What The Season Holds: The Forwards
It’s a new season, and with a new season comes a new opportunity to shine or slump. Let’s take a look at some line combinations, pull some scoring predictions out of thin air, and generally ruminate on what the 2010/2011 season might hold for your Buffalo Sabres.
This is pretty much the easier part of predicting the Sabres’ upcoming season, next to pencilling in Ryan Miller as the starting goalie. After discussing the probable line combinations in four previous posts, here’s what I came up with:
I’m not too keen on keeping Stafford on the top line with Vanek and Roy, but Lindy seems content to put him there so that’s where I put him in a prior article. Ennis would most naturally fit on the left wing with Connolly and Pominville, giving them a talented scoring partner for once which I discussed in this post. Hecht playing with Niedermayer and Grier would create one of the pre-eminent defensive lines in the league, as discussed in this entry. Putting McCormick, Goose, and Kaleta on the fourth line would give the Sabres a bona fide wrecking crew, as I’ve expounded upon in the past.
I’m not gonna go ballistic and breakdown every player by goals, assists, ppg, shg, etc etc…I’m merely going to estimate what each line ought to produce total with some expected deviance.
Vanek-Roy-Stafford – let’s go with 85 goals (+/- of 12) and 195 points (+/- of 35)
Ennis-Connolly-Pominville – 75 goals (+/- of 20 – Ennis effect) and 185 points (+/- of 40 – again, Ennis effect)
Hecht-Niedermayer-Grier – 36 goals (+/- of 10) and 100 points (+/- of 18)
McCormick-Goose-Kaleta – 34 (+/- of 10) and 60 points (+/- of 25)
– Stafford needs to find that extra gear for things to work out and keep his butt signed to a contract in Buffalo
– Vanek needs to stay healthy if he wants to get back to being a perennial 40-goal man
– It’d be nice to see Connolly actually break 20 goals for the first time in his career
– I’m trying not to be too optimistic about Ennis’ rookie season, but it’s really hard
– Predicting scoring numbers for the fourth line is kind of difficult. Kaleta very well may discover another level and McCormick could have a breakout season
Well, that’s it for the forwards. Check back in next week after I break down what I’d imagine the defensive pairs will be to see what I think the season holds for the blueliners.