The Buffalo Sabres are nonetheless one of many lowest-ranked groups within the NHL. However final season’s uptick may very well be an indication of constructive issues to return.
Had the Buffalo Sabres performed your complete 2021-22 season the way in which they performed its closing two months, they’d have compiled a report of 49-26-7 (105 factors). The overall would have given them a playoff berth, albeit barely.
So we all know the Sabres are able to placing up playoff-like numbers for not less than a few months. Three months, actually, given their 5-2-1 begin in October 2021. Downside is, the opposite 4 months weren’t simply ticky-tacky; they have been outright dreadful.
Between November 2021 and February 2022, the Sabres completed with a report of 11-28-7 (29 factors). Whereas accidents and COVID-19 performed large roles right here, the Sabres can’t let one thing like this occur whatever the state of affairs if they’re to really make the playoffs in 2022-23.
May the Buffalo Sabres really make the playoffs in 2022-23 even when they keep wholesome all 12 months?
Not as one of many prime three groups within the division. This isn’t a knock on the Sabres, however they only don’t have the confirmed expertise you see in Toronto, Tampa, and Dawn (Florida Panthers). Additional, with the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Purple Wings occurring spending sprees this previous offseason, there may be all the time the surface probability they too will get scorching.
Though the Sabres are a greater hockey workforce in 2022-23 and will put up not less than 85 factors – 10 greater than final season – they may nonetheless end as little as seventh within the Atlantic. However Detroit actually threw a bunch of fellows along with no expertise enjoying round each other whereas Ottawa did the identical however to a lesser extent.
That might really play to the Sabres benefit for the reason that workforce is steadily rising and edges Detroit and Ottawa in expertise in enjoying as a unit. However right here is the draw back:
- Peyton Krebs, Mattias Samuelsson – 1/2 season of NHL expertise
- Owen Energy – eight video games of NHL expertise
- Dylan Cozens, Jacob Bryson – 1.5 years of NHL expertise
- J.J. Peterka, Jack Quinn – 4 mixed video games of NHL expertise
- Tage Thompson – One-year surprise
- Eric Comrie – 19 appearances tops in a single season
- Alex Tuch – 1/2 season expertise with the Sabres
This can be a group of terrific gamers. Sadly for the Sabres, whereas they’ve expertise enjoying as a unit, they’re nonetheless an inexperienced workforce. In the event that they stick collectively, count on playoff rivalry in 2023-24.
However I cannot rule out wild card rivalry. If the Boston Bruins resolve to strip all the things down whereas Detroit and Ottawa don’t pan out – and there’s a probability they received’t – the Sabres can realistically end their playoff drought and sneak in. Oh, however that’s solely in the event that they proceed to mesh as a workforce and play higher than their expertise signifies.
So can they honestly make the playoffs? Sure, however let’s not get so lofty to outright count on a playoff berth from this workforce. They are going to be higher in 2022-23, particularly if wholesome. However don’t be dissatisfied after they (most certainly) miss the playoffs.
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