The playoffs are in full gear in most of the hockey world, and will soon be revving up in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. For fans of the Buffalo Sabres, however, this is a bittersweet time of year due to their favorites once again missing out on the playoff excitement. But the teams’ play of late has been somewhat encouraging, which at least creates hope for next season.
Some of Buffalo’s prospects still are competing, however, and there is a chance that the farm team in Rochester could sneak into the AHL postseason with a season-ending surge. So this is by no means the final update of the prospects’ statistics, but rather a look at what Buffalo’s prospects have accomplished since the last update.
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. An asterisk [*] next to a team name indicates playoff statistics. Statistics are from games played through March 31st, 2003.
When discussions arise regarding college hockey programs in the Boston area, inevitably the two teams discussed are long-time rivals Boston College and Boston University. Both teams have rich hockey traditions dating back many years, with both programs having graduated several players to the NHL.
Often forgotten in these discussions is the hockey program at Northeastern University, a private school also located in Beantown, but a school with a much less storied hockey history than that of either BC or BU. Northeastern plays in the NCAA’s Hockey East Conference with their Boston-based rivals. But, unlike the more established programs of those other two schools, the Huskies are still in the process of building a program that will be competitive enough to recruit some of the better young talent coming out of high school.
This isn’t to say that Northeastern hasn’t graduated players to NHL duty, however. Two names of former Huskies that should be recognizable to most fans of the NHL are defensemen Dan McGillis of the Boston Bruins, and Jim Fahey of the San Jose Sharks. And, with the recent acquisition of Dallas prospect Mike Ryan, the Buffalo Sabres are hoping that they can train another Huskie for NHL duty.
Mike was acquired by the Sabres prior to the March 11th NHL trade deadline in the deal that sent Stu Barnes to the Stanley Cup-contending Dallas Stars. The Milton, MA native was originally a second round pick for Dallas in the 1999 NHL Draft, with Ryan having been considered one of the better prospects in the Stars’ s Read more»
The chill winds of February being experienced in the Western New York area seem to have blown right on down throughout the Buffalo Sabres’ organization. The big club is struggling with injuries and losses, as is the farm club in Rochester. There are a couple of prospects in the junior ranks that have played well of late, but, for the most part, few Buffalo draftees are currently setting the hockey world on fire.
Against that backdrop, then, comes the latest statistical rundown for the Sabres’ prospects. 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 February 16th, 2003.
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»