As usually happens, as soon as the cup was awarded, you started seeing odds for who was going to win next season getting thrown around. So I took a look to see where Buffalo ranks, and they (as of this morning) sat at 18/1. Not in the top tier, with teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh, or San Jose (ha), but solidly in the second tier. Where they should be, most likely, based on the talent we think will return.
What I want to know is, will the Sabres be considered a true threat next season? Buffalo was a division leader, had a respectable if not spectacular scoring differential, and has Ryan Miller. But you KNOW that the top ‘Cup Contenders’ everyone will mention in the East are Pittsburgh and Washington, with yet more obsessive coverage of Crosby and Ovechkin. Olympian Miller might get Buffalo some more pub and national notice, but I think our guys will have to seriously outperform WAS/PIT for a long stretch to get put in their category. And, you know, get back on NBC.
Whatever else happens this offseason, I am expecting this team to be the division winner again. Let’s see if anyone outside of Western New York has any opinions, or if the extent of it will be “oh hey, yeah, the Sabres, they’ll be OK, I guess…”.