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(Page 8 of 15)'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

30 in 30: Sabres lineup has Miller, Vanek for now

Friday, 08.16.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

For the first time since 1997, the Buffalo Sabres will go to training camp without Lindy Ruff as coach.

The Sabres went into rebuilding mode after back-to-back disappointing seasons and traded captain Jason Pominville, Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr before the deadline in April. General manager Darcy Regier also traded Andrej Sekera to the Carolina Hurricanes for Jamie McBain and a second-round pick at the 2013 NHL Draft.

Two veterans who have not been traded are forward Thomas Vanek and goaltender Ryan Miller, and each is in the final year of his contract. Regier has been open about trading either or both if the right deal comes along.

Besides the trade for McBain, it was a quiet offseason in Buffalo. Regier added former Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder to provide some of the experience lost on the blue line. Forward Nathan Gerbe was bought out, and a couple of fringe NHL players moved on.

30 in 30: Sabres need Rolston to accelerate rebuild

Friday, 08.16.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Davis Harper - Staff Writer

It's a rebuilding year for the Buffalo Sabres now that the club has changed direction.

The gap between Buffalo and the competition, which widened in 2012-13, resulted in general manager Darcy Regier releasing two organizational pillars last season. Coach Lindy Ruff, who spent much of his 30-year career as a player and coach in Buffalo, was the first victim when he was fired Feb. 20 after a 6-10-1 start.

Captain Jason Pominville was next; the career Sabres forward was traded to the Minnesota Wild for prospects and draft picks at the NHL deadline. Defensemen Jordan Leopold (St. Louis Blues) and Robyn Regehr (Los Angeles Kings) also were traded for picks.

30 in 30: Sabres have several high-ceiling prospects

Friday, 08.16.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Davis Harper - Staff Writer

After the Buffalo Sabres' second consecutive season missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs, general manager Darcy Regier appears committed to rebuilding from the ground up.

First, Regier removed the interim tag from coach Ron Rolston, who ran the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) from 2004-11. Rolston bolstered his staff with Joe Sacco, an assistant with a successful record of prospect development.

Rolston and Sacco will be eager to work with a prospect pool brimming with talent at nearly every position, especially on the blue line. As a result of Regier's recent strategy of stockpiling draft picks, the Sabres have taken 20 players in the past two NHL drafts, top prospects Mikhail Grigorenko, Rasmus Ristolainen and Joel Armia among them.

Though their homegrown talent pool is as good as any in the League, the Sabres' list of prospects grew even stronger with the trade of Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild. In return, Buffalo received a pair of high-ceiling players, goalie Matt Hackett and Swedish scorer Johan Larsson.

30 in 30: Revival by Myers could be Sabres' X-factor

Friday, 08.16.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Davis Harper - Staff Writer

On the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, an "outstanding personal achievement" ranks among the most stressful events an adult can face.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers knows all about outstanding personal achievement and the stress that comes with it. In 2009-10, Myers became one of a select group of defensemen to win the Calder Trophy and his team won the Northeast Division. A rabid fan base deemed the 19-year-old the future of the franchise, and the organization responded in the summer of 2011 by signing him to a seven-year, $38.5 million deal.

Myers' star then fell as quickly as it rose.

30 in 30: Rolston, Leino among Sabres' questions

Friday, 08.16.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Davis Harper - Staff Writer

The Buffalo Sabres are rebuilding. That much is known. Everything else is uncertain.

The Sabres are the youngest team in the NHL. As of early August, the average age of the roster is 26.17. Tyler Myers and Cody Hodgson, each 23 years old, rank among the veterans.

Ron Rolston, who stood behind an NHL bench for the first time when he was promoted to interim coach last season, is being asked to lead Buffalo back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his first full season in charge.

Buffalo's on-ice leader for the better part of four seasons, captain Jason Pominville, was traded in April, and rumors of a similar outcome for goaltender Ryan Miller and right wing Thomas Vanek have swirled since the end of last season.

Here are six questions facing the Sabres entering 2013-14:

30 in 30: 'Underrated' Eriksson now Bruins' X-factor

Thursday, 08.15.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The idea of an underrated hockey player in the NHL almost always comes from either possessing a skill that can't always be quantified with traditional statistics or from playing in what could be classified as a non-traditional market.

Loui Eriksson has been a player who qualified in both of those categories for years, and subsequently his name has always popped up on "most underrated" lists or in discussions on the topic. One of those details about Eriksson is no more; after being traded from the Dallas Stars to the Boston Bruins, there won't be any more stories written about how he doesn't get the attention he deserves.

How well he can blend in and thrive with his new team will be a key part of determining if the Bruins are able to repeat as Eastern Conference champions and participate in the Stanley Cup Final for a third time in four seasons.

30 in 30: With a little retooling, Bruins set to go again

Thursday, 08.15.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The Boston Bruins did not build a Stanley Cup contender with what has essentially become the standard model over the past decade.

Unlike the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings (and what teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames hope to become), the Bruins did not procure a core of top-10 draft picks as a result of finishing at or near the bottom of the NHL standings. The Bruins did finish poorly enough to pick in the top 10 on merit twice in the past decade, and one of those selections (Phil Kessel) led to two more top-10 picks in a rather famous trade.

Instead, the Bruins have built one of the NHL's best rosters in a variety of ways. The two previous administrations before Peter Chiarelli arrived did an incredible job of landing premium talent beyond the first round in the draft.

30 in 30: Bruins lineup stocked with veteran talent

Thursday, 08.15.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The Boston Bruins were two wins shy of a second championship in three seasons and are positioned to make another run at the Stanley Cup in 2013-14.

There was some turnover this offseason: Five of the 18 skaters who appeared in at least 14 of the Bruins' 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games are no longer with the team. Nathan Horton, Jaromir Jagr and Andrew Ference signed elsewhere as free agents. Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley were traded to the Dallas Stars.

Jarome Iginla was signed to replace either Horton or Jagr, and Loui Eriksson, the prize in the Dallas deal, likely will replace the other. The Bruins will have a new-look third line, but the "Merlot Line" is back.

30 in 30: Iginla's ability among Bruins' questions

Thursday, 08.15.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The Boston Bruins have represented the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final twice in the past three seasons, and 13 of the 20 players who dressed for Game 7 in 2011 against the Vancouver Canucks remain on the roster.

That type of stability doesn't leave a lot of questions, but there was some turnover this offseason and a few issues the Bruins need to sort out if they intend on contending for the Cup again.

Here's a look at six questions for Boston as the 2013-14 season approaches:

30 in 30: Bruins have been able to restock prospects

Thursday, 08.15.2013 / 3:00 AM /'s 30 in 30 package: 2013-14

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The Boston Bruins are positioned to contend for the Stanley Cup into the foreseeable future, but general manager Peter Chiarelli also has done a fine job of continuing to collect young talent.

Chiarelli traded forward Tyler Seguin, the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft and a potential cornerstone player, this offseason, but there was future value in the return as well as the obvious present talent of forward Loui Eriksson.

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, the player drafted with a high pick acquired in the Phil Kessel trade, graduated to the big club last season. A couple of players at the top of this list could join him in Boston as early as the start of the 2013-14 NHL season.

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