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The hype overtook Vesey. If I told you he would only have 90 points in his first 240 NHL games at the time his right were traded to Buffalo, I do not think people would have been so incorrectly angry at him for choosing the Rangers like he told everyone he would.
I want to see Vesey be a bit of a Swiss Army Knife for the Sabres. Play some PP time as a net front presence and get time on the PK. Play up and down the lineup on both wings. I think if he can do that while putting up around 35 points (had 35 in 81 games last season), that’s a decent year from the 26 year old.
I really want to see Davidsson put up 35 points. 40 points might be a stretch since he’s moving from Djurgårdens IF to Växjö Lakers HC, a slightly worse club according to last year’s standings. This will be his fourth full season in the SHL and he has the skill to push to 40 points as long as he plays all 52 games, even though he’s getting usage much like he would in North America.
The only reason I added Murray is I could see him signing with Rochester now that he’s going to their training camp. As for a goal, at this point? Find a team to play on. I’m sure something is in the works, but not being signed in September is a bit curious.
Avoid the sophomore slump like the plague. The Sabres need Dahlin dearly and if he ends up not taking another step or even taking a step back, Buffalo is in trouble. Normally, it’s not wise to put so much pressure is being put on a 19 year old defenseman, but with his historic rookie year, it’s hard not to give him the reigns.
Like last year, he might be bad plays, bad games or even a bad stretch of games, but he is the best defenseman in the world at his age or younger. Other than building muscle (which will help with physicality and his shot) and improving straight line speed, there’s not much he needs to focus on to be successful.
At this point, Stephens’ potential is an AHL defenseman. While every organization needs those players, the goals set forth will not have any impact on the Sabres.
Regardless, the most important goal for Stephens is play well enough in Cincinatti to earn an AHL contract next season. I believe that will be with another organization, but if he can step up this season for the Cyclones, he might receive a one-year offer from Amerks GM Randy Sexton.
While it was not all his fault last season, he needs to be better, so much rides on the performance of the goalies this season. Sporting a 3.00 GAA and .908 S% is tough to see, especially when your backup’s numbers are even worse. Again, it was not all his fault and to solely lay the blame at his feet would be foolish.
That being said, he needs to be better over the entire season. He and Ullmark were too streaky, just like the entire team. To me, I want to see a 2.60 GAA and .916 S%. Admittedly I’m not the best at setting goals for the puck stoppers, but this seems reasonable to me.
The team in front of him has to help him achieve this, they are widely considered team stats, but he needs to make the timely save and be able to steal a game.