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Previewing the East: Buffalo

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – Ready for some hockey?

Sure you are.

The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Buffalo Sabres:

Coach: Ted Nolan

Last Year: 21-51-10, 52 points (16th in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Sabres:
5-on-5 Goals:
99 (16th in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency:
36-for-256, 14.1 percent (15th in Eastern Conference)

2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
Matt Moulson* LW 30 80 75 23 28 51 1 0 0 0
Cody Hodgson C 24 117 72 20 24 44 4 1 2 3
Tyler Ennis C 24 125 80 21 22 43 4 0 0 0
Drew Stafford RW 28 202 70 16 18 34 2 0 1 1
Christian Ehrhoff D 32 217 79 6 27 33 4 0 0 0
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Ryan Miller 34 18 59 25 30 4 2.64 .918
vs. Red Wings
3 0 3 0 2.37 .921

2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Nov. 2 (at BUF); Dec. 23 (at DET); Jan. 13 (at BUF); Jan. 18 (at DET).

ARRIVALS:  Forward Matt Moulson, Brian Gionta, Cody McCormick, Zac Dalpe and Jordan Samuels-Thomas, and defensemen Josh Gorges, Andrej Meszaros, Tyson Strachan and Andre Benoit.

DEPARTURES:  Forwards Cory Conacher, Kevin Porter, Zenon Konopka, John Scott and Matt D’Agostini; and defensemen Christian Ehrhoff, Henrik Tallinder, Jamie McBain and Alexander Sulzer.

PLAYER TO WATCH: A quality scoring forward, Matt Moulson was traded – along with forward Cody McCormick – to the Minnesota Wild at the NHL trade deadline. Both have returned to Buffalo. Moulson signed a five-year, $25 million contract to return to a team that is far from contending for an Atlantic Division title but the 30-year-old forward could help the Sabres move away from the bottom of the standings if he can become a 30-goal scorer like he was three seasons ago.

SEASON SCOPE: The Sabres were quite busy on the first day of free agency, but they had to spend money just to reach the league’s $51 million salary cap floor. Buffalo acquired five players, including four UFAs – forwards Matt Moulson (Minnesota), Brian Gionta (Montreal), Cody McCormick (Minnesota) and defenseman Andrej Meszaros (Boston), along with defenseman Josh Gorges, whom they picked up from the Canadiens in a trade for a second-round draft pick in 2016. They also re-signed forward Marcus Foligno.

The signings should make the Sabres more competitive in the upcoming season. But more importantly, the addition of veteran leaders like Moulson, Gionta and Gorges should help with the development of younger Sabres players, most notably this year's second overall draft pick Sam Reinhart, as he transitions from juniors to the NHL.

Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)

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