When you are in a division with the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and last year’s Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers, it is hard to make a dent.
With that said, there is no doubt that the Buffalo Sabres are doing everything they can to make a name for themselves in the Atlantic Division this season. The team is currently (Sunday, January 1) fifth in the division with 38 points on an 18-14-2 record.
While the Sabres are six points out of a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, there has been a lot to like about this hockey club this season. For starters, forward Tage Thompson has taken an enormous step after having 68 points last season.
Thompson, 25, leads the team in scoring with 51 points on 27 goals and 24 assists. He also leads the club in power play goals (12), power play points (22), and shots on goal (151).
After signing a seven-year, $50 million contract late in the offseason, many people wondered if Thompson would live up to the contract. Well, it is safe to say that he has rewarded the Sabres’ brass by being the team’s best and most consistent player this season.
The team’s offense as a whole has been excellent this team. The club is third in the league in goals scored, with 136 goals in 34 games, good for an average of four goals per game.
Thompson has not been the only Sabre that has been producing this season. Players like Alex Tuch (17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points), Jeff Skinner (17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points), and Dylan Cozens (12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points) have also stepped up offensively this season.
Another bright spot for the team this season has been the play of 22-year-old defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. Dahlin, the first overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry draft, has 38 points on ten goals and 28 assists while also showing more physicality this season.
If there is one area that the Sabres need to improve, it is their defensive play. The Sabres are 25th in the league, giving up an average of 33 shots per game.
The Sabres may not make the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, but they are showing both signs of improvement and the potential of what they can be in the future.