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The Buffalo Sabres, currently 8th in the Atlantic Division with a record of 14-26-3 are down but certainly not out. At roughly the halfway point of the 2014-2015 season, Buffalo center Tyler Ennis and Coach Ted Nolan are confident that the team can still turn things around and make a run for the Cup this spring. Despite a seven game skid, the team's scoring woes and a porous defense that has given up a lead-leading 147 goals, the Sabres are not giving up on this season. Buffalo is only 17 points out of a wild-card berth in the playoffs. One analyst put it this way: "Look at the Los Angeles Kings last season. They were 8th out in the Western Conference and then tore through the competition on their way to their second Stanley Cup in three years. Never say never!" He continued by pointing out that the Sabres are not the worst team. "Look at Edmonton. They're in far worse shape. I mean, they only have ten wins? We've got 14!"
Some are talking up the possibility that Buffalo could be sellers as we approach the March 2nd trade deadline. However, Sabres brass are hinting that they may in fact be buyers as they prepare for a playoff push. They have put to rest any notion that they may ship out players like Chris Stewart. Instead, they are looking at acquiring a guy like Keith Yandle from Phoenix to bolster their blue line. They may only have to give up a few players, including Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson, and Drew Stafford, in addition to their first round draft picks for the next 5 years, but if they can make the money work, it's a deal that could make a huge difference. Both teams should have sufficient cap space to do make it happen, but in theory, Phoenix would be taking on a whole lot more salary. Yandle's cap hit is north of $5 million. The "Yotes would potentially absorb a net cap hit of $8 million unless Buffalo agreed to retain some of it. While Phoenix could afford it, it would make things tighter for them as they look to re-sign some of their other guys in the off-season. If such a deal went through, and Buffalo lost those three guys up front, it wouldn't be that huge of a loss because combined, they've only put up 22 goals. By himself, Yandle would already make up for about 25% of the goals lost from those three forwards. Besides, when you have a budding superstar like Latvian centerman and 2012 first-round draft pick Zemgus Girgensons, who leads the entire team with a robust 11 goals on the year,how can you be anything but confident going into the second half of the season? Sure, netminder Jhonas Enroth has come back down to Earth a bit after a bit of a hot streak, but give him time. He will find his groove again. His Goals Against Average is only 3.20. It's not good, but it's not terrible. Just look at a guy like Mike Smith of the Coyotes. His GAA is 3.46. He ranks 40th in the league. Enroth is much higher at 37th.
So don't despair Buffalo. This is your year!
Way Off The Post isn’t your typical hockey blog. Way Off The Post offers an irreverent take on the NHL and all things hockey. We will at times provide real news and analysis on what’s happening in hockey, but more importantly, we will have a little fun. We will also publish outrageously ridiculous and fake news articles and tongue-in-cheek “expert” analysis about the team, players, and the game in general. We aim to bring the lighter side to the game we love so much.
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