angryjay93 Posted September 16, 2010 Report Share Posted September 16, 2010 (edited) Buffalo Sabres Team Overview: With a top 5 player at every position, it would seem like a given that Buffalo would be included in the best team in the game discussion. It is true that Buffalo is a very good team, but they aren't in the best team discussion due to the extreme weakness of their #2 Defenseman and what is an apparent lack of team chemistry and identity on both sides of the puck.Forwards: Blessed with the elite talent of Alexander Mogilny and a very solid complimentary player in Pat Lafontaine, the Sabres possess one of the more elite forward duos in the league. Aside from that, the Sabres own one of the most controversial players in the league and a plethora of various and somewhat useful role players who can fill in.Offensive Stampede: Hawerchuk-Mogilny-Lafontaine Dale Hawerchuk: 6 weight, 5/4 skating, 3/1 shot, 5 sth & pass, 4/4 aware, Shoots: L Here he is, one of the most controversial players in the entire game. First, let's go over Hawerchuk's strengths. He is an elite playmaker, this is because all of his playmaking puck skills and skating allow him to throw darts all over the ice to open teammates in scoring areas with great consistency. Aside from Wayne Gretzky, there may be no better pure playmaker. Defensively, Hawerchuk is very solid, he is mindful of his own end of the ice. He is light enough to abuse heavyweights with the body check, and has enough speed and ease of control with all that agility in which to apply the poke check with. Oh that bugaboo though, that painful shot rating. Among default starters, only Troy Loney, Wayne Gretzky, and Mikael Andersson have shooting ratings as bad or worse than Hawerchuk. This makes Hawerchuk pretty one dimensional on offense as he has been known to miss the yawning cage. This can easily infuriate some users and thus can find himself riding pine. Alexander Mogilny: 7 weight, 6/6 skating, 4/5shot, 5/5 sth & pass, 6/3 aware, Shoots: L After the holy trinity of Roenick, Yzerman, and Bure, we have Mogilny and Selanne rounding out the top 5 forwards in the league. Mogilny likely settles in at 4th as he is slightly more skilled in many attributes when compared to Selanne. Mogilny possess the lone perfect set of ratings in skating in the entire game. Despite being a little on the heavy side for a speedster, Mogilny still handles like a joy and can easily blow by many players and uses his powerful, accurate shot to take advantage of unsuspecting goalies. It's pretty easy to see what makes Mogilny so effective, but what keeps him out of the top 3 you ask? He's sort of one dimensional on offense, he isn't a consistent one timing threat because by the time the wingers lug the puck up the ice, he has already skated through the premium one timing areas and has to reset himself, thus delaying the offense. Secondly, Mogilny's weight can be a real issue against light weight teams as he can be knocked around fairly easily in comparison to other super stars. This is further complicated on defense as he is unable to body check anyone below a 9 weight with consistency, it isn't necessarily easy to harness all that speed and apply a swift poke check as it is to use all that speed in wrecking ball style. Despite all this though, Mogilny is a one-on -one offensive force that must be accounted for every time he steps on the ice. Pat Lafontaine: 5 weight, 5/4 skating, 3/4 shot, 5 sth & pass, 6/4 aware, Shoots: R There's no doubting Lafontaine is a very good player, light weight, a lot of very strong skills, it's hard to ask for much more. you just have to wonder if he's on the wrong team in which to utilize his skills. Lafontaine could be a pretty good center in which to use his deke ability, while he isn't blazing fast, he is more than able enough to wiggle free from a defense and make them pay. But, that's Mogilny's role because he's quite simply better at it. Lafontaine can also be an elite playmaker, he is much like Hawerchuk in that he possess all the elite skills in which to set up the most beautiful of plays. Here we go again though with Mogilny not being the best one timing center in the league and so who will Lafontaine set up? Hawerchuk, Errey, Audette? I think not. What to do with Lafontaine, well, when he has the puck, options are aplenty, he can bum rush it or he can try to set up the offense, it's just going to take a lot of patience and ability to read the play in order to decide which way to go. Defensively though, he is a stud, light weight, solid skater, he can really lay the lumber and he is especially good at pressuring the defense in their own zone. If only he were on a different team *sigh*. Even with the perceived chemistry problems, this line can score a ton of goals because the individual skills are just too elite not too. If all else fails, this line should be able to D up fairly effectively with all the skating and checking ability available. Note: Hawerchuk and Lafontaine are pretty interchangeable on the wings in this line.Fan Favorite: Lafontaine-Mogilny-Errey Bob Errey: 6 weight, 4/4 skating, 2/2 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 2/4 aware, Shoots: L Quite frankly, Bob Errey isn't very skilled, he's nothing more than a light weight with plus skating skills. Despite his limitations, Errey does seem to have a following and often finds himself employed on either wing. Just don't expect much more than a gritty performance because he isn't going to score or set up too many goals, he's mainly just out there to make the other teams life a living hell when they possess the puck. I don't care for this line much, but I point it out anyway because Errey will be subbed over Hawerchuk in many instances. By keeping Lafontaine on the left, it keeps the best PK line on the ice without needing substitution. It also keeps a good forehand pass to forehand slap shot one timer opportunity available when it presents itself and it even opens up the door for