Matt Moulson and offseason acquisition Josh Gorges will wear the “A”s this year. These are excellent selections for the team’s new core group of leaders.
Although every player is a leader in their own way, these three guys have loads of experience and will be able to teach the younger players like Cody Hodgson and Sam Reinhart how to react in high pressure situations.
They’ll teach them how to keep their composure when getting criticized by the media or coaching staff. More importantly, these guys will be able to give the team a morale boost after a big loss. This position is nothing new to Gionta who was the Montreal Canadiens captain for several years.
There is no doubt in my mind that these three guys will bring this team success this year. Gionta and Gorges have been teammates for five years so it won’t take them very long to build chemistry between each other and the other players.
Moulson had a short spell with this team already so he’ll be able to adjust quickly.
Gionta is now the oldest player on this Sabres roster heading into the season. Therefore, he’ll likely have to assume the role of playmaker. This Sabres roster has a solid foundation of young players eager to impress this year.
This could propel them to success or lead them to utter disaster. Guys like Hodgson, Ennis and Moulson will be expected to accumulate points consistently if this team has any hope of finishing in the top eight of the Eastern Conference standings. Hopefully Gionta returning home will give him and the fans a big boost at the start of the year.
Defensemen Josh Gorges and Andrei Meszarous will be the team’s defensive anchors. If Gorges can avoid injuries and shoots the puck more, he could easily accumulate 30 points or more this season. Gorges and Meszarous will no doubt be considered for the number one defensive line, powerplay and penalty kill units. Therefore, that extra ice time will allow Gorges to get used to shooting the puck more.
This team is still some distance away from challenging teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins or Boston Bruins for a playoff spot. However, they are moving in the right direction. If rookie sensation Sam Reinhart has a breakout year this season, there is no telling where this team could end up in a couple of years.