Larkin: Sabres aren't Stanley Cup contenders yet, but are playoff contenders

Matt Larkin from The Hockey News joined Schopp and the Bulldog to talk some Sabres hockey

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December 06, 2018 - 5:19 pm

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports

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Despite a current four-game losing streak, the Buffalo Sabres have been a pleasant surprise to many around the National Hockey League.

So far through 29 games this season, Buffalo has gone 17-8-4 and has earned 38 points to sit in third place in the Atlantic Division. Buffalo is currently on pace to finish the season with a 48-23-11 record and 107 points, which would be a remarkable turnaround from last season where they went 25-45-12 and finished with just 62 points.

Matt Larkin from The Hockey News joined Mike Schopp and the Bulldog on Thursday to look more into how far the Sabres can go. He also discussed the progress of Rasmus Dahlin, the success of Jeff Skinner, how under appreciated Jack Eichel is and more around the NHL.

Here is some of what he had to say: 

 

On how the Sabres measure up with the Maple Leafs: 

"They looked like Rocky vs. Apollo Creed. They didn't win, but they came out feeling like the winner. It was a crucial measuring stick." 

 

On how much damage the Sabres could do in the playoffs: 

"I'm not calling them Stanley Cup contenders yet, but I am calling them playoff contenders. They remind me of the Leafs last year or two years ago." 

 

On the progress of rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin: 

"Not all 18-year-old defenseman can be thrust into these minutes. He's a very special case. It's not just the offense, it's his jam/mean streak." 

"I think he's got swagger and will keep taking chances [offensively]. He doesn't shy away from it." 

 

On the success of Jeff Skinner coming to Buffalo: 

"He's been crucial. The Sabres got a steal. He's still very young. Never had a center of Jack Eichel's caliber feeding him the puck. Of course he's scoring this much, he's never had a real bona fide No. 1 center." 

"I'd predict he remains a Sabre. The chemistry is undeniable, and he's close to his hometown." 

 

On Jack Eichel's growth in his career: 

"That Leaf game was a little taste of playoff Jack Eichel. The body language, he's proud of being the guy. He's always had the swagger, even in his draft year. People still don't understand how good he is." 

"While he hasn't quite posted the astronomical numbers of McDavid or Matthews yet, I don't think it's impossible for him to get there. His numbers are surpressed by the ankle sprains two years in a row, but if you look at the points per-game over the past couple of seasons, he's actually right there with some of the best players in the league." 

 

You can listen to the entire interview below: 

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