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yave1964

2019-20 Sabres year in review

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PRESEASON OUTLOOK The year before the Sabres started hotter than anyone then finished colder than anyone missing the playoffs by a mile. Skinner was resigned, the hope was that another year of more or less the same crew growing up together would be enough to get them into the playoff hunt.

 

FINAL RECORD 30-31-8 6th in Division. Here is the deal. The league is rumored to be considering a 24 team playoff for this summer, the Sabres being the Sabres faded badly down the stretch, if they do indeed have 24 of the 31 teams make the playoffs as rumored, the Sabres will be just on the outside looking in.

 

HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR They started hot as Hell again, winning October 25th 3-0 against the Wings to tun their record to 9-2-1 The offense led by Eichel was clicking, the tendem in net of Ullmark and Hutton already had 3 shutouts in the first 12 games. People were buying in.

 

LOW POINT OF THE YEAR From then on, they turned back into the 2018-19 Sabres again. They lost 9 of their next 10 and spent the season with their wheels stuck in the mud for the rest of the year. They did manage to climb to 29-25 -8 in late February which would have gotten them to the playoffs under the proposed system but being the Sabres they then lost their next six games to fall behind Montreal and slip out of contention.

 

STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR Only five teams won more games at home than the Sabres but only two teams won less than the Sabres on the road. This happens sometimes with young teams as they learn to win. This was best represented by Eichel who had 49 points at home but a very average 29 on the road. Reinhart had 14 goals at home and only 8 away. 

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT Eichel had 78 points in 68 games becoming a beast, Reinhart proved to be a top six winger. Rookie Olofsson had 20 goals, long stretched of scoring by long stretches of being a non factor but lots of promise. Ristolainen had a fantastic bounce back year. Dahlin had a great year and looks like he is going to dominate for years. Montour was a solid contributor on the back end, Ullmark was pretty damn good in net.

 

WHAT WENT WRONG Start with Skinner who was wretched following a 40 goal season and a long term extention with the worst year of his career. Middle six wingers were a gaping hole as well, Vesey, Sheary, Larsson and Okposo were dreadful most of the year. Mittlestadt has bust written all over him. Frolik and Simmonds came aboard to shore up the middle six and were bad. Asplund is a bust. Hutton is at best a 20 game a year backup goalie disguised as a time share quasi starter and being overused was overexposed. The defense was very top heavy, the bottom six produced very little in the way of offense.

 

FREE AGENTS Simmonds, Girgensons, Vesey, Sobotka, Wilson, and Frolik are all UFA and none are expected back, none will be missed much. 

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS Can they find a 2C to slot in behind Eichel to take the pressure off? Cozins should make the team this year and will be given every opportunity. Can Mittlestadt turn it around? Is Ullmark for real? Can they find any real middle six wingers? with the established Dahlin do you trade Risto to fill holes elsewhere?

 

  This team is very top heavy, Eichel, Dahlin,  Risto, Reinhart, Olofsson all can play, but beyond them there is almost literally nothing. Skinner has to be better (he cannot possibly be worse) and true skill players have to be found to go with the short list of ones they already have.

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      PRESEASON OUTLOOK The year before the Sabres started hotter than anyone then finished colder than anyone missing the playoffs by a mile. Skinner was resigned, the hope was that another year of more or less the same crew growing up together would be enough to get them into the playoff hunt.   FINAL RECORD 30-31-8 6th in Division. Here is the deal. The league is rumored to be considering a 24 team playoff for this summer, the Sabres being the Sabres faded badly down the stretch, if they

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