2014-15 NHL Atlantic Division preview: The Buffalo Sabres will count on three veterans to help their talented kids develop, but a playoff appearance is still years away.
2013-14 RECORD: 21-51-10, 52 points (eighth in Atlantic; worst record in NHL)
VITAL SIGNS: 1.91 goals-for per game (30th; 3.02 goals-against per game (25th); 14.06 power play pct. (29th), 81.4 penalty kill pct. (20th); shootout record: 7-5 (12th)
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
Matt Moulson — Zemgus Girgensons — Brian Gionta
Marcus Foligno — Cody Hodgson — Chris Stewart
Tyler Ennis — Sam Reinhart — Drew Stafford
Nicholas Deslauriers — Mikhail Grigorenko — Cody McCormick
The Sabres would love a do-over of their botched development of this talented center, but it's not too late for Grigorenko. Now bigger and stronger—he's up to 219 pounds after a summer dedicated to building muscle mass—and focused on playing as hard without the puck as he does with it, the former first rounder is on the verge of becoming an impact player for Buffalo. The natural center has been used as a wing alongside Cody Hodgson during the preseason, which would allow him to play important offensive minutes with lesser defensive responsibilities. There are no guarantees that he stays on that line, or even sticks with the club out of camp, but he finally seems to be on the right path.
PREDICTION: 62 points, eighth in Atlantic