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yave1964

Sabres and Canucks, are either for real? (poll)

who would you consider a real contender?  

3 members have voted

  1. 1. who would you consider a real contender?

    • Canucks
      1
    • Sabres
      0
    • Both
      1
    • Neither
      2


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Buffalo and Vancouver are beating teams regularly, Buffalo sits at 9-4-2 with 20 points they are 3rd in the East, out West the Canucks are sitting at 9-3-2 with 20 points, also good for 3rd in their conference.

 

  The question is, are either for real? Are both?

 

  Both teased last year, Buffalo had a torrid start and was among the best teams in the game early before a complete collapse, Vancouver was never that high or that low but hung around the wild card race until late in the season.  here is the case for and against both....

 

VANCOUVER 

THE CASE FOR The West is going through some changes this year, the Sharks Wild, jets, and Stars are all down, others such as the Flames seem to have come back to the pack. There would appear to be a case for the Canucks to squeeze into the playoff hunt. Demko and Markstrom are a fantastic pair in net, Pettersson and Boeser are doing amazing, Horvat has become a boss, JT Miller is better than advertised. Quinn Hughes looks like a sure fire Calder candidate. Alex Edler has found his game, this team has two monster lines and is scoring at will. The thid line of Virtanen, Sutter and Leivo is off to a fantastic start.

 

THE CASE AGAINST They are not the only upstart out West, Anaheim and Edmonton also flew out of the gate so the dance card for playoff spots might be limited. Free agent adds Ferland and Myers have been busts so far. Edler is playing over 25 minutes a night, among the most in the NHL and way too many for someone his age. even with the young kid forwards, Edler may be the least replaceable player on the team with a very thin back end.

 

BUFFALO SABRES

THE CASE FOR like the Canucks, the Sabres have started hot, Eichel has been an absolute beast, rookie Olofsson is in the Calder conversation, Reinhart has turned into a solid contributor, Skinner is on pace for 36 goals. Dahlin has become a solid puck mover on the back end of what is probably the games most underrated back end. Hutton has been as good as most anyone in the game in net.

 

THE CASE AGAINST Unlike the West, the East and especially the Atlantic are especially deep. In order to make the playoffs the Sabres need to jump over some of the Lightning, Leafs, Panthers, Bruins, Canadiens, and from the Metro the Caps, Flyers, Penguins, Islanders and Hurricanes. There are going to be some really good teams in the East who stay home.

  Other things against the Sabres IMHO is lack of forward depth. Johanssen was a nice add but Sheary, Okposo and especially Mittelstadt have disappointed. And Hutton has been a career backup who is likely playing way over his head right now.

 

 Of the two, I think that yeah, both COULD hang around all year, for two very different reasons. Vancouver has depth and the West is wide open, the Sabres Eichel seems to be a man on a mission. If put on a spot and told one is in, one is out, I would go with Vancouver, although the lack of depth on the back end hurts. Buffalo seems to need a bit more middle six depth but has plenty of time to add someone.

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Pre-season, I had both teams sniffing around the playoff picture as a bubble team.
If things fall right, either could make it in, if they go not so right, they fall right out.

That said, as was mentioned, I really do like Vancouver's overall depth compared to Buffalo's and their goaltending seems to be more solid and stable.
Granted, Jacob Markstrom is in a contract year and we all know how that goes sometimes (plays like Superman, gets a big payday, goes back to being Clark Kent after that), but still, his play in the nets can't be denied and his backup, Thatcher Demko, has been playing just as well....and the Canucks seem to have those guys almost in a timeshare in goal too.

Over in Bison Land, the goaltending is a bit more sketchy with both Hutton and Ullmark.
Linus hasn't broken through like I thought he would, although there is certainly plenty of time for that to happen this year, and Hutton has looked good on some nights, very mediocre on others.

Reason I harp on the goalies so much on both is because I think their offenses will run hot n cold and it will be the guys between the pipes that will have much to say in whether they make the playoffs or not.

So I have both as playoff bubble teams trending upwards, but neither will be winning their division nor a Conference title this year, and neither will be able to withstand significant injuries at this stage of their developments.
 

One other thing to consider when trying to decide how "real" either of these teams are:

Even if both do well and squeak into the playoffs, both rosters have lots of UFA;s and RFA's on them.
The decisions each GM makes will determine whether this year and going into next and beyond will continue their development and contender status...……...or cause them to start over again with fresh faces as they take one step backwards next year, in order to take two forward after that.

Who do they keep? Who do they let go? Of those they keep, can contracts be kept reasonable to ice a competitive team year after year?
Will the core each has in place be able to elevate and/or benefit from the supplemental talent signed or kept on board?

So really, this year may not be the telling year as to whether the teams are for real or not......but next one might.

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1 hour ago, yave1964 said:

and from the Metro the Caps, Flyers, Penguins, Islanders and Hurricanes.

 

What on Earth are the Flyers doing on this list? No, seriously.

 

The Blue Jackets have more playoff appearances and have won a round in the past seven years.

 

1 hour ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

So really, this year may not be the telling year as to whether the teams are for real or not......but next one might.

 

Sabres are a relatively young team with top talent who can grow. Playing consistently and not getting ahead of themselves is key. Also, too, not reading their press clips. They have to earn their position. Period.

 

I don't know much about Vancouver, other than I'm closer to it than I've ever been and I'll be making a connecting flight there on Wednesday.

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I answered "neither," provided this was "Cup contender."

 

Both are quite likely playoff teams.  Both have young talent that are growing as units.  Both have sufficient goaltending.

Anything can happen in the playoffs, so either could get on a run, but I wouldn't call either contenders.  Both seem to be headed in that direction in the coming years.

Edited by ruxpin
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      Buffalo and Vancouver are beating teams regularly, Buffalo sits at 9-4-2 with 20 points they are 3rd in the East, out West the Canucks are sitting at 9-3-2 with 20 points, also good for 3rd in their conference.     The question is, are either for real? Are both?     Both teased last year, Buffalo had a torrid start and was among the best teams in the game early before a complete collapse, Vancouver was never that high or that low but hung around the wild card race until late
    • 1
      Post
      Pre-season, I had both teams sniffing around the playoff picture as a bubble team. If things fall right, either could make it in, if they go not so right, they fall right out. That said, as was mentioned, I really do like Vancouver's overall depth compared to Buffalo's and their goaltending seems to be more solid and stable. Granted, Jacob Markstrom is in a contract year and we all know how that goes sometimes (plays like Superman, gets a big payday, goes back to being Clark Kent after th
    • 1
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      I answered "neither," provided this was "Cup contender."   Both are quite likely playoff teams.  Both have young talent that are growing as units.  Both have sufficient goaltending. Anything can happen in the playoffs, so either could get on a run, but I wouldn't call either contenders.  Both seem to be headed in that direction in the coming years.

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