I’m going to keep track of the various predictions that get put out there by the bloggers and MSM of the hockey world. If you spot one that I don’t have, let me know (you can email thetick at shutdownpair dot com) or hit me up on Twitter (TheTickSP).
10. BUFFALO SABRES
I really wish I could find something to be happy about in terms of the Sabres’ off-season. I can’t, though – not when Rob Niedermayer was their most notable addition and not when Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman’s departures from the defense corps was filled by the oft-traveled Jordan Leopold. If Ryan Miller can repeat his MVP-worthy performance from last year and almost single-handedly drag Buffalo into the playoffs, he might be able to win “America’s Got Talent” without appearing on that show.
That’s 10th in the Eastern Conference, of course.
No. 6 Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres could more or less be exactly the same team as last season – maybe a little better on offense and maybe a little worse on defense. That said, the biggest reason for dropping Buffalo from the top spot in the Northeast heading into this season has more to do with Boston improving than any decline in western New York.
Sixth in the East according to Corey. I can understand the reasoning here.
7. Buffalo Sabres
2009-10 record: 45-27-10, 100 pts, 1st in Northeast
2009-10 playoff result: eliminated in quarterfinals by Boston
SBN blog: Die By The Blade
We probably should’ve voted the Sabres in the top spot just for getting rid of the Dreaded Slug.
They’ll update the rankings as the season rolls on, but this is a good indicator of what they thought of things now. Worth remembering.
11. Buffalo Sabres – One thing you can be sure of each and every off season: The Sabres won’t make any earth-shattering moves. That was certainly the case again this summer. What moves they did make, however, will stay the course for a team that won the Northeast Division. Not a bad thing.
Again, this is Hockey Primetime’s pre-season rankings, which will change based on performance. Just keeping it here to judge when all is said and done.
While Buffalo was able to get solid offensive production up and down their lineup, they will be looking for a lot more than the 28-goal output provided by Thomas Vanek last season. The Sabres are paying him more than $6 million a season over the next four years and would like to see a considerably greater return on their investment.
The same could be said for fellow first liners Jason Pominville and Derek Roy who both saw their production levels slip for the second straight season. If the Sabres top trio can rediscover their scoring touch, then Buffalo could very well challenge for the Eastern Conference title.
TSN’s preseason rank for the Sabres is 9th in the NHL.
USA Today’s rankings are voted on by 12 people, 6 of them USA Today writers including Kevin Allen (@kausatoday), and 6 other hockey writers, including Greg Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy. Perhaps more interesting is a breakdown for each writer as to what team will win each division/conference/the cup, and who will win the major awards. Some highlights:
- 7 of 12 pick Buffalo to repeat as Northeast champs. 1 brave soul picks Ottawa, the rest, Boston
- No one picks Buffalo to win the East
- 8 of 12 pick Ryan Miller to repeat as Vezina winner
For good measure, he has Bryzgalov winning the Vezina.
Spector’s NHL Season Predictions, Lyle Richardson
Unfortunately, the predictions here are embedded in a slideshow. He also has Bryz winning the Vezina, and Boston winning the Northeast.
2010-2011 Northeast Preview, Allan Muir, SI.com
They’re not without serious flaws, but Miller and an improving offense make the Sabres the team to beat in the Northeast.
Muir has the Sabres first in the Northeast, in case you can’t tell.
NHL Division Preview: Northeast, CBC Sports
The early exit somewhat ruined a Ryan Miller’s Vezina-winning campaign and blue-liner Tyler Myers’ emergence as the league’s top rookie, as the Sabres’ balanced scoring attack wilted in the playoffs. Buffalo walked away from Tim Kennedy at the arbitration table, denting that scoring attack a bit, but the team could have another potential Calder candidate in rookie forward Tyler Ennis.
This preview doesn’t come out and say where the Sabres will finish, but does predict playoffs and maybe another division title.
2010-11 NHL season preview, ESPN.com
No text on the page, just icons representing the picks from their various ‘experts’, who are: Barnaby, Buccigross, Burnside, Hradek, Lebrun, and Melrose. Barnaby and Hradek pick Buffalo to win the Northeast, but no one chose them for anything else (Conference/Cup). Buccigross has some odd ideas this year, as he’s the only one who picked the Flyers to win the Atlantic, Calgary to win the Northwest, the Flyers to win the East, the Kings to win the West, and the Flyers to win the Cup. Hmm. For the awards, Miller was picked by Lebrun to repeat as Vezina winner, and Barnaby picked Ruff to win another Jack Adams. Buccigross also picks Jaroslav Halak as his Vezina winner, and Kovalchuk as MVP.
Helene Elliott’s NHL predictions, Helene Elliott, Chicago Tribune
9. Buffalo Sabres: Goalie Ryan Miller deserves better offensive support than he gets.
That’s ninth in the Eastern Conference. Offense is a focus, but they might very well be better in that regard this year.
NORTHEAST DIVISIONBuffalo SabresBoston BruinsMontreal CanadiensOttawa SenatorsToronto Maple Leafs
Short and to the point.
Predictions for NHL Season, Mike Heika, Star-Telegram
That’s his order of finish for the East, so obviously he has Buffalo winning the Division. Not the Conference, the Cup or any major awards, though.
This next one might just be the ‘best’:
Lindy Ruff has been around longer than any other active coach in the league and will set a few records this season for both longevity (games coached) and victories. But as long as current ownership continues to wade in the middle of every season’s salary cap, the Sabres will never realize the dream of a Cup Final. Why goalie Ryan Miller hitched his wagon to this franchise long-term is beyond us. Buffalo is much weaker on defense, having lost both Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder. And the days of Michael Peca’s on-ice leadership are l-o-n-g gone.
That’s not 5th in the East, in case you can’t tell, but 5th in the NORTHEAST. Yes, worse than the Leafs. I mean, this was posted yesterday (as I type this) so it’s not like he’s just judging based on personnel lost and gained. Wow.
Playoff Chances Percentage Meter: 75 percent.
Where to begin…Bucci brings up Drury and Briere AGAIN. It seems like such a cop-out to even mention them in a season preview column. I feel like any columnist that does it couldn’t be bothered to watch the team or read what’s happening at camp, and just recycles recent history. Blech. Take a look at this:
Can Rob Niedermayer return that sense of quiet professionalism to the slowly maturing Sabres?
It came back with Grier, but whatever dude.
Hey, a good one. This is certainly what Buffalo is hoping for.
Is Thomas Vanek a 40-plus goal scorer (he’s done that twice) or a 20-plus goal scorer (he’s done that twice).
Uh, yes? Depends on the linemates, really. If Stafford and Roy have a good season, Vanek’s numbers go up.
Is Jason Pominville the most overpaid player in the league?
He’s probably not even the most overpaid player on his team. Does Wade Redden not count for this, because he’s been punted from the Rangers?
Larry Brooks’ NHL Power Rankings, NY Post
15. BUFFALO SABRES
Nickel and dimers still rule the day in management; see Kennedy, Tim
And yet the Rangers, who Brooks covers, got rid of him also (they are at 14). Just can’t win with these guys, either they are wrong for overpaying guys, or they are wrong for NOT wanting to overpay guys.
There’s a laundry list of ‘prognostications’ from the various Puck Daddy writers, but suffice it to say, not much love for the Sabres here. Greg Wyshynski and Sean Leahy pick Buffalo 8th in the East, Ryan Lambert has them missing the playoffs entirely. Dmitry Chesnokov puts ’em 6th, and Justin Bourne 7th. Erin Nicks lists Buffalo 5th, so there’s that, at least.