Sabres' O'Reilly is surprised by what's happened with Colorado
Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- The Colorado Avalanche are by far the worst team in the NHL. Colorado has 32 points which is 13 point behind Arizona and 26 points in back of Buffalo. Ryan O’Reilly played 427 games with Colorado before being traded to Buffalo and he said he didn’t see this slide coming, “It’s surprising. They have a lot of great players over there and maybe it’s a lot of bad bounces. I haven’t been watching them too much, but to see them that low in the standings it’s surprising and I think those years just happen.”
O’Reilly played two games against his old teammates last year and had three assists. It’s not the same as the first time, but O’Reilly still feels different against them, “It is a little weird. I have some good friends over there and being in that organization for a long time, it’s always a little different.”
Colorado still has some decent players, but has gotten only 53 games out of two players in the last three drafts. Dan Bylsma said, “This is a team that’s very, very scary and dangerous to me to look past and to look at where they are in the standings.”
“They have outstanding players in Matt Duchene, Landeskog, MacKinnon, these are very, very good players, dangerous players. They’re missing Johnson on the back end, but they have Barrie and Barrie’s another player who I think is extremely dangerous and it’s a team that you cannot overlook and think this is going to be anything other than a tough game against some good players.”
You have to go back to 2009 to see a decent draft from the Avalanche. That year they got Matt Duchene 3rd overall, O’Reilly 33rd overall, and Tyson Barrie in the 3rd round. In the seven drafts since then, only Gabriel Landeskog and Nate MacKinnon have played more than 106 games in the NHL.
In the 2010 draft four players have played 186 games, in 2011 you have Landeskog and the other number one pick Duncan Siemens who has played one NHL game. In 2012 it’s two players that have played 47 games, in 2013 there’s MacKinnon and two players that have played 34 games.
Nobody from their 2014 of 2016 drafts has played one game. In the 2015 draft, two players have played 63 games.
Evander Kane has played 12 career games against Colorado scoring six goals. He said he’s quite familiar with their good players, “They’re a good skating team, so you’ve got to be prepared to get your legs going, you’ve got to be prepared for an up and down game, especially against players like Duchene, Tyson Barrie on the back end, he’s very elusive, he’s very crafty and you’ve got to be hard on those guys.”
Kane is coming off missing the Ottawa game with the flu. Both he and Bylsma say he’s better, but is a game-time decision.
Thanks to a win in Ottawa on Tuesday and some help from other teams on Wednesday, the Sabres are five points behind Toronto in the Wild Card race and six points in back of Ottawa and Boston for second or third place in the Atlantic Division.
Buffalo is two in back of Florida and the Islanders and three behind Philadelphia.
If you go by point percentage, Buffalo and Tampa Bay are .509 and Detroit is .474. Carolina is .519 and New Jersey is .518.
The Sabres are starting to use Robin Lehner like a number one goalie. He’s played four straight games and eight out of nine. He’s given up 15 goals in his last seven games.
In Buffalo’s last 12 games, they’ve given up 37 or more shots 10 times. In the other two games it was 35 shots and 31 shots.
Colorado has lost four straight games. They only have wins over Winnipeg and Montreal in their last 15. They have three wins in 21 games.
Semyon Varlamov has missed 12 games with injury and 19 out of 23 games. The team claims the goaltender has a groin/hip injury. That puts Calvin Pickard in net.
Erik Johnson has missed 31 games with a leg injury.
Landeskog has been on a mini streak lately picking up six points in six games.
Former Sabre Mikhail Grigorenko has six goals and 12 assists for 18 points in 51 games. Another former Sabre Nikita Zadorov has no goals and 10 assists in 53 games.
Sabres 2013 second round pick JT Compher is in his first professional season. Compher, who was part of the O’Reilly trade has 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points in 37 games with San Antonio of the AHL.
Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame at 6:30 live from 716. They’ll be joined by Dan Bylsma, Evander Kane and Ryan O’Reilly.