and coming contender in 2020-21. – Craig M.
What do you think? And what is your bold prediction for the Sabres this season?