By Dominic Lancella on July 18, 2014
The Buffalo Sabres were the laughing stock of the NHL last season, as they collected just 52 points and finished with by far the worst record in the league. You can take your pick from an array of different disasters that made for one of the poorest seasons by any team in recent memory, but the front office has been busy trying to repair a team that can only improve at this point. Here are five new faces that should help Buffalo bounce back.
Stewart isn’t new in Buffalo; he was involved in the Ryan Miller trade last season, but he makes this list because he only played five games for the Sabres last season due to injury. Stewart might as well be a new face on a team that will benefit from his style. He works hard every shift and plays a grinder-type game that's similar to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan. A max-effort guy like Stewart will help Buffalo work hard as a team.
Reinhart was drafted second overall less than a month ago by the Sabres and seems to have high potential and confidence. It’s rare that a draft pick gets selected and goes on to play in the NHL right away, but Reinhart has expressed his desire to play for the Sabres this season. It’s realistic, considering Buffalo doesn’t have any depth in their lineup and Reinhart’s excitement and energy would be a good thing for the team.
On a young team, Gionta’s a veteran guy that can quickly develop into a leader as he was on his other two NHL teams. His presence alone should be good for the team, and his production on the score sheet has been consistent throughout his career. He’ll have a bigger responsibility to produce with much less talent alongside him than what he had on the Montreal Canadiens, but Gionta is up to the challenge.
As of today, the Sabres don’t have enough blueliners on their roster to fill three defensive pairs, but they do have Gorges, who is also coming to Buffalo after playing with Montreal. Gorges will help the Sabres mostly on the defensive side of the ice, and will need to do his best to replace Christian Ehrhoff. Gorges is a key player in terms of stabilizing a defense that ranked 25th in goals against last season.
Moulson started last season on the Sabres, but was traded to the Minnesota Wild. Moulson recently signed a six-year deal with his former team, and will be one of Buffalo’s most important players this season. Moulson tops this list because he should bring scoring to a team that needs it more than anything else. Buffalo scored 150 goals last season, which was lowest in the league and only averaged out to 1.83 goals per game.
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