We continue our journey through the Atlantic Division as we take a trip across Lake Erie to Western New York to look at the Buffalo Sabres.
2013 Record: 21-21-6
Home Arena: First Niagra Center, Buffalo, New York
Playoff Appearances: 29
Most Recent: 2011 (Lost to Philadelphia Flyers in seven games Conference Quarterfinals)
Division Titles: Six (1974-75, 1979-80, 1980-81 Adams Division; 1996-97, 2006-07, 2009-10 Northeast Division)
Conference Titles: Three (1974-75, 1979-80 , 1998-99)
Stanley Cups: None
General Manager: Darcy Regier
Head Coach: Ron Rolston (replaced Lindy Ruff on February 20, 2013)
Notable Players: C/LW Tyler Ennis, LW Marcus Foligno, C Cody Hodgson, C Steve Ott, RW Drew Stafford (A), LW Thomas Vanek (A), D Christian Ehrhoff, D Tyler Myers, G Ryan Miller, G Jhonas Enroth
AHL Affiliate: Rochester Americans
Notable Prospects: C Mikhail Grigorenko, D Rasmus Ristolainen
HISTORY WITH THE DETROIT RED WINGS
Overall Series: Sabres lead 53-50-13
Last Meeting: The Red Wings won 5-0 at Joe Louis Arena on January 16, 2012
Playoff Meetings: None
Fun Fact: Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is the older brother of Red Wings forward Drew Miller. Both brothers played at Michigan State University. Former Red Wing Ville Leino has been with the Sabres since 2011.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR NEXT SEASON
The Sabres are on the younger side of NHL teams, as only four players (Miller, Ott, John Scott, and Henrik Tallinder) are over the age of 30, with Tallinder is the oldest at 34.
Despite the youth and no playoffs for the last two seasons, the Sabres are a team that is better than the record shows. Miller is a former Vezina Trophy winner, and Vanek has scored at least 20 goals in each of his eight seasons in the NHL. Hodgson and Ott are a nice 1-2 punch down the middle. If Grigorenko can develop his game, the Sabres will have no trouble putting the puck in the net. The blue line has some good pieces in minute-muncher Ehrhoff, rugged Myers, and Jamie McBain, but don't be surprised to see Ristolainen get some ice time.
It's also worth noting that Ott and Ennis have been known to stir the kettle frequently on the ice.
Some consider the Sabres to be a sleeper in the division, but they will have to pick up the pace offensively, and not leave Miller hung out to dry on defense if they want to get back to the postseason.
For the record, we won't have to wait long to get a look at the Sabres, as they pay a visit to Joe Louis Arena on October 2, which will be the season opener for both teams.
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