Looking Back: Season Predictions

Before the 2022-2023 NHL season got underway, the Die By The Blade staff made our predictions on what player would stand out, how the team would perform overall and more. Now that the season is officially in the books, it's time to look back on how our predictions fared.

Team MVP

It's gotta be Tage Thompson, right? Three of us polled him as the MVP at the start of the season, and he certainly didn't disappoint. With 47 goals, 47 assists and 94 points in just 78 games played, he was undoubtedly Buffalo's best player this season.

Other choices included Alex Tuch (3 votes), Rasmus Dahlin and Jeff Skinner - certainly also deserving candidates. Tuch and Skinner each averaged more than a point-per-game, while Dahlin set career highs in goals, assists and points from the backend while playing a lot of minutes.

Leading Goalscorer

Five of us predicted that Tage Thompson would be the team's leading goalscorer - no surprise there. At the same time, also no surprise that Jeff Skinner (who got three votes) was near the top, too. Both players had one heck of a season.

Surprise Player

This one was a mixed bag from the start. I picked Eric Comrie, but he only ended up playing 19 games and I wouldn't necessarily call his performance "surprising." Similarly, Jeff picked Vinnie Hinostroza, who had 11 points in 26 games in Buffalo. Taylor picked Rasmus Asplund, who was traded to Nashville.

Calvin's pick of Ilya Lyubushkin seems appropriate, as the defender definitely had some surprising games. He ends the season with 14 points, including 12 assists, setting new career highs across the board offensively.

Other popular picks were Dylan Cozens, who had an outstanding season with 68 points (31-37) in 81 games, and Peyton Krebs, who had 26 points in 74 games. Cozens' season was a breakout one, as he set career highs across the board and was one of the team's top offensive players. Are we surprised?

Top Defenseman

Most of us picked Rasmus Dahlin for this one, and I think we were spot on. Dahlin is proving himself to be a well-rounded player with defensive and offensive responsibility, a leader both on and off the ice.

Mattias Samuelsson and Owen Power also received votes - again, deserving candidates.

Total Team Points

Our predictions ranged from the low end 78 points on the season to 91. Generally, the Sabres finished the season slightly better than most of us predicted. Kerra & Steven were both spot-on and said 91 points!

Will the Sabres make the playoffs?

Most of us said no, but many of us said that the team would be in contention and be fun to watch, which was true. Jeff (maybe), Kerra (yes) and Steven (yes) weren't far off on their predictions.

Bold Predictions

Just how bold were they?

Calvin said that five players would get 60+ points, and he was on the money with his picks - except for predicting Owen Power rather than Dylan Cozens. (Shout out to Casey Mittelstadt, who was one point shy of 60!)

Taylor predicted that Tage Thompson would hit the 40-goal mark, which was accurate. Hannah said that Jeff Skinner would have another 30+ goal season; he did, hitting 35 on the season.

Kerra said that Kyle Okposo would shine as captain, and that certainly seems to ring true. Jeff said that Thompson & Skinner would be the team's top scorers (true!), with Thompson getting over 45 goals (yes!) and Skinner with 40+. (He was close!)

Steven predicted that Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen would be the team's starting goaltender by March, which didn't really end up happening, and I said that Eric Comrie would win 20 games. Whoops! The team's goaltending situation was certainly an interesting and complex one this season, and I definitely didn't give Craig Anderson enough credit in the beginning.

Steven also said that Cozens would hit the 60-point mark, so props to him for recognizing his potential!

It all just goes to show that some things are easier to foretell than others, injuries can change anything at the drop of a coin, and there will always be some surprises - good or bad. It's the nature of the game, and the beauty of it.