Tyler