Who Will Lead the 2015-16 Buffalo Sabres in Scoring?

The 2015-16 NHL season is quickly approaching- and for Sabres fans, October 8th cannot get here fast enough. After two years in the NHL basement, the Sabres finally have a group worth cheering for. The team went through a complete roster makeover this summer and there is a buzz around this team and city. It is a great time to be a Sabres fan as the next era of Sabres’ hockey begins.

Today I want to evaluate the question of who will lead the Sabres in scoring for the 2015-16 NHL Season?

The Candidates:

Tyler Ennis: Ennis led the last-place Sabres in scoring last year with 20 goals and 26 assists totaling 46 points. While 46 points is nothing to brag home about, Ennis is poised for a breakout upcoming season in Buffalo. As Ennis enters his prime, fans will see what he is capable of while playing on a competitive team with a bona fide NHL center. Expect Ennis to skate on Ryan O’Reilly’s wing as the two had great chemistry in this year’s World Championships.

My prediction: Ennis shatters his career highs as he comes close to 30 goals and 40 assists, falling just short of 70 points.

Jack Eichel: Eichel comes in as the savior of the franchise and the reason for all the hype behind the new era of Sabres’ hockey. But with that being said, Eichel is still just a teenager and it would be unfair to expect Hart Trophy numbers from him immediately. It will be a pleasure for fans to watch Eichel grow and develop this year and beyond- This year will include ups and downs, but there is no doubt he will electrify the fanbase in his rookie season.

My prediction: Eichel gets better and better as the season goes on and earns his way to 60 points while capturing the Calder Trophy over Connor McDavid.

Ryan O’Reilly: Perhaps the most win-now orientated move of the off-season was acquiring Ryan O’Reilly from the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, O’Reilly got himself into trouble this summer but appears to genuinely be sorry that he let down the organization and fans. I expect Ryan to learn from his mistake and bounce back with a motivated 2015-16 campaign.

 Ryan O'Reilly (left with trophy) and Tyler Ennis became good friends as teammates on Team Canada's World Championship Gold Medal roster this spring.  via Jonathan Nackstrand/Getty Images/AFP

Ryan O'Reilly (left with trophy) and Tyler Ennis became good friends as teammates on Team Canada's World Championship Gold Medal roster this spring. via Jonathan Nackstrand/Getty Images/AFP

As O’Reilly enters his prime, he will be a cornerstone of the Sabres’ franchise. Look for O’Reilly to skate as the team’s number one center and put up a career high in points.

My prediction: O’Reilly nets 25 goals and adds over 50 assists as the team’s number one center getting plenty of ice time with Tyler Ennis and Evander Kane. (Note: This is assuming he faces no disciplinary action from the NHL or Buffalo Sabres)

Matt Moulson: Moulson looks to bounce back after a subpar 2014-15 season by his standards. On a re-energized Sabres’ team this should not be an issue. Moulson and his family will have a new roommate this season in Jack Eichel, and I expect this relationship will carry onto the ice. Look for Moulson to skate on Eichel’s wing and fulfill his role as a goal scorer on this team.

My prediction: Moulson will finish the year with around 50 points while netting 25 goals.

Evander Kane: The flashy forward will finally skate for the Buffalo Sabres this season after being acquired back in February. Kane appears to be more motivated than ever with the way things ended for him in Winnipeg. Kane is a powerful skater and a talented playmaker. But make no mistake, Kane is a natural goal scorer and that will be his role in Buffalo this upcoming season and hopefully for a long time.

My prediction: Kane, while playing first line wing with Ryan O’Reilly and Tyler Ennis, reaches the 30 goal mark for the second time in his career. I expect Kane to finish upwards of 35 goals and 30 assists, finishing the year close to 65 points.

Zemgus Girgensons: The Latvian Locomotive looks to continue his growth and development with a breakout season in 2015-16 after finishing last year with 30 points in 61 games. Girgensons possibly could move to wing and play on a line with Jack Eichel and Matt Moulson this year, a move I believe will benefit him. Regardless, it is impossible not to love Girgensons’ game and think he will only get better.

My prediction: Girgensons continues to develop as a core piece of the franchise and posts a balanced 55 points this season.   

Based off of my predictions, I have Ryan O’Reilly as the Sabres leading scorer in 2015-16. What do you think? Please vote below!


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