For once, Sabre fans have plenty to get excited about. With new owner Terry Pegula's committment to winning at all costs, he's made it clear what the organization's goal is. Bring Lord Stanley to Buffalo. With our resident Sabre lurker hiding out in the woods literally, you just know he's plenty pumped for the upcoming season. Especially with Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino added to a roster that boasts Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Ryan Miller, Tyler Myers and hopefully a healthy Jason Pominville.
Indeed, there's plenty to like about Darcy Regier's club that also features young guns Tyler Ennis, Nathan Gerbe and Marc-Andre Gragnani. Now, you can throw in real backup Jhonas Enroth, who re-upped with the club last week for two years at a friendly cap hit ($675 K).
The 23-year old from Stockholm was instrumental in getting the Sabres to a second straight postseason, filling in for Miller down the stretch. Amazingly, a player with only one NHL game prior to '10-11 won four critical games over the final week-plus to help his team make the cut. If you include two other wins in March, six of his nine victories came over the last five weeks. No small task for the former '06 first rounder who supplanted recently retired Patrick Lalime as Buffalo's backup. Cue an odd celebration somewhere in Long Beach. :P
For the season, Enroth went 9-2-2 with a 2.73 goals against average (GAA) with a .907 save percentage along with a 1-0 shutout of the Rangers in a pivotal match that nearly cost us. Thankfully, it didn't. For a guy who was basically new to the pressure, the Swede showed tremendous poise between the pipes, making some wonder if he couldn't be a No.1 elsewhere. Luckily for Western New York, they have what looks to be a steady backup for the first time in years, which should allow Lindy Ruff to feel more comfortable giving Miller a night off. That could be crucial if the Sabres are finally able to take that next GIANT step as a franchise.