BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Sabres have one goal in mind for the 2016-2017 season, and for the first time in a while, it’s not a hope but instead an expectation.
“Our mindset is playoffs,” says a healthy Tyler Ennis, back with the team after recovering from multiple concussions last season.
Head coach Dan Bylsma was quoted in the offseason saying the Sabres’ new goal would be 95 points, fourteen more than they earned this past year.
“Things have changed,” says Josh Gorges. “You look at the quality of guys we’ve brought in, they really help in areas of need.”
The Sabres traded for defenseman Dmitriy Kulikov and signed free-agent forward Kyle Okposo during the offseason. For Okposo, it’s a chance to take another young team deep into the postseason.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I think we can get there faster than I did with the Islanders.”
While Kulikov, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly are away at the World Cup of Hockey, the remaining Sabres showed off new physiques, from a stronger Sam Reinhart to a much slimmer Robin Lehner, who has lost almost forty-pounds working out all Summer.
“I know I am a good goaltender,” Lehner said, after missing a good portion of last season with an ankle injury. “I don’t have to prove anyone right or wrong. Those close to me, they know.”
The Sabres hit the ice at HarborCenter Friday morning at 9:00am, where they will skate until the early afternoon all weekend. Practices are open to the public.