By the time the 2002-03 regular season is completed, the Buffalo Sabres’ prospect listing is likely to look a bit different than it does at the midpoint. Some of the top prospects, such as goaltender Ryan Miller, defenseman Henrik Tallinder and right wing Ales Kotalik will have played in enough NHL games to move on to graduated status.
For now, though, the top 15 remains status quo, with some slight upward or downward movement amongst the prospects. The top 3 remains unchanged, with Miller, center Derek Roy and Tallinder more often than not showing why they are such highly regarded young players. Others, like Jiri Novotny and Jason Pominville of the Rochester Americans, have not on a regular basis displayed the talent that made them high draft picks.
This current crop of Sabres’ prospects possesses a fairly good mix of talent, with the main weaknesses being a lack of both quality defensive depth and first line offensive talent. There are some grinders, enforcers and defensive specialists that are needed on every NHL roster, and there are a couple players that could develop into offensive threats at the forward and defense positions. All told, while Buffalo may not have the best list of prospects in the NHL, they certainly have enough depth to be considered amongst the top 10 in that category.
As for this top 15 list, it is a snapshot in time, and is based largely on the performances of players in this current season. Other factors, such as draft position, age and future potential, have been taken into account, which makes this list m Read more»
For the players on the Rochester Americans’ roster, not to mention the fans of the team, the 2002-03 season has been akin to a ride on a Darien Lake rollercoaster, complete with dizzying drops, flat stretches, and giddy ascents. While the club’s record just past the halfway mark sits at a fairly unremarkable 14-16-9-3, the journey to reach that record has been anything but boring.
Leaving the gate with a lineup loaded with newly signed Buffalo Sabres’ prospects, the Amerks headed straight into a steep downward slope to start the 02-03 season. Rochester accomplished the unenviable feat of going 0-for-October, managing just two ties to go along with seven losses. A combination of a lack of scoring, due in part to the absence of center Chris Taylor, and the inexperience of several young players trying to acclimate themselves to the AHL were the main reasons for the Americans fall to the bottom of the league.
November saw Rochester continue their winless ways, as they started the month with two ties and a loss. But the ride was now leveling off, with the Amerks playing a more competitive brand of hockey. The improvement paid off on 11/8/02, with Rochester becoming the last professional hockey team to get their first win of the 2002-03 season. From this point, the rest of November was a series of slight rises and dips, as the team became more familiar with one another, and more confident in their abilities. The return of offensive sparkplug Taylor was certainly a big reason for the Amerks’ improvement, but the emergence of rookies Ryan Mi Read more»
Yes, the calendar has changed over to a New Year, but we’ll nevertheless look back at the month that was, statistically speaking, for the prospects of the Buffalo Sabres. The month of December was a good one for the Rochester Americans, as well as for three Sabres’ prospects selected to represent their respective countries in the 2003 World Junior Championships.
All prospects listed on the Sabres’ page are included in this table. All European players not designated with a number next to their country of origin (ex. CZE vs. CZE1) are playing in the top league in those countries, with the numbers next to the country abbreviation indicating participation in a lower league. Other abbreviations: NHL= National Hockey League, AHL= American Hockey League, OHL= Ontario Hockey League, QMJHL= Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, HE= Hockey East (NCAA), WCHA= Western Collegiate Hockey Association (NCAA), WJC= World Junior Championships. Statistics are from games played through January 2nd, 2003.
Throughout their 32-year history, the Buffalo Sabres have always had a knack for finding good, and sometimes great, goaltenders. While the current crop of youngsters (Martin Biron, Mika Noronen, and Ryan Miller) is experiencing some growing pains, the future for the Sabres at this position nevertheless should be secure.
Another youngster who could eventually have an impact on Buffalo’s goaltending rotation is the team’s fourth round pick from the 2002 Entry Draft, Marty Magers. After spending a couple of seasons with the Omaha Lancers (now called the River City Lancers) of the USHL, Marty moved over to the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack for the 2003-03 season. Marty has so far appeared in 26 games for the Attack, posting a 6-15-2 record while sporting a save percentage of .883 and a goals-against average of 4.05.
I had a chance to speak with Marty prior to a recent game, with the transcript of that conversation being posted below.
HF: Let’s start by talking about your season so far in Owen Sound. How have things gone for you, and what types of things do you need to improve on to move to the next level?
MM: I think I need to be more consistent. I started out average, then I started playing pretty well, and then lately I haven’t been playing my best hockey. So, I definitely have to be more consistent.
HF: What style of goaltender would you consider yourself to be? I know “butterfly” goaltenders seem to be the standard today.
MM: Yeah, definitely butterfly. There aren
The on-ice fortunes of the 2002-2003 Buffalo Sabres have been equally as dismal as the uncertain off-ice situation that currently surrounds the club. The team has sunk to the bottom of the NHL standings, due mostly to the uninspired play of many of the players on the roster. To make matters worse, there does not appear to be a player on the Buffalo roster that can provide the spark that is necessary to lift the team out of their funk.
While it may not come as much comfort to Sabres’ fans in these bleak times- who knows if the club will be here next season, after all – there are some future reinforcements in the team’s prospect pool that could bring some vigor to the currently moribund bunch that wears the red-and-black. Some of those prospects are currently showing their stuff with the red-hot Rochester Americans of the AHL, but the most promising offensive prospect might be center Derek Roy of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers.
Derek had a strong showing in Buffalo’s training camp and preseason, but was returned to Kitchener for further development. Rather than sulk over the missed opportunity of landing a spot on a NHL roster, Roy instead has been one of the top performers in the OHL so far this season. The Rockland, ON native is currently 7th in total points (25GP, 15G, 35A) in the OHL, while leading the Rangers in that category. Roy is also in the top ten in other league categories, including assists (4th), short-handed goals (9th), and plus/minus rating (6th).
Offense isn’t the onl Read more»