Buffalo Sabres 2013-2014 NHL Season Preview and Predictions
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Rolston did a good enough job after Lindy Ruff's dismissal to receive the full time head coaching job for the Buffalo Sabres. Now he'll need to prove that the decision was the right now. Rolston has some mighty big shoes to fill and he'll have to do it for a club that really didn't address their issues.
Buffalo will need big season from players who have struggled mightily and the odds of that all working out in their favor are slim to none. Ville Leino needs to start earning his contract and putting up more than the 25 points in 71 games he did in 2011 after signing with the Sabres. Drew Stafford will need to regain his scoring touch as he managed just six tallies in 46 games a year ago. Marcus Foligno shows flashes at times but will need to bring more consistency, and youngster Mikhail Grigorenko is raw with much to prove. Thomas Vanek can be as good a goal scorer as anyone in the NHL but as we saw last season that doesn't matter much if there isn't any help around him.
On the blue line the Sabres don't even want to think about what's going to happen if Tyler Myers continues to regress. The 2008 first round pick has had his ups and downs and has frustrated fans and analysts alike for the way he plays despite his 6'8 frame and 220 pound body. Christian Ehrhoff is solid but asking him to be the anchor on defense is a bit much at this stage of his career. Jamie McBain will be called upon to add some quality depth, with quality being the key word. Henrik Tallinder was also brought back and the hope is that he can regain his old form back in a familiar setting.
Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth will again be the duo in goal, although you have to imagine Buffalo did everything it could to move Miller in the offseason. The vitriol between Miller and the fans will be high if he plays poorly out of the gates and the Sabres get off to a slow start. This seems like a marriage that won't last forever and when you can already see the writing on the wall sometimes things can get really ugly. Enroth has performed well at times but never really shown he can be a No. 1 kind of guy.
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