This week the Sabres will commence arguably the most anticipated season since 2011. Over the past few years, fans have been subjected to poor hockey and a team moving on from their former stars. Fans have been patient and willing to accept the losing to get to the point we’re at now. The Sabres have a completely rebuilt roster and filled it with a bounty of young exciting talent. It’s finally time to start thinking about winning again and enjoying the sport the city loves.
Through all of the suffering, fans finally have their super star center in Jack Eichel. The 18-year-old is the prize that Sabres fans have dreamt about over the past 3 years. He’ll make his debut in blue and gold this week in front of what will be a raucous crowd in Buffalo. The 2nd overall pick is the new face of the franchise and is expected to compete with other super star forward Connor McDavid for the Calder Trophy this season. Eichel is the main reason fans have such high hopes for the club not only this season, but moving into the future.
The Boston native has already shown early signs of his talent in rookie development and training camp. Eichel has excelled playing with Ennis, Kane and Moulson in the preseason. He’s showed off his play-making ability and strong skating that makes him so dangerous. This is the first time since perhaps Gilbert Perrault, that the Sabres will have super star talent in the lineup on a nightly basis.
The days of Sabres fans at odds with each other over the “tank” are behind us now. Starting this season it’s all about winning and looking to be a playoff team. The addition of O’Reilly and Kane making his Sabres debut, increased the excitement around the
team. All summer fans have been waiting in anticipation to see the new and improved roster on the ice. The First Niagara Center used to be a difficult place to play for opponents, but over the past few years its sounded more like a library than a hockey arena. I expect that to change starting as soon as this weekend.
Hockey fans in Buffalo are completely behind the organization and ready for the next stage of the rebuild. It’s not only about this season, but it’s about the future of the organization. The Sabres may not be a playoff team this season, but in another season or two they can be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
The young talent on the roster can give the fans hope of sustainability moving forward. The Sabres now have their star player. They have the talent built around him. They appear to have the coach that is capable of leading this organization to it’s first ever Stanley Cup Championship. All fans need to do now is just buckle up and enjoy the ride. It’s a new era of Buffalo Sabres hockey.