With two days to go until the season starts, and on a night where we're all waiting for the Buffalo Sabres to finalize their roster or name a captain, let's take a look 20 years into the past to compare the 1993-94 Sabres to the 2013-14 squad.
The 1993-94 season for the Buffalo Sabres featured many similarities and a few inevitable differences to the Sabres of today. Their season began with a first for the NHL, as Alexander Mogilny was named the first European captain in NHL history. This year's Sabres are still (as of this writing Sunday night) without a captain, though there's a significant chance they'll end up with another European captain in Thomas Vanek or Christian Ehrhoff when all is said and done.
Both teams share a strength in goal - in fact, the franchise's two best goaltenders anchor each team with Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller. However, at the end of the 93-94 year, Hasek took home the Vezina and was a nominee for the Hart trophy. Miller isn't expected to be a serious contender for the Vezina trophy, unless of course he can recapture the magic of 2010 in another Olympic year.
As for the forwards, both teams will likely share a fairly shallow offensive scoring pool. Outside of Hawerchuk, Mogilny, Audette, and Khmylev, there wasn't a ton of punch up front thanks to only 16 games from Pat LaFontaine. Outside of Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson, it will be tough for this year's squad to score goals, so they better hope they can be as good as the 93-94 team was at preventing them - nobody allowed fewer goals during that season than the Sabres.
Few people expect this year's team to replicate the success of their 20-year old counterparts, who finished 6th in the East, but lost to the Devils in seven games. However, they could share the slow start of the 93-94 team, who began the season 1-7-1.
Twenty years later, the names have changed, but there's many more similarities between this year's Sabres team and the 93-94 team than differences. Does anything else jump out at you, Sabres fans? Would you be happy if the team from 20 years ago took the ice today?