Shootout host Kevin Sylvester is a veteran journalist in radio, television and print media. From time to time, Sylvester will be taking time out of his busy schedule to post entries in his blog or answer fans submitted questions.
I bet the Sabres surprised many of you twice on Wednesday night.
First, that they came back from a three-goal deficit to defeat Tampa Bay by the same margin, and secondly, that the Sabres are the highest scoring team in the NHL.
That’s right. Following the 7-4 win over the Lighting, the Sabres moved atop the league in scoring. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment for a team that was supposedly decimated last summer and at this year’s trade deadline.
It’s actually not that amazing. It’s a testament to good coaching, scouting, and development. The team has great young talent that is performing now.
A closer look at Buffalo’s 234 goals compared to the other four teams in the top five in the league will support the previous statement.
I broke down the top five scoring teams by average age per team and then four age brackets and the total numbers of goals scored within that group.
Here’s what it looks like:
The Sabres are the youngest team in the top 10, and actually the top 15, even younger than Chicago. Two categories really stand out, goals by players 30 or older and goals by players 25 and under. Just 34 goals by players over the age of the 30 and most of them belong to Jochen Hecht (21) and Jaroslav Spacek (9). Lydman and Pratt have the other 4.
In contrast, take a look at the same column for Carolina (115) and Montreal (81).
Speaking of Montreal, that’s the only team in the same area code as Buffalo when it comes to scoring by players age 25 and under. The Sabres have amassed 134 goals in that age category. Vanek (31) , Roy (29), Pominville (26), Paille (18), and Stafford (15) lead the charge.
Steve Bernier fits in this category, but just a pair of his 15 counted towards this total. Clarke MacArthur’s eight scores do count, even though he’s in Rochester right now, and Kaleta’s three were significant.
First, this team is very talented and will be for years to come. There are several hockey analysts and scouts around the league that would tell you that without even looking at the numbers.
Personally, I’m tired of hearing and reading about the bright futures of Chicago and Washington with nothing said about the Sabres.
Isn’t the Sabres future brighter?
The Blackhawks and Capitals aren’t in the top five in scoring and both are older than the Sabres.
The other thing it tells me is that management has spent well.
Don’t get me wrong, I would have liked to see Chris Drury accept Buffalo’s offer and the same with Brian Campbell. But the money the Sabres have spent on Vanek and Roy, and will commit on Pominville, Paille, Stafford, and Bernier, will be a wise investment. Name me a team in the NHL that wouldn’t be first in line to have those names on their roster for a future foundation.
And when you consider the playoff experience, you start thinking really big.
The final thing to consider, at the time this was written, the Sabres sit one point out of the playoffs with eight games remaining. I’m not predicting anything, and certainly don’t know what’s going to happen, but you have to like the chances of the leagues highest scoring team.
To see more posts on Sylvester's blog, visit its index page.