Monday, September 10, 2007

New Look in Buffalo

The Buffalo Sabres will start camp with a lot of fresh faces getting a look, but for the most part, the team has been pretty much set for a while already. The mass changes done to the line-up have mostly been subtractions, which haven't been filled by many additions. The only notable addition to the 21 below is Jocelyn Thibault, who spent last season with the Penguins.

The Sabres are probably the most obvious team hoping for little to no injuries this season. They would really appreciate a full season from Tim Connolly, who is arguably their number one centre. Maxim Afinogenov is another name who could really use a full season, as he only played 56 games and is a big pool player as he scores at a rate of 1.09 points per game. If Afinogenov plays 82 games, that would put him at almost 90 points, a first-round pick. If people are to go by their lists, he could be a bit of a sleeper, since he only scored 61 points last season. Ales Kotalik, Derek Roy and Jochen Hecht all missed time as well last season and would be good to have them healthy. If these five can stay healthy for 75 to 82 games, the Sabres are a very good pool team and a competitive team in the East.

Maxim AfinogenovTim ConnollyThomas Vanek
Derek RoyJason PominvilleJochen Hecht
Drew StaffordDan PailleAles Kotalik
Andrew Peters
Paul GaustadAdam Mair
Brian CampbellTeppo Numminen
Dimitri KalininJaroslav Spacek
Toni LydmanNathan Paetsch
Henrik Tallinder
Ryan Miller
Jocelyn Thibault

This 21-man roster is most likely going to start the season going into October. There are some new names vying for spots and the Sabres scouting staff has done a good job in recent years, so maybe they'll hit a home run with one of their picks in 2006 or 2007 here in the coming months. It's unlikely that they'll start the season, but if injury does rear it's ugly head in Buffalo, you are likely going to see a youngster from the system.

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