Detroit Red Wings: Predicting how the Atlantic Division will Shape Up

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 07: Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin (71) is congratulated by his teammates on the bench after scoring a goal during the third period of a regular season NHL hockey game between the New York Islanders and the Detroit Red Wings on April 7, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. New York defeated Detroit 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 07: Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin (71) is congratulated by his teammates on the bench after scoring a goal during the third period of a regular season NHL hockey game between the New York Islanders and the Detroit Red Wings on April 7, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. New York defeated Detroit 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Sabres
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jack Eichel /

The Buffalo Sabres: 5th

Jack Eichel seems to be coming into his own.  The Sabres are still a long way from being contenders or even playing as a top third team in the Atlantic Division.  The Sabres are on the right path though.

Key Players;

The Sabres acquired Jeff Skinner from the Carolina Hurricanes.  Skinner is expected to play with Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo as the Buffalo Sabres top line.  That’s an excellent top NHL line, but it starts to get thin up front after that.

The second line is set to feature the 8th overall pick from 2017 Casey Mittelstadt.  Veterans Jason Pominville and Vladimir Sobotka are expected to flank the young center.  That second line is anything but a force.

The Sabres also added former St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund to be their third line depth center.

Marco Scandella and Zach Bogosian provide stability and a veteran presence to a youthful back-end.

Buffalo upgraded in-goal adding Carter Hutton over the summer to replace Robin Lehner.  Hutton the goaltender I wished Ken Holland targeted rather than Jonathan Bernier.  Hutton joins Linus Ullmark as the battery in-goal for the Sabres.

Future Stars;

Jack Eichel has the potential to settle in as a top center for the Buffalo Sabres.  The Sky is still the limit for 22-year-old Jack Eichel.  Eichel recorded 25 goals and 64 points last year for the limping Sabres.  The Sabres acquired Skinner to play along with Eichel on the top line.  Eichel doesn’t have to do it all himself anymore.  Skinner himself recorded 24 goals for the Cans’ last season and netted 49 points.

Rasmus Dahlin; the first overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Level Draft is set to make an immediate impact for the Buffalo Sabres.  Dahlin joins Rasmus Ristolainen who is a dynamic talent in his own right.

They are both gifted offensively and have an opportunity to log big-time minutes for the Buffalo Sabres this season.

Sam Reinhart is a forward to watch.  Reinhart is a breakout candidate for the Sabres.  Reinhard was drafted second overall in 2014 has taken some time to live up to the hype.  Nearly 23 years old and starting to look like he’s figuring it out.

The Ugly;

The bottom six forwards for the Buffalo Sabres are a little bleak. Question marks with Evan Rodriques, Johan Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons.  If one of two of these forwards hit, along with Reinhart, the Buffalo Sabres could surprise some people.

The defensive group will be dynamic for a long time, but the third pair is a little “ugly.”  Jake McCabe and Nathan Beaulieu are nothing to write home about.