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Poll: Will the Sabres surprise critics this season?

Aug 28, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

Tyler Myers Getty Images

We already talked about why the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche aren’t the best analogy for the 2014-15 Sabres, but that alone doesn’t mean that Buffalo can’t surprise its critics.

If some of their young players breakout, if Ted Nolan can get everyone on the same page in his first full season as the team’s head coach, if Tyler Myers starts playing like the guy they thought they had when he won the Calder Trophy in 2009-10, then they might start to turn some heads.

Sure, that’s a lot of ifs and arguably one of the biggest factors working against Buffalo is that its entering the season with far too many unknowns. Every team has question marks going into training camp, but the Sabres seem devoid of reasonably safe bets.

On top of that, they were so bad last season that it would be a substantial step forward for them to even finish in 29th place. Still, with expectations at rock bottom and a young core full of players eager to prove themselves, could they end up turning some heads by at least being competitive in the battle for a playoff spot?

  1. 7mantel - Aug 28, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Hope so because I’m a big Nolan fan !

  2. billiam55 - Aug 28, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    nolan is a great coach. they made some great offseason moves so i dont see why not. i know for a fact this season should be a much better one than lasts.

    • anthj99 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:25 PM

      Fact – Something known to be true: something that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened
      truth or reality of something: the truth or actual existence of something, as opposed to the supposition of something or a belief about something

      • billiam55 - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:58 AM

        go get laid

  3. vancouversportsbro - Aug 28, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    I doubt it. I do however think if they stuck with Ron Rolston instead of bringing in Ted Nolan they would have had the worst record since the 1994-1995 lockout for a team.

  4. thekindone4 - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    Anything but last place will be a disappointment. With that said, I am looking forward to seeing how the Sabres young kids develop! I know fans are excited about the FA signings, but you didn’t replace the players you lost with better players!

  5. flyerguy73 - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    I am sure everyone knows how I feel! Last place here they come.

    • anthj99 - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:30 AM

      Only no one cares how you feel.

  6. LampyB - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    I believe they will be better this season. Not a chance of making playoffs but they’ll be able to steal games.

    Great offseason too. In 3-4 yrs this team will be back in form and a strong competitor out east.

  7. henryjones20 - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Flyerguy73- Yes we do R.J. Umberger!!

  8. stakex - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    As alluded to, its not going to take a whole lot to “surprise critics”. Most people figure the Sabers to finish dead last…. as such a finish at 28th in the league would probably surprise a lot of people. So sure, its quite possible some critics of the Sabers will be surprised by their play this year. That doesn’t mean they are going to be a good team though.

  9. cantescapekarma - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Well, it IS Buffalo. So, what that means (to me anyway) is that because of the fact that most fans have their hearts set on another top 2 draft pick next year, the Buffalo Sabres will probably more than likely improve just enough to screw themselves out of the top 3-5 draft spots (and screw up this rebuild just like everything else in Buffalo history (btw, I get to say this because I live here lol)).
    Ok, seriously though, who knows what could happen next season. I don’t see any way that they could make the playoffs. I mean, unless there is some miraculously huge leaps forward taken by virtually every player (that was on the team last year).
    But Ted Nolan does have that uncanny ability to get underdogs to overachieve big time, so you never know I guess.
    And I also have total faith in Tim Murray to keep this rebuild on the right track, no matter where they place in the standings. I feel that if he thinks Connor McDavid is truly the franchise changing player that many claim and is That important to Buffalo’s future, then he will do whatever is in his power to make that pick happen. He does have the resources – plenty of 1st & 2nd round picks in next years draft (plus the abundance of young prospects (esp. on D)). Consider last year, Tim Murray tried to trade THREE 2nd round draft picks for ONE late 1st rounder. So if he made a similar crazy offer for the #1 overall 2015 draft pick, I don’t see how anyone else could match it. So in other words, if whatever team ends up with the 1st overall in 2015 is actually willing to trade that pick, I think Buffalo definitely has the most likely and/or best chance to trade to get it, if they really want it. Say he offers 2 or even 3 first round picks in return, how could anyone else match that? (unless they offer some superstar player)
    So with having said all that (sorry btw for the long a** post), I will consider any type of noticeable step forward next season a good thing, no matter how big or small. If that means dead last again, then good cause we will get a young superstar. If that means finishing just out of the playoff hunt, then that is good as well because that means their player development is going very well and a bit faster than expected. I’m honestly not sure which scenario I would prefer. I never thought that I would ever root for my team to finish low in the standings. Until the pain that was last season that is… Now I kind of feel like to do it right, we need to get another top 3 pick next year. But another part wants to see the team take a big step forward next season. Like I said above, if TM feels that Eichel or McDavid are that important, he has the means to make the trade happen.

    • bullwinkle88 - Aug 29, 2014 at 9:32 PM

      You must be dreaming – or on drugs – if you think any team who has the nr. 1 pick next year will trade it for anything…including all of Buffalo’s picks for 2015 AND 2016.

      No Way that pick will ever be traded.

  10. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    I guess very low expectations allow “surprise opportunity”. So what is the upside – 29th? 28th? 27th if now significant injuries and some other bottom end teams falter due to injuries.

    Looking at the other teams at the bottom, I expect Florida, Islanders and Edmonton to improve as well. So the realistic upside is not too high.

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