For years Ryan Miller was the unquestioned face of the Buffalo Sabres. You can go into any NHL city and the first player a fan would connect to the Sabres would be Miller. However, when Miller was traded to the St. Louis Blues at the trade deadline last season the Sabres have been in need of a new face. You could argue that the Sabres may get their franchise player in next seasons draft if they’re lucky enough to draft either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. Do the
Sabres currently have a face of the franchise currently on their roster?
When you scan the Sabres roster, only a few veteran players could possibly fit this role. The first player may be former first round pick in forward Tyler Ennis.
Ennis may arguably be the Sabres best player right now and recently signed a six year extension. Ennis is the top line winger along with Matt Moulson and leads the Sabres in points. The 25 year old Canadian is starting to grow in his new role as one of the leaders and top forwards. Ennis is one of the few
current Sabres who are signed to a long term contract and is part of the Sabres long term plan.
Another former first round pick who may fit the mold is big defenseman Tyler Myers. When Myers broke into the NHL he seemed liked a sure fit as the Sabres franchise player for many years. Since winning the Calder trophy Myers has struggled to live up to his rookie year. With trade talks surrounding Myers and his future in a Sabres uniform in doubt, he may not be the ideal candidate for the face of the franchise. At the end of the Myers may be the most recognized player on the Sabres roster around the league.
The Sabres are a rebuilding club and it may make the most sense for a young player to be the Sabres franchise player. The most obvious player is center Zemgus Girgensons. The 20 year old Latvian is now the first line center of the Sabres and thriving in his second NHL season. I’ve said numerous time that I think Girgensons is the future captain of the Sabres for the foreseeable futre. Of all the players mentioned so far I think that Girgensons makes the most sense for this role. The 6’1 center is not known league wide as great player, but it might not be long before the entire league knows of his name.
Another player emerging into the spotlight is 20 year old defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. The Finish blue liner is playing top minutes for the Sabres in only his second NHL season. The former first round pick has brought stability to the Sabres defense. It may still be too soon for Risto to be regarded as the face of the Sabres, but it may be a role he soon falls into.
At the end of the day the Sabres may not have a face of the franchise on their roster currently. That player may come in next years draft. If you had to pick a current Sabres player as the face of the franchise, who would you pick?