Story by Charlie Crowley
Throughout the course of history, there have been notable quotes that have turned the tide of an event; United States Navy Captain John Paul Jones’ “I have not yet begun to fight!” always comes to mind for me. The Buffalo Sabres have been a laughingstock the past few years in the National Hockey League, but five words uttered by an eighteen year old kid from Massachusetts may be their ticket back to glory:
More on that in a minute.
The Sabres have not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in four years, not as bad as one might think. However, their stats of late may be deceiving to a casual fan in that respect, as they have gone 104-155-35 in four campaigns. In terms of individuals, they have pieces but lack depth. Players such as Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson, and the young, blossoming Zemgus Girgensons have the potential to turn this team around. Pair that with the added help from Evander Kane, who was acquired at the trade deadline, and this team could surprise fans next year, but it’s highly unlikely. They also have put their trust in their new head coach Dan Bylsma, who brings six years of playoff experience and a Stanley Cup ring to the helm. Their biggest problem right now is inexperience; they boast young players with upside, but many of whom have limited experience in the National Hockey League. Now, about that quote….
As talked about in my last piece, Connor McDavid is expected to go first overall in the NHL Draft this year. Behind him is the kid from Massachusetts, Jack Eichel of Boston University. Eichel was a one man show for Boston, winning ten individual awards, including the Hobey Baker Award as the best NCAA player in the country. At 6’2 and just under 200 pounds, he is built solid for an 18 year old, and can shoot or pass with the best of them: in ten games at this year’s World Championships, Eichel had two goals and five assists playing against grown men with professional experience. Buffalo will more than likely pick the kid from just down the road in Beantown and use him as a cornerstone for rebuilding.
Will Buffalo be “coming for ya” in the 2015-16 season? Probably not. The Sabres have a lot of work to do to get back to the days of old when playoff appearances were routine. However, the pieces to the puzzle are all there; time, as always, is the biggest factor. A duo of Evander Kane and Eichel could be deadly if they mesh well, as both have the perfect combination of size and speed. Kane, who is more of a shooter, will complement Eichel’s vision and high level passing ability nicely. Who knows? Maybe the Sabres will finally bring a championship to Buffalo that they have longed for years.
About the Writer…
Charlie Crowley is a soon to be junior studying communication and journalism. He spends most of his time playing hockey, sleeping, eating, and on Reddit. He’s also a Hoosier, and proud of it, but can’t hit the open three to save his life.