NHL Team Preview: Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres have been trying to be competitive but have not been able to put up a good roster that can be a threat for a playoff push. They finished last season with the worst record in the NHL going 15-34-7 for just 37 points. Now transferring back to an 82-game season could be beneficial as their young roster begins to get that much needed experience.
The Sabres have some talent but need some role players to take that next step in order to be a decent team. They have not made the postseason since 2011 but it seems like the front office is taking that step to solidifying a young roster that can grow together and build something that can be a pretty good team in the next few seasons. Buffalo has made big changes during the offseason so it will be interesting to see if it takes them into their next step of their rebuild with Jack Eichel leading the charge on the ice.
The Sabres were active in the trading market as they ended up acquiring Devon Levi, Robert Hagg, and Anders Bjork to their active roster. They also decided to try to build through the NHL Draft. Buffalo selected defenseman Owen Power from Michigan with the first-overall pick and also drafted right-wing Isak Rosen with the 14th-overall selection.
They made some minor free agent signings picking up Riley Sheahan, Craig Anderson, Vinnie Hinostroza, and Aaron Dell during the offseason as well.
The Buffalo Sabres lost a few key players from last year’s team but none might hurt more than center Sam Reinhart. He led the team in points (40) and goals (25) so they need to find someone to replace those numbers for them.
They also will be without their starting goalie from a year ago in Linus Ullmark as he is now a member of the Boston Bruins. He finished the 2020-21 season 11th in save percentage at .917 so they need someone to step up in the net as well.
It is difficult to single out more than their captain center Jack Eichel, who had to deal with injuries for the first time in his career as he only appeared in 21 games and had 18 points (2 goals, 16 assists). Another key piece to the puzzle for Buffalo is right-wing Victor Olofsson, who is getting some experience under his belt as this will be his third full season with the Sabres. He finished last season with 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) and could be one of these key players to help get the franchise through the rebuild.
The Buffalo Sabres are not expected to improve much as their over/under is 68.5 points this season. In comparison, during last season when they played 56 games the Sabres finished with just 37 points as the franchise was rebuilding. This franchise is not ready to be competitive as of yet so easily take the under as they try to figure out their rotation without their best player and starting goalie from last season.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.