As the nights begin getting cooler and people are starting to rake up leaves, it can only mean one thing -- hockey season is upon us. The Buffalo Sabres open their regular season against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night in Helsinki, Finland.
Ever since Terry Pegula took ownership of the Sabres, they have been the talk of the National Hockey League. With an owner who does not have a tight budget, the Sabres went to work in the offseason and signed some veterans to solidify their defense.
Former Vancouver Canuck Christian Ehrhoff signed a 10-year, $40 million deal. He led the Canucks defensemen with 14 goals and 50 points last year. Ehrhoff will be paired with Jordon Leopold, who was the Sabres leading defensemen in scoring in the 2010-11 season with 13 goals.
The Sabres also traded for Robyn Regehr in the offseason. He will bring a lot of experience to the defense, which will be good for his pairing with Tyler Myers. Regehr is a 12-year veteran who has played in 826 regular season games. Both Regehr and Myers are not scoring defensemen, but they will help take the pressure off goalie Ryan Miller when they are on the ice.
The Sabres were ninth in scoring last season, with veteran forwards Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Jason Pominville. With the addition of Brad Boyes, the Sabres are looking to improve their scoring this season.
During the draft, the Sabres chose a scoring-machine in Joel Armia. The 6-foot-3 right winger played in Finland's professional league in 2010-11. Armia recorded 18 goals, 29 points and 24 penalty minutes in 48 regular season games, and he was only 17 years old.
With all the new additions to the team, the Sabres should do very well -- maybe even as far as the Stanley Cup. With an owner who really loves his team, anything is possible, and he did promise the City of Buffalo the Stanley Cup within the next few years. So who knows, maybe this could be the year.
Keith Latta is a sophomore at Newfane High School.