The Buffalo Sabres are opening training camp today, with veteran players reporting for their physicals and testing. I always imagine ‘testing’ as Patrick Kaleta slouched in a desk, face all screwed up trying to answer a multiple choice question. Anyway, as camp opens, there seem to be more questions than answers for fans that have been tracking the team through the summer. At least they did announce another assistant coach hiring today, Jerry Forton out of Harvard (though he had a long stint at Niagara before that as well).
But many more uncertainties remain. Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek are both still here, without new contracts. They are saying the right things – these two usually do – but it’s still unsettled. Cody Hodgson remains unsigned, and Matthew Coller crunches some numbers on the young center. They are somewhat bleak, though in my mind, I’d like for a few other players to make the leap up the middle so Hodgson can take the role Thomas Vanek had in 06-07, leading a line that basically just gets told to score and isn’t pitted against superior competition. Kadri may set the number for Cody’s contract, but will Hodgson take the ‘bridge contract’?
Looking at the roster (you can see the training camp roster up at that first link) it’s hard to get a feel for what this team will be. There’s room for rookies to stick. Other questions remain…Will Myers be good with Tallinder back? Will Hodgson be here? Is Ott the captain? Will Miller and Vanek still be here? The rookies are interesting, especially to compare and contrast between Girgensons and Grigorenko. And Zadorov! It’s a team with a ton of questions, which could make for a very long season. I just hope it’s a fun one.