10 Sabres thoughts

By Brandon J. Koch

We sit here with a little over a month left in the Sabres season that has fans once again talking about the future and what this team needs moving forward.

A season filled with disappointment and bad hockey, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Patience is required. Now it’s time for some Sabres thoughts.

  1. Who does Jason Botterill identify as his “core?” There’s Jack Eichel, but who else? Ryan O’Reilly? Rasmus Ristolainen? Sam Reinhart?
  2. Botterill believes in building a hockey team around 4-5 key players. We’ve seen that model in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, all won 7 of the last 8 cups. Even Boston in 2011 had their core players.
  3. Victor Antipin is finally getting more ice time. He was on and off during the first half of the season, but I don’t think he was given a chance. Now is showing what kind of a puck moving defenseman he can be. The Sabres need him as a cheap option and he plays well with Casey Nelson.
  4. The Sabres need to identify good bottom six talent, which Botterill was able to contribute well to in Pittsburgh. How can he and his staff do that this offseason? There are a few in place I think now, but much more needed.
  5. Almost everyday I’m on Capfriendy, a great salary cap site for the NHL. I’m constantly thinking about what should be done with Zach Bogosian. He’s a great person in the community, but he simply cannot stay healthy. I know the head coach likes him and is probably the ideal Housley defenseman, but at a $5.1 cap hit until 19-20, what’s the plan?
  6. Alex Nylander is a mystery to me. Tim Murray last April said he just needed to get stronger over the summer and would be ready to make that jump to the pros. Now I see him in Rochester next season as well. Still a Nylander fan, he’s a young kid. Patience with prospects.
  7. Many fans are on the GM for not doing enough at the deadline and getting little for Evander Kane. Simple economics. That was the going rate for EK9. And have you seen this team play? Why would playoff/Stanley Cup contending teams want Benoit Pouliot or Josh Gorges? Is the 6th-7th round pick so important? Not really.
  8. I’ve seen this with the Bills. Fans are impatient and dissect and overreact to everything the team does because they’re not good. This a 1st time coach and general manager. Patience is required.
  9. We could be seeing a youth movement next season with this hockey team. Brendan Guhle, CJ Smith and possibly Casey Mittelstadt? ERod is getting better and also Nick Baptiste. Maybe a Cliff Pu, O’Regan or Asplund?
  10. Can the Sabres win a lottery? Please?

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