The extremely short training camp is on for your Buffalo Sabres, and as it begins, there are five players I’m going to be watching with interest:
- Mikhail Grigorenko – We may not see for more than a few games this season, thanks to junior eligibility, but he’s a big-time player at a position of desperate need for the Buffalo Sabres. I mean, Hodgson, Ennis, and Hecht (newly signed) are your other Cs. While Hodgson and Ennis have potential to be very good for a long time, I’d like to see Grigorenko push to stay. Or at the very least make us want it.
- Ville Leino – Number one with a bullet, as soon as the words “Compliance Buyout” became a think at the endgame of the lockout. I may be a softy, but I’d love to see him show his haters up. Maybe a short, compressed schedule will help him get on a roll.
- Jhonas Enroth – Should probably list this as Miller/Enroth, but I’m not cheating. The schedule is tight, with a ton of back to backs. Enroth HAS to play, and play well.
- Nathan Gerbe – The small man is a fan favorite for his willingness to take on anyone, no matter the size, but eventually he has to rack up some points. He had 16 goals 2 seasons ago. He needs to exceed that pace to take the heat off Vanek and Pominville.
- Jochen Hecht – Many of us thought he would retire, but he got healthy and has been playing well in Germany according to Pominville. He’s a great utility player, able to slot in pretty much wherever you need him. But he has to stay healthy. Buffalo has been a better team with Hecht in the lineup. Can Lindy lean on him while protecting a lead?
One more thing that’s interesting is what to do with the defense. They’ve got too many at this point, and TJ Brennan would have to pass through waivers to go to stay with the Amerks. Considering he’s scored 14 goals in 36 games in Rochester that ain’t all that likely. I believe the hashtag for that is #dosomethingdarcy.