Top 10 Sabres of the 2010’s


In 2017-18, the Sabres season was a disaster from the start as a 3-7 record in October ruined any optimism for the season. The Sabres again finished with the worst record in hockey. But they finally were rewarded with the 1st overall draft pick in the lottery, giving them the rights to Rasmus Dahlin. Entering the draft, Dahlin was getting comparisons to Red Wings’ great Niklas Lidstrom and was described as the Connor McDavid of defense. His first season was sensational leading to a Calder trophy nomination and numbers that already were with the best defenseman in hockey. Even though his time is limited this decade, his impact and play make him deserving of being on the list.


A player who has been controversial with expectations and his play, Ristolainen has developed into a steady defenseman, who in the right situation, can excel for any defense. He has averaged six goals and 40-plus points a year for the Sabres. When he was drafted, he was expected to be a lynchpin for the defense as Tyler Myers was moved out during this period. For a time, the growth was there, but now he has plateaued as a bottom 4 guy. Regardless, he has been productive and there are not many defensemen in the last decade who are above him in that regard for Buffalo.


The Sabres drafted Ennis in 2008 with the 1st round pick they acquired from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Brian Campbell. Ennis joined the Sabres in 2010 as a young rookie and had a strong start to his career with nine points in 10 games to finish the season. The next season, Ennis emerged by scoring 20 goals and 49 points as the Sabres made the playoffs again. Ennis never exceeded those numbers but was consistently a 20-goal, 40-point player for years. Concussion issues hindered his last two years in Buffalo and the Sabres stripped away the roster during his prime before that.


Drafted second overall in 2014, Reinhart was drafted to be the part of the Sabres new young core and future. Despite the lack of team success, Reinhart has developed into a quality top six forward who can average 25 goals and 60 plus points a year. Additionally, Reinhart has grown more comfortable into a leadership role for the Sabres and become a dependable voice for the team. Reinhart has worked to become a better two-way forward and it noticeable how he has worked to become a more complete player.


At the time the Sabres acquired O’Reilly, it was considered a heist as Buffalo got one of the best young two-way centers in hockey, who paired with Jack Eichel, should have been one of the top center pairings in the league. O’Reilly was productive with the Sabres, averaging 22 goals a season and around 60 points. Unfortunately, his last year and a half with the team saw the Sabres wilt under growing expectations of success that the team crumbled under. O’Reilly was constantly in the conversation for the Selke Trophy and a finalist for the Lady Byng award. His subsequent trade from Buffalo has turned into one of the biggest blunders in the history of the Sabres.


After just a couple of seasons in the league, Myers was considered one of the premier young defensemen, drawing comparisons to NHL legend Bobby Orr for his skating and scoring ability. He was a major reason the Sabres won the divisional crown in 2009-10 and Myers was rewarded with the Calder Trophy as the top rookie. Unfortunately, his growth was stunted as he lost the veteran support on defense that helped him during the first two seasons and he never reached the lofty expectations that many saw for him. Myers was a very solid defenseman for Buffalo and has had a long steady career after leaving the Sabres.


One of the best heart and soul players to ever wear a Sabres jersey, Pominville was also a superb scorer. Pominville was never a guy who you could question his work ethic and was rewarded with the Sabres captaincy until his trade to Minnesota. Pominville represented the Sabres as an All-Star in 2012 as he scored 30 goals and 73 points that season. When he returned to the Sabres in 2017-18, he was a great role model and mentor for the Sabres younger players.


Back at the start of the decade, Vanek was considered one of the better goal scorers in the NHL. Vanek finished the 2010 season on fire but got a wrist injury early on in the playoffs against Boston which limited his effectiveness. In probably his best season as a Sabre, Vanek took the reigns as captain in 2011 and helped guide the Sabres to the playoffs with 30 goals and 73 points. Vanek was a consistent scorer and when he was traded to the Islanders the Sabres got two first-round picks for him along with Matt Moulson.


When the calendar turned to 2010, Ryan Miller was the best goalie in hockey and leading team USA to a Silver medal in the Olympics. Miller helped backstop the Sabres to a divisional crown in 2010 and another playoff appearance in 2011. As the Sabres lineup crumbled and aged around Miller, the goaltender continued to perform admirably, posting a .918 save percentage during his last three seasons in Buffalo. A fan favorite, Miller deserved a better team to finish his career with in Buffalo given how good his play was.


This shouldn’t be a surprise he is the player Buffalo knew they were getting when they tanked unless they got Connor McDavid. Since entering the league, Eichel has been one of the best young players in the NHL. Over the last two years, Eichel has become a more elite player with 82 points in 77 games last year and this year on pace for 51 goals and 110 points. The lack of team success has nothing to do with Eichel who has regularly lacked much of a supporting cast and while doing as much as he can. Sometime soon, perhaps the Sabres captain will get his chance in the playoff spotlight.


Evander Kane – Brought in too much hype given his goal-scoring prowess, he left Buffalo with the feeling of unfulfilled expectations

Drew Stafford- At points, Stafford showed the look of an all-star caliber forward, scoring 30 goals in 2010-11 and 50 points in back to back years, but never truly became a top-six forward

Jeff Skinner – Maybe the best trade made by the Sabres this decade, Skinner is a tremendous goal scorer who helps to create many scoring chances

Craig Mazuchowski
SUNY Oswego Alumni. Self-taught guitarist. I've been a Sabres and hockey fan since birth. I've also refereed youth hockey and play in a men’s league. My tombstone will be in the shape of pizza.
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