Last October seems a lifetime away, doesn’t it? It’s hard to believe that only six months have passed since the beginning of the 2019-20 NHL season, but that’s where we stand right now. As the Buffalo Sabres and the other 30 teams in the league were preparing for another season, we here at Die By the Blade sat down to discuss our expectations for the upcoming season.
It’s safe to say that none of us could have predicted this: an unfinished season, waiting for the NHL to either resume play in some form or another (which seems unlikely, at least anytime soon) or announce the official cancellation of the rest of the season. None of us would have, back in October, predicted that the hockey season would end so abruptly, so unceremoniously, and that so many questions would be left hanging in the balance.
Regardless of how this season has, or has not officially, ended, now seems like as good a time as ever to look back at some of our expectations and outlooks on the season that we made back in October, and see just how things really fared.
We each projected the Sabres to finish the season with 80+ points, including my own prediction of an 83-point finish. At the present time, the Sabres have accrued 68 points in 69 games. In order for them to meet my projection, they’d have to snag 13 of 15 possible points in the remainder of the season. Yeah, about that.....
I also mentioned that I was intrigued to see what Marcus Johansson was capable of. In 60 games, he put up 30 points, which isn’t terrible but also isn’t anything particularly swoon worthy. That said, I also noted that Victor Olofsson’s rookie season would be one to watch, and boy, was that on point. Olofsson’s 42 points in 54 games are a stellar NHL start for him, and his work on the power play has been outstanding.
As many said - including Chad, Anthony and myself - the Sabres weren’t making the playoffs this year. It certainly seems like everyone hit the mark with that prediction. I think Anthony said it best: “Simply put, a lot has to go right for this team to find itself in the playoff conversation come March.”
A lot did not go right, and as Ryan said, this “seems like another rebuilding year for this team.” Although no one could have possibly predicted where the season is at this point, it seems like for the most part, we at DBTB did a fair job of sizing up where the organization was back in October, and how far they would - or would not - come between then and March.
We also made another set of predictions regarding who would be the Sabres’ leading goalscorer (Jack Eichel or Jeff Skinner, for most) or MVP, best defenseman and other “bold” predictions. Check out that post here.
How did your preseason predictions turn out?