This is a FanPost written by T McGee.
Perhaps the most fun season I’ve had watching the Blue and Gold has come to an (bittersweet) end. Incredible evolution of so many players, some new folks added to the increasingly potent mix, and more talent on the horizon. They are in the best position as a franchise they’ve been in since they went into the 2004-05 lockout with a group of savvy veterans and up-and-coming young talent.
When you go back and look at where Sabres’ fandom stood going into this season, it is a mixed bag. There were a few optimists, a few folks on the fence (including myself!) and most of the group anticipating only a half-step forward or even going backwards a bit. One way to measure the vibes around DBTB going into the year is the always fun ’20 Questions’ that I compile before the season gets underway. With the season over, I took some time to determine the winner. And it was a tight one! I can say no one got more than half correct. But that’s the fun of it. Let’s take a look at a few categories:
Questions NO ONE Got Right:
- How many goals would Tage Thompson score? Tommy Dangles put up 47 goals, an unheard of amount for a BFLO Sabre and the best goal scoring season by a Sabre in decades. No one around DBTB expected Tommer’s numbers to finish so high. The closest was Declan MacManus, who predicted a cool 50 goals for #72. But almost 33% of all respondents felt Tage would score less than 30. So 47 should be seen as a big win for fans everywhere. Tage beat the expectations of nearly everyone (except, presumably, himself!).
- Who will finish as the top 3 in Short-Handed Points? To their credit, a lot of folks got 2 of 3 right here. But no one got the 3rd. Why is that? Because Ilya Lyubushkin finished 2nd in SHP, and not one single respondent included him in their 3 choices. You may recall his heart-stopping SH GWG-OT goal against the Lightning as one of his pair of points. More than half of our responses included Rasmus Asplund as one of the trio, which actually proved right, as he scored 1 SHP before being shipped off to Nashvegas, tied with 9 other players for 3rd place.
Questions EVERYONE Got Right: None.
Questions ONE or TWO People Got Right:
- What will be the Sabres’ DIVISIONAL Record? Both Jedi and Panther managed to nail this, with a 12-12-2 record against the ATLANTIC. Impressive. They were the only ones who saw things so clearly; there were 4 other posters who predicted more than 12 wins in division; the highest being 14. On the other end, about 25% of respondents had the Sabres with less than 10 in-division wins. So that suggests a lack of faith in the Sabres’ ability to be competitive within an admittedly tough division.
- Who will get the most GOALIE STARTS? Nearly everyone went with Comrie as their answer here, and I think it might surprise some people to discover that it wasn’t Comrie, Andy or Levi who led the Sabres in starts. The right answer was UPL! Zen, Vanek Fanatic and Patrick Torpor all managed to predict this one before it happened…whether they forecast Comrie and Andy’s injuries or just took shots in the dark, they nailed it. As an aside, I think they should hang on to UPL if they can, he was better than I think a lot of us are giving him credit for.
- How many POINTS will OWEN POWER score? This one was all over the place. Guesses as low as 24 and as high as 72 shows just how uncertain we all were about OP and his poorly fitting helmet. As it turned out, big #25 finished with 35 points for the year, a nice showing for a rookie D-Man. But it was his poise, his confidence with the puck, and his ability to eat a lot of minutes that really impressed me. Both Lucan Llama, East Aurora Not Chicago and CNY NavyLT all managed to hit the bullseye with this one. Big things expected for OP in the coming years!
- How many MORE WINS will the Sabres have over last year? Another category that had a wide disparity in answers, we saw as high as 13 more wins, and as low as 2 less than the 2021-22 season produced. The correct answer, which amazed me when I looked it up, was 10 more wins. Double digits! Amazing. Now, that doesn’t equate to 20 more points, as they wound up winning a few games that went down as OT losses last season. Pappy, Crashmore, and Swontfan all got this one spot on. Nice one peeps!
- How many TRADES will the Sabres make during the season? Given Kevyn Adams’ patience in sticking with The Plan, a lot of us were skeptical the Sabres would do anything in the trade market during the season. Boy, were we mistaken. The Sabres finished with FOUR trades this season: the Greenway trade, Asplund to NAS, the Riley Stillman deal with VAN, and lastly, an unheralded trade involving Sabre legend Anders Bjork to CHI. There were a couple other minor league deals, but nothing directly involving the Sabres. Only two respondents forecast FOUR trades…once more, Lucan Llama nailed this, as well as Seneca Nation. And FOUR was the highest number predicted – the overwhelming number of responses was Zero.
- BONUS: Who will lead the AMERKS in SCORING? This was a tough one. A lot of different answers here, and who knew what would happen with the rookies, how Kulich and the other kids might do, what the established veterans will put on the board? I thought I had this one all year after going with Brandon Biro, but he got hurt a month out and hopefully comes back for the playoffs. He was passed by a surprising character, Lukas Rousek, who finished with 54P and won the top scorer award! Only two of us correctly identified Rousek – Podunk and Chipwagon! Let’s go Amerks!
But enough of this or that…let’s answer the question everyone wants to know: who is the WINNER. And that title goes to…
With a grand total of 9 correct answers, our new, Official Prognosticator takes the mantle until the conclusion of the 23-24 season, which hopefully will last longer than the one that just ended. And he lived up to his handle in the process! While a number of posters came within a hair’s breadth of tying HC for the title, he squeaked by with one more correct answer than the rest of the group.
HC, you have been awarded 847 Internet points, and declared the Potentate of Prognosticating. You can put that on your business card without fear of legal action. Congratulations!
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to enter your answers. We had about 50 participants so that’s pretty cool! Now it’s time to start thinking about my questions for next season!
Want to submit your own FanPost? Try our new submission form! You must be logged in & use the same email address & username tied to your Die By The Blade account.
Die By The Blade is a community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Buffalo Sabres and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors or staff of Die By The Blade.