Cleat Geeks

NHL’s Weekly Withdrawal Roundup: Sabres, Flames, Hurricanes 2015-16 Season Projections

Week 3 of Cleat Geeks “NHL’s Weekly Withdrawal Roundup” continues with the next three teams up for review. As you can already tell, we take aim at the Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, and Carolina Hurricanes. While two of these teams took effective management approaches toward changes in the right direction, the other still looks to have a long way to go before being competitive. Let us get started.








2014-2015 Overall Record: 23-51-8 (54 Points) 16th in the Eastern Conference

***Did Not Make NHL Playoffs***

Buffalo Sabres Team Leaders

Buffalo Sabres: 2014-2015 Team Leaders

Notable Offseason Losses:

D Andre Benoit (New Team: St. Louis Blues)

G Matt Hackett (New Team: Anaheim Ducks)

F Zac Dalpe (New Team: Minnesota Wild)

F Cody Hodgson (New Team: Nashville Predators)

G Anders Lindback (New Team: Arizona Coyotes)

Notable Offseason Acquisitions:

C Jack Eichel (Drafted 2nd Overall)

F Carlo Colaiacovo (Former Team: Philadelphia Flyers)

F Jason Akeson (Former Team: Philadelphia Flyers)

Main Team Stats Breakdown:

GFA (Goals For Average): 1.84 (NHL Ranking: 30th)

GAA (Goals Against Average): 3.23 (NHL Ranking: 29th)

SV% (Save Percentage): .908 (NHL Ranking: 22nd)

Buffalo is a team that will be improved, but not enough to get excited about. The future seems to be up in the air for the next few years, which will ultimately determine whether or not they’re heading in the right direction. Young talent isn’t always proven effective, regardless of how much is acquired throughout the years. Just look toward Edmonton, as they are a perfect example of this. Tim Murray did do some little things right this offseason though, so there’s not too much to be alarmed about (unless your last name’s Sweeney). The obvious choice was attaining Eichel in the draft, but he then followed up with another smart move in ridding themselves of Cody Hodgson (who may also benefit as well). Look for a little more scoring to come from Buffalo from the stick of Jack Eichel. I do project Buffalo to still be in the bottom five in scoring by next years end, but I don’t think they’ll finish last again. I do however have them finishing last in the Atlantic overall.

2015-2016 Season Projection: 8th in the Atlantic








2014-2015 Overall Record: 45-30-7 (97 Points) 8th in the Western Conference

***Lost in Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5***


Calgary Flames: 2014-2015 Team Leaders

Notable Offseason Losses:

D Raphael Diaz (New Team: New York Rangers)

D John Ramage (New Team: Columbus Blue Jackets)

F Brian McGrattan (New Team: Anaheim Ducks)

Notable Offseason Acquisitions:

D Dougie Hamilton (Former Team: Boston Bruins)

F Michael Frolik (Former Team: Winnipeg Jets)

Main Team Stats Breakdown:

GFA (Goals For Average): 2.85 (NHL Ranking: 6th)

GAA (Goals Against Average): 2.56 (NHL Ranking: 17th)

SV% (Save Percentage): .911 (NHL Ranking: 15th)

The Calgary Flames were one of the most fun teams to watch last season. Not only did they continue to prove everyone wrong in every way, but the fire power they brought with them made for a very eventful year. Along with this, if there was one team last season that could have gotten an award for perseverance, this was definitely the team. Looking toward next year and what the Flames did this offseason, it would be hard to speculate anything other than projecting this team to get even better. Captain Mark Giordano will be back to full health next season and it is very doubtful that Johnny Gaudreau will have a sophomore slump. The acquisitions of Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik will also look to continue the momentum upward. Not only can one expect a more potent offense, but the Flames now have cumulatively some of the best defensive pairings in the league. Look for another Playoff season from the Flames. Next year won’t be nearly the surprise this team was last year.

2015-2016 Season Projection: 2nd in the Pacific








2014-2015 Overall Record: 30-41-11 (71 Points) 14th in the Eastern Conference

***Did Not Make NHL Playoffs***


Carolina Hurricanes: 2014-2015 Team Leaders

Notable Offseason Losses:

F Alexander Semin (New Team: Montreal Canadians)

G Anton Khudobin (New Team: Anaheim Ducks)

F Ben Holmstrom (New Team: New York Islanders)

Notable Offseason Acquisitions:

G Eddie Lack (Former Team: Vancouver Canucks)

Main Team Stats Breakdown:

GFA (Goals For Average): 2.20 (NHL Ranking: 27th)

GAA (Goals Against Average): 2.63 (NHL Ranking: 18th)

SV% (Save Percentage): .902 (NHL Ranking: 27th)

The Carolina Hurricanes are another team at the bottom, and as the Canes continue what has been a long rebuild (6 season Playoff drought), don’t expect to see a turn around by next season. There were however two upsides this offseason in North Carolina. The first was parting ways with Alexander Semin, his horrible play, and huge contract. The second was acquiring Eddie Lack from Vancouver and sending Anton Khudobin to Anaheim. There’s no reason to think Lack won’t be Carolina’s number one, while Cam Ward moves down into the backup role.

Look for Eric Staal’s name to come up in trade talks before the upcoming season’s trade deadline, as they’ll look to use him as leverage toward younger talent and possible draft picks. If Ron Francis can stay true to making smart moves and signing reasonable contracts while Carolina’s farm system continues to grow, the Canes could start competing at a much higher level within the next 2 to 4 years. As stated at the beginning of this projection; if one is expecting an uptick next year anymore than not finishing at the very bottom of the Metropolitan, I feel they’ll be sadly disappointed.

2015-2016 Season Projection: 7th in the Metropolitan

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