FanPost

Who's in? Who's out? What's next?

The draft has come and gone. The free agency frenzy has already seen its biggest days. The Sabres have mostly filled out their roster. Who knows, we could see a couple more signings or a big trade. I've seen Chychrun to the Sabres rumors. Lots of possibilities exist where the Sabres are not done shaping their roster. The likeliest outcome, to me, is that the Sabres are mostly done. All that's left will be the training camp battles. Will Quinn, JJP, or someone else make the jump to the big leagues? We shall see. Adams, thus far, has built a way for someone to step up. First, they have to prove it.

That being said, I've made a few predictions. I tried to stay on the conservative side, but feel free to make your own predictions below. I've gone mostly with the assumption that a healthy player will play 75 games, missing a few games due to bumps and bruises that an 82 game schedule brings. I also haven't really touched on players who played 20 or fewer games. Players like R2, Murray, Jankowski, etc. I assume there will be players, due to injury, that see these games. I'm also assuming that their replacements will basically provide the same statistical output. I also made it a point to match GP: 1 GP out, 1 GP in. Again, just my own guesstimates.

Also, I didn't make any changes to the up and comers. Players like Olofsson, Cozens, and Asplund. I think Olofsson could reach 30 or maybe even 40 goals this year. However, there are players like Tage, Skinner and Okposo who could see a regression. Girgensons also missed a lot of time. Overall though, I see these numbers basically evening out. If they all improve, then watch out.

Owen Power is the biggest addition to this team's roster, so I began with the defense.

Who's out?

Player Pos GP
G A PTS
Colin Miller D 38 2 12 14
Mark Pysyk D 68 3 9 12
Will Butcher D 37 2 6 8
Robert Hagg D 48 1 7 8
Total
191 8 34 42

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Who's in?

Owen Power D 75 9 35 44
Ilya Lyubushkin D 75 2 13 15
Henri Jokiharju D 10 1 3 4
Mattias Samuelsson D 31 0 8 8
Total
191 12 59 71

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On defense, we are going to see arguably the biggest changes to the roster. If we assume 6 players play 82 games, that gives us a total of 492 man games played. Going by my projected 191 new games played, that's 38.8% turnover.

I'm assuming that Fitzgerald is a #7 or developing more in ROC. He could see the same 36GP that he saw last season, and produce at about the same level. For that reason, I have left him out.

We do have 3 major changes coming to the defense. I've assumed here that Power will put up the same numbers that Dahlin did in his rookie season. Power is also 19 years old, going on 20 (November). Dahlin was 18 until April in his rookie year. It's really difficult to predict what Power will do this year. I'm interested to hear what everyone thinks in the comments below.

Samuelsson is the next major difference, to me. He played roughly half of last season after being called up. He ended the year on the 1st pairing with Dahlin. I've been conservative with his numbers. He could explode for way more, especially if he stays with Dahlin. Here's to hoping that he does actually score an NHL goal. I'm certain he will, I just did not put it into the projections. Again, curious to hear what Sabres fans think his numbers look like.

The 3rd major addition, to me, is Lyubushkin. I really like this mostly under the radar signing. He brings a physicality and toughness that we all want. He can play 2nd or 3rd pair minutes. And, he was a part of the Toronto exodus. How much do you love seeing Leafs fans losing their collective minds? Anyway, I've assumed here that Lyubushkin will basically put up the same numbers as last year.

Lastly, I added 10 games for Joker. He only played 60 games last year and hopefully he can have a mostly healthy season this year.

All in all, I've projected 4 more goals coming from the D-men this year. How many more do you predict? We lost some offense from the defense with Miller and Butcher moving on.

Moving on to the offense.

Who's out?


John Hayden C 55 2 2 4
Cody Eakin C 69 4 8 12
Drake Caggiula LW 18 2 3 5
Total
142 8 13 21

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Who's in?

Alex Tuch
25 6 19 25
Peyton Krebs
27 4 13 17
Casey Mittelstadt

30 5 15 20
Jack Quinn
30 6 6 12
JJ Peterka
30 6 6 12
Total
142 27 59 86

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I've tried to stay fairly conservative here. Tuch and Krebs should definitely see these games added to their Sabres totals. Fingers crossed, but Mitts, if healthy, will at least put up these numbers. If he can continue to build on the end of season he had both this year and last year, he should far exceed these numbers. Quinn and JJP are the wildcards. I have them combining for 60 games played and putting up pretty ho-hum numbers. I hope I'm very, very wrong and they each pot 20+ goals.

