Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sabres Offseason News

After a disappointing playoffs to end the 09-10 season, the Buffalo Sabres were anxious and ready to draft and reload their squad in hopes of a better run next year. Their draft picks will be joining some very respectable coming though, as acknowledged by the NHL awards that were handed out last week.

Goaltender Ryan Miller won two awards for his efforts in the 2009-10 season. The first was the NHL Foundation Play Award, as well as the big one, the Venzina, which is the award for the top goaltender. You can't say enough about what Miller did for this team this season, as well as how strong he played for America in the Olympics. He was all Buffalo had this season in goal, so if he knew if was was to have a bad game he would most likely still have to stick it out. In the midst of all this, he also lead the USA to the gold medal game in the Olympics, although they ended up taking just silver. He proved to be a guy that helped garner attention about hockey with how well he played in the Olympics.

Tyler Myers on the other hand took home the Calder Cup, which is awarded to the rookie of the year. He was the only Sabre to play all 82 games of the season. He was fifth on the team in total points with 48, which tied him for 11th out of all defensemen in the league. This is just the start to what could be a great career for the twenty year old. Also a plus is that for how big and physical he can be, he did keep his penalty minutes down. It always helps when you stay out of the box. With his 37 assists last season, I can't wait to see what he does this season.

Another congrats to those two for winning those awards that they much deserved. Lets hope that they not only make the playoffs this upcoming season, but get into the later rounds of it. What do they need to do to make it farther into the playoffs you ask, well that would be getting some defenseman with size. That is what they did with their first round pick in the draft. Mark Pysyk may have been injured last season, but put up great stats in his 47 games for a defenseman. He finished the season with 7 goals and 17 assists in just 48 games played. He might be a work in progress, but he should fit in well with how the Sabres defense plays.

With no second round pick, the Sabres might have got a steal in the third round by picking Jerome Gauthier-Leduc. Many teams had him on their radar in the second round, but no one took him till the Sabres did with the 68th pick. He should be more physical than Pysyk, so this is what Buffalo wanted to address. I always like when a team has a game plan and goes into the draft to execute it. I'm not sure when you will see either of these guys wearing a NHL jersey, but it looks like the Sabres got a few defensemen with upside. As for the rest of your picks:

3rd round, 75th pick - Kevin Sundher - Center

3rd round, 83rd pick - Matt Mackenzie - Defenseman

4th round, 98th pick - Steven Shipley - Center

5th round, 143rd pick - Gregg Sutch - Right Wing

6th round, 173rd pick - Cedrick Henley - Right Wing

7th round, 203rd pick - Christian Isackson - Right Wing

7th round, 208th pick - Riley Boychuk - Left Wing

Steven Shipley is a guy that fits the 'jack of all trades, master of none', but that isn't a bad title for guy if you can put him on the second or third line to be consistent. So that might be another guy to keep an eye on. Also Riley Boychuk had an amazing 157 penalty minutes in 66 games. Craig Rivet led the Sabres with 100 penalty minutes last season in 78 games, so if Riley keeps it up in the pros it will be something Buffalo is not used to. It's always hard to say after the draft how your team did, but I think Sabres got what they wanted.

Just like the NBA, the NHL's free agency starts July 1, so we will see if Buffalo brings in any new names that way. It seems to me that size is the key for this team in the offseason, so lets see if they address this with a free agent.

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