Buffalo Sabres 2010 Olympic Preview

The Winter Olympics are quickly approaching and many of the greatest hockey players in the world will step on the ice to represent their country. There are many Sabres players that are hoping to be part of the elite group that will take part in the games.

The powers that be at SB Nation decided it would be fun have every team take a look at the players on the team they cover and decide what players have a chance at making the list. Here is my attempt at sounding semi-intelligent regarding the talent level of the Sabres squad. {Note: This post will be deleted before the actual teams are announced so nobody can use this against me at a later date}.

Pack Your Bags

Pack your bags, book your flight, reserve your room...these are the players that are a lock to represent their country in the Olympics.

I'm not breaking any news by announcing that Ryan Miller will be selected to play for the USA at the Olympics. Miller will not only make the team but he is a near lock to start for the USA. Tim Thomas will also get a look for the United States but any fool can see what Miller has done this season. Millsie, as his teammates call him, is off to the best start of his entire career and although the season is only half over, has been mentioned as a Vezina candidate in some circles.


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Ryan Miller 17 1003 12 3 33 1.97 477 444 .931 2

There is no way to confuse the season MIller is having with the season Jochen Hecht is having but both are a lock to play in the Olympics. Hecht is a sure bet to represent Germany at the Olympics because they are still growing the sport of hockey in Germany. There are plenty of good players that hail from Germany, including German Coach and ex-Sabres defenseman Uwe Krupp, but they don't have enough depth to consider leaving a player like Hecht off the squad.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Jochen Hecht 20 2 2 4 -2 13 0 0 1 0 57 3.5


Nearly a Lock

Andrej Sekera has been the sixth or seventh defenseman on the Buffalo Sabres but like Hecht, he will probably be playing in the Olympics because of the lack of depth for Slovakia. Many Slovakian players will be players that are currently playing in the KHL and Sekera will likely join that group in Vancouver. There are positives and negatives to players playing in the Olympics but this is great news for the Sabres. Sekera will get experience against the best players in the world while he is struggling to get ice time with the Sabres.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Andrej Sekera 12 0 1 1 -3 4 0 0 0 0 15 0.0

 

In a Battle

A couple of Portland Pirates players are currently battling for positions on the German team. Uwe Krupp was in Portland to see both players play this week and they both seem to be on top of their game. They are both relatively unknown to us Sabres fans and this would give us an opportunity to see them play on the world stage. I'm sure I'm not the only one cheering for these two guys to make the German squad.


Phillip Gogulla

#47 / Left Wing / Buffalo Sabres

6-2

176

Jul 31, 1987



Felix Schutz

#15 / Center / Buffalo Sabres

5-11

187

Nov 03, 1987



Toni Lydman could be a fairly safe bet for the Finns but he has been out of the lineup with a groin injury. If he proves that he is back to form, he will be a lock for Finland at the games. Lydman is a veteran of Olympic hockey and was a fixture at the blueline in 2006.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Toni Lydman 6 0 0 0 -2 4 0 0 0 0 8 0.0


 

Work To Do

This is an opportunity to talk about two American players that will probably have a two week vacation instead of playing in the Olympics. Jason Pominville and Drew Stafford at least deserve to have their name mentioned but when push comes to shove, they will be left off the roster. They still have a little over a month to prove to Brian Burke they deserve an opportunity.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Jason Pominville 20 5 8 13 -2 4 2 0 0 0 53 9.4


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Drew Stafford 18 6 3 9 -1 4 3 0 0 0 50 12.0

 

Moving Up

This is an interesting category because it could mean a lot of things. Although I list it further down the page, I consider these players to have a better chance than the players that have work to do. Tim Connolly is an all world talent with a history of injuries.

Brian Burke probably thought he was a non-factor because of his injury issues. Now that he has stayed healthy and has played relatively well, he has people wondering if he should be on the roster. I will boldly state right now...if I was GM of the team, he would be on the team in a heartbeat. There is no player that could make that team that has the playmaking skills of Connolly.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Tim Connolly 20 4 13 17 -6 2 3 0 1 0 50 8.0

 

Henrik Tallinder struggled the last two seasons which forced him down the Swedish depth chart. He has turned things around in the first quarter of this season and is now rising back up the charts. He will be given strong consideration to make the team and I would not be surprised if he is there. This is another player that could benefit from the experience.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Henrik Tallinder 20 0 6 6 7 14 0 0 0 0 11 0.0


Moving Down

If you are a regular here you know and if you are new, I'll tell you...I am a Derek Roy fan. I think Derek Roy is a very talented player and he has a very affordable contract for the Sabres. He is a player that the Sabres should build their franchise around. With all that being said, he does not make the Canadian Olympic squad. There are too many great Canadian players to even consider Roy.

Roy had to be mentioned in this post because he was invited to the Canadian orientation camp but that is the only reason he is mentioned in this post. Roy has talent but putting it all together consistently has been an issue for him. He would be more valuable if the tournament was being played on European ice instead of taking place in Vancouver.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Derek Roy 20 4 12 16 -4 14 3 0 1 0 52 7.7


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