Overall, I have us adding 19 more goals from the forward group. It will be interesting to look back on these at season's end just to see how incredibly wrong I was. What are you expecting?

One big wildcard. Bjork. He played 58 games with the Sabres last year. I don't think he is good enough to see that many games this year. I think he will fall down to fewer than 20GP. We could see Quinn/Peterka assume those games and put up better numbers. Again, I was just trying to be conservative here though, and have Bjork either playing the same amount of games, or his replacement basically putting up the same numbers.


Last but not least, the goalie group.

Who's out?


GS GA SA S SV%
Dustin Tokarski 28 91 900 809 0.899
Aaron Dell 9 38 354 316 0.893
Total 37 129 1254 1125 0.897 33SA/60

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Who's in?

Eric Comrie 37 94 1110 1016 0.915 30SA/60

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I've left goalies for last because this is the hardest group to predict. We had 6 goalies between the pipes last year. Hopefully this year it is a more team friendly 3 or 4.

Here's what I did. I subtracted Tokarski and Dell and gave those games to Comrie. I'm assuming here that Anderson plays roughly the same amount of games and puts up roughly the same numbers. I've assumed that UPL, Subban and Houser's numbers from last year match what players in those games do again this year. Whether UPL plays all those 15 games, or whether those games are split up among everyone, I'm assuming the numbers are roughly the same either way.

Obviously the biggest change is Comrie and with only 28GP to his name, it's really hard to project what he can do this year. I've given him a slight drop in his SV% from last year, from .920 to .915. Playing more games, I am assuming, will drop his numbers. Again, I hope I'm wrong.

What I've done as well, is take the 33 shots/game that Dell/Tokarski faced and dropped them to 30 shots/game. We saw a drop off of this magnitude when Power entered the line-up. If the Sabres can keep their shots down, goalies should, in theory, be giving up fewer goals.

In total, I have the Sabres goalies giving up 35 fewer goals. Is that too much? It's really hard to say. Anderson, Comrie and UPL are all giant question marks, but I think they are certainly better than what our 6 goalies did last year. The question is by how much. What do you think?

What's next?


Here's where things got really interesting for me. You're going to have to take my word for it, but I ran all of these numbers first and then totaled them up. I wasn't targeting a certain number and finding a way to make those numbers work. Just the opposite. I made these guesstimates and then did a tally of where things stand.

So, what are the results? I have the Sabres adding 23 more goals and giving up 35 fewer goals. Last year, the Sabres scored 232 goals and allowed 290. If we add 23 goals, we get 255 GF. If we subtract 35 goals, we get 255 GA. Again, I did not plan for the numbers to work out this way.

So, if the Sabres score as many goals as they allow, where does that place us? There is no better metric than goal differential to tell us which teams make the playoffs or miss them. A +0 puts us squarely as a fringe-playoff team. Remember, I have tried to be very conservative here as well. With the right combination of talent, luck, coaching, injuries (or lack thereof), and scheduling, we could be in the positive goal differential department and that could put us into a playoff spot.


What about the competition?


OTT and DET have made headlines for the way that they have seemingly improved their squads. We don't hear the same noise about the Sabres. I will remind people of two things. One- we finished better than both in the standings last year, albeit not by much. Two- We went 0-1-3 against DET and 1-2 against OTT. Something tells me we are going to be better than .357 in points percentage against these two squads.

Secondly, I think we have seen TBL, FLA, TOR and BOS all take steps back. The Atlantic has got to be the best division in the league. The top dogs are going to have to give some points to the up and comers. It's going to be interesting to watch this race as the season unfolds. I have no idea where the Sabres will finish in the standings this year, but I think we are going to be a much better team that is harder to play against. Does that land us in the playoffs? Probably not, but what I do think is we have a chance. I'm more excited about this franchise than I have been in a while.


Thanks for reading! What are your projections? And please feel free to tell me how wrong I am :)

This is a FanPost written by a member of the community. It does not necessarily express the views or opinions of Die By The Blade.