Although the Sabres have most of their corner stone, franchise players already wearing the blue and gold sweaters, there are still some Sabres waiting in the wings that could help this young Buffalo team take the next step.
Here is my prediction for what the Sabres roster will look like when they take the step of becoming a serious Stanley Cup contender in the NHL.
This is a offense that seems unstoppable at its peak. Remember before you criticize my lineup, this is what I believe would be a roster worthy of a Stanley Cup title. The top line features Jack Eichel, Evander Kane, and a new face that I am predicting the Sabres land in the 2016 draft. A top prospect from Finland, Jesse Puljujarvi could be just as good if not better than Auston Matthews. With Eichel and Kane on this line, it could be one of the NHL's best.
I like Girgensons on the second line with O'Reilly and McGinn who have developed an incredible chemistry together this season. Girgensons has the speed and goal scoring ability to complement O'Reilly very well.
Sam Reinhart has played great with O'Reilly and McGinn. However to max out this roster, Reinhart needs to be at center. His incredible hockey IQ and play making ability, as well as being a productive two way player, makes him a excellent third line center with two dynamic young wingers in big, physical power forward Hudson Fasching, and a tall, lengthy, fast winger in Justin Bailey. This line could be one of the best "Third Lines" in the NHL.
The fourth line features a gritty, yet talented pairing of Johan Larsson, enforcer Nicolas Desluariers, and young Nick Baptiste who has the versatility to not only play on the penalty kill and enforce on the ice with big hits, but be a offensive factor as well. He played on the top line with McDavid in Erie and was unstoppable on the power play.
This defense has a lot of versatility. Mark Pysyk and Ristolainen are the two most reliable skaters on the Sabres. Not just on defense, but the entire team. When they hit their prime, (yes Ristolainen has not hit his prime despite being second on the Sabres in points) this could be the best pairing in the NHL.
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McCabe and Bogosian is a physical pairing that can really set the tone for the Sabres. Jake McCabe is a very skilled defender with the puck in his hands. He has an accurate shot and is a great skater. Zach Bogosian has a hard shot to stop at the point as well.
The third pairing of Guhle and Borgen is interesting. Both prospects are currently in college and the juniors, but both are impressing. Guhle is the more offensive defender where as Borgen resembles Pysyk with fundamentally sound technique and vision. He is a do it all type defender who could be a reliable asset to Buffalo.
A 1A, 1B type of mentality is applied here. Both young goalies in Lehner and Ullmark are big bodies in the crease that have the potential to shut the door on any occasion. For now I feel that Ullmark will develop as the more reliable net minder but both are only in their early 20's. Time will tell how this one plays out.
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This is a very promising roster that Dan Bylsma and Tim Murray can work with to acquire a Stanley Cup. This is what I would build the roster like if given the reigns.