Free washer | The rebuilding of the Sabres…

Not only will the Canadiens still have to compete with top teams in the Atlantic section for the next few years, but Detroit, Ottawa and Buffalo have a few years ahead of Montreal in the rebuilding process. Which will succeed best? After the Red Wings and the Senators, it’s time for the Sabers today!

Posted at 11:50 a.m.

Mathias Brunet

Mathias Brunet
The Press

The Buffalo Sabers are not rebuilding, but re-rebuilding.

The three pillars of the first phase, Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen were all traded in the last year before blowing out their 27 candles.

These three players drafted in the top ten between 2013 and 2015 (2and in the case of Eichel and Reinhart) brought new Sabers general manager Kevyn Adams three first-round picks, two second-round picks and three players 25 and under: Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch and Quebec goaltender Devon Levi.

We can add the sum obtained for Ryan O’Reilly, then a young veteran tipped to lead the first phase of reconstruction to completion: Tage Thompson, a first-round pick in 2019 who became defenseman Ryan Johnson and a second-round pick in 2021 offered in Vegas to get defenseman Colin Miller.

Thompson, drafted late in the first round by the Blues in 2016, was timid in his first three seasons with the Sabers, but he’s exploded this year. The 6-foot-7, 24-year-old giant became the team’s first center and produced an impressive 64 points, including 36 goals, in 74 games. Last I heard, Johnson had yet to decide whether to sign with Buffalo or play a fourth and final season with the University of Minnesota Gophers.

To this considerable lot acquired for these four members of the previous wave, we must add six players drafted among the first eight in recent years, including two first in total: Alexander Nylander (8and in 2016), then traded for top-four defender Henri Jokiharju, Casey Mittelstadt (8and in 2017), Rasmus Dahlin (1er in 2018), Dylan Cozens (7and in 2018), Jack Quinn (8and in 2020) and Owen Power (1er in 2021).

Dahlin and Power are two quick and talented left-handed defensemen over 6-foot-3. They have a profile similar to that of Victor Hedman. Dahlin, 22, just scored 50 points for the first time in his career. Hedman took longer to unlock offensively in Tampa. Power, 19, is new to the Sabers after a 32-point, 33-game season at the University of Michigan and an Olympic appearance.

Buffalo found its first center in Thompson. Cozens, 21, also burly at 6-foot-3, is making slow but steady progress. He is close to 40 points. Mittelstadt, the 2018 World Junior Championship MVP, is starting to find his groove after struggling with injuries the past two years. He occupies the position of second center, in front of Cozens, between Krebs and Tuch.

The Sabers have several quality wingers, but Quinn may become the best. He dominates outrageously in the American League despite his 20 years with 57 points in 41 games. He should settle down in the NHL for good next year.

The future will also tell us if this batch of young wingers, Isak Rosen, Prokhor Poltapov, Alesandr Kisakov and John Peterka, all drafted among the first two rounds for two years, will become assets for the Sabres. Rosen is a 14and total choice obtained in the exchange of Ristolainen. Peterka has almost a point per game in the American League.

On top of all those young assets already in place, the Sabers are expected to draft top ten again this summer and they additionally hold the first-round picks of the Golden Knights and Panthers. Florida’s pick will be late in the round, but Vegas’ pick is currently at 16and rank. Buffalo also has two second-round picks in each of the 2023 and 2024 drafts.

Buffalo has been proving for ten years that it is not enough to fish among the first for a few years to be successful. We must also establish a winning culture and properly develop young people. And also don’t take shortcuts to win faster.

New CEO Kevyn Adams seems to be the first to convince his greedy owner Terry Pegula of the virtues of patience.

The Sabers are 11-6-2 since March 10 and could finally claim a playoff spot next year.

Participation in playoffs for 5 years: 0.

First-round pick for 5 years: 7.

Choice in the top five for the past 5 years: 2.

Choice in the top ten for 5 years: 5.

Picks in the first three rounds for the past 5 years: 17.

2022 draft rank before the lottery: 8and rank.

Center #1: Tage Thompson, 24.

Center #2 expected: Dylan Cozens, 21.

Winger #1 expected: Jack Quinn, 20 years old.

Winger #2 expected: Peyton Krebs, 21.

Defender #1: Rasmus Dahlin, 22.

Prospective defender #2: Owen Power, 19 years old.

Prospective goalkeeper: Devon Levi, 20 years old.

Montreal Canadiens

Participation in series for 5 years: 2.

First-round pick for 5 years: 5.

Picks in the top five for the past 5 years: 1.

Picks in the top ten for the past 5 years: 1.

Picks in the first three rounds for the past 5 years: 22.

2022 draft rank before the lottery: 2and rank.

Center noh 1: Nick Suzuki, 22 years old.

Center noh 2: Christian Dvorak, 26 years old.

winger noh 1: Cole Caufield, 21.

winger noh 2 expected: Joshua Roy, 18 years old.

defender noh 1 candidate: Kaiden Guhle, 20 years old.

defender noh 2: Alexander Romanov, 22 years old.

Expected goalkeeper: Cayden Primeau, 22 years old.

The Flyers at the heart of the lottery

The Flyers come to the Bell Center Thursday night at the heart of a streak as terrible as that of the Canadiens, with eight losses in regulation time in their last eight games. They even fell one place in the standings to find themselves 30and, one spot behind the Seattle Kraken. But with a six-point lead over the Canadiens and five games to go, Montreal shouldn’t join Philadelphia and will pick up the top four at worst.

The Flyers had high expectations this season and even traded first-round picks in 2021 and second-round picks in 2023 for Rasmus Ristolainen, and traded Nolan Patrick and Philippe Myers for Ryan Ellis. The youngsters traded for Ellis have not produced elsewhere, but Ellis, 31, is still injured, and his contract is still valid for five years at an average annual salary of $6.25 million.

Despite his questionable decisions, CH Chuck Fletcher can take comfort in the fact that his team will undoubtedly draft in the top five and that he has recovered a first-round pick in 2023 for Claude Giroux. As for the young player also acquired in the transaction, Owen Tippett, 23, he has not broken anything since his arrival in Philadelphia with four points in sixteen games.

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