the sneaky Lafontaine slapper since the opponent likely won't be guarding against that considering the other offensive weapons available.Cold War No More: Khmylev-Mogilny-Lafontaine Yuri Khmylev: 7 weight, 4/3 skating, 4/4 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: R A low end sniper, Khmylev's presence allows for 3 pure goal scoring options on the ice. That's essentially the limitations of Khmylev's strengths. Everything else is pretty average and he doesn't exactly mesh well with the other two forwards on this line, but if he can squeeze out a couple goals a game, then it's not too bad of a line. A line with 3 shooters can always be pretty dangerous because it isn't easy to predict where the offense will come from. Also, with Khmylev on the left, he's got Svoboda to back him up on defense which limits his liabilities on that side of the puck. But this line loses a puck carrier, it really depends on what the user desires more.Other Options: Plenty of usable spares here. Donald Audette: 5 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/3 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R The main weight bugger on Buffalo, Audette brings average skills across the board to go with his checking, could be useful in a lightweight battle. Wayne Presley: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 4/3 shot, 2 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R Brings a similar slap/one timer package that Khmylev brings, outside of that though, he's very Errey like. Randy Wood: 8 weight, 1/5 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L A sucker for speed are you? Well, that's all Wood's got.Forward Rating: 9/10Defense: Anchored by stalwart defenseman Petr Svoboda the Sabers have one defenseman that can be counted on in every game. If a second can be found, then the team should be in pretty good shape. If a second can't be found, we can then say hello to the weak link of the team. Svoboda-Ledyard Petr Svoboda: 5 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/0 shot, 4 sth, 3 pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: L After Don Sweeney, Petr Svoboda falls nicely into place as the second best defensive defenseman in the league. Svoboda's mobility and checking ability really set him apart from most other defenders. There isn't a much better feeling then knowing that after a failed attempt on offense, Svoboda will be lying in wait looking to crush the oncoming counter attack. As for when Svoboda has the puck, he's a pretty solid option. He distributes the puck well enough, can easily create space for himself with his skating, and he can withstand some good body checks. Sure, his shot rating is garbage, but when a guy does everything else so well, it's hard not to fall in love with him. Grant Ledyard: 9 weight, 4/3 skating, 1/0 shot, 1 sth, 2 pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: L Ledyard for the most part, is the antithesis of what I look for in a D man. He is a poor passer, can't withstand pressure, and he has one of the most worthless shots in the game. But this is the state of the Sabres blue line. Ledyard is a plus skater and is one of the lighter options available, which makes him somewhat valuable. Hopefully his skating will allow him to apply the swift poke check and find the quick outlet pass. This may be the only defensive pairing I suggest where the combined shot accuracy is 0. Take that out of the equation though, and this should be at the very least a mobile duo that will be carried by the defensive abilities of Svoboda Svoboda-Smehlik Richard Smehlik: 10 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/1 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/ 4 aware, Shoots: L Just a ho-hum average defenseman, Smehlik isn't going to impress anybody with his play. The only real issue with Smehlik is his gargantuan weight, he simply doesn't have enough skills to make up for that deficiency. But he can still prove useful in comparison to the rest of the options because he can move the puck around fairly decently and he shouldn't get lost in his own zone too often. This pairing isn't necessarily any better or worse than the first, it just has a different set of strengths and weaknesses for the #2 d-man.Other options: Doug Bodger: 10 weight, 2/3 skating, 2/1 shot, 2 sth, 3 pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: L A watered down version of Smehlik, if an injury occurs, Bodger provides another similar option off the bench.Defense Rating: 7/10Goalie Zone: Rounding out the top 5 theme is Grant Fuhr. Fuhr finds himself cemented in the #3 goalie spot right behind Patrick Roy and Ed Belfour. Grant Fuhr: 7 weight, 5/4 skating, 5/5 aware, 5 puck control, 4/4/5/5 save, Catch: R Although a bit on the hefty side, Fuhr's agility more than makes up for that and allows him to be a great goalie in auto or manual mode. Often finding himself in the upper echelon of the goalie leader boards, Fuhr can really put on a show at times. Perhaps it's his unique right handed catching style that makes him difficult to score on? Dominik Hasek: 4 weight, 3/3 skating, 5/5 aware, 2 puck control, 2/2/2/2 save, Catch: L Dominik is only worth mentioning because he typically finds himself in the 22-26 goalie pick range which means he could be a starter in a 24 team draft league. He isn't very good and typically has poor stats, this likely attributed to his low save and high awareness ratings which artificially inflates his overall rating.Goalie Rating: 8.5/10Bottom Line: This team has all the potential in the world because of the talent of Mogilny, Lafontaine, Hawerchuk, Svoboda, and Fuhr. More often than not, users fail to get the most out of the lineup and ultimately fall short of the Cup. If anyone can put it together with this team though, they can finally be mentioned among the best teams of the game. Edited March 27, 2021 by angryjay93 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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