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Vulgar Opinions: Sabres 2013-2014 Season Preview

10/02/13
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Vanek – Hodgson – Stafford

Ott – Ennis – Leino

Girgensons – Grigorenko – Flynn

Porter – McCormick – Kaleta

Ehrhoff – Pysyk

Tallinder – Myers

Weber – Ristolainen

Miller

I’ll be honest, I don’t think these are very interesting, but I didn’t do a preseason power rankings and don’t intend to so we’re left with this.  The above is a lineup, which is good.  Um…there are players on it, which are maybe good.

I feel like given the youth of the team mixed with the individual players’ high potential, this is going to be a team that is remarkably exciting at times and unimaginably awful at others.  We’re left with more questions now than we have been heading into any season in recent memory:

  • Will Hodgson continue to develop into a consistent top line force?
  • Will his defensive positioning get better?
  • Will Drew Stafford play like a top line forward?
  • Will the second line and third lines prevent the team from becoming top-heavy?
  • Can Ville Leino earn his money?
  • Is Tyler Ennis a center or not?
  • Will the G-unit third line sink or swim?
  • Can the fourth line be a threat to score every once in a while?
  • Is this defense, comprised of many new faces, going to be any different than the defenses of the past few years?
  • How will the Miller – Enroth – Hackett logjam shake out?
  • Will Tyler Myers get better?

If you can get positive answers to maybe half those questions, I think the Sabres have an okay shot at the playoffs.

Predicted Finish:

Okay, I’m not going to do this because it’s stupid and I’ll be wrong, but here’s my gut feeling:

The Contender – Boston

No surprises, the Bruins are good and I think they’ll walk to an Atlantic Division title with surprisingly little competition.

The Good Teams – Montreal, Detroit, and Ottawa.

Montreal and Ottawa are weird in that they never seem to have many good players but they end up being good teams.  I don’t trust either team to be a lock for the playoffs this year.  More of the same from Detroit, another year older for all the most important players.

The Maybes – Buffalo, Toronto, and Tampa Bay

Most everyone seems to agree that Toronto is going to take a  step back.  Tampa Bay always has a ton of good players but seems to have difficulty being a good team.  Buffalo, with their youth, is a total wild card.

The Other Team in the Division – Florida

They’ll probably be better than last year just because injuries should be less of a factor, but that playoff year seems like it was a long time ago.

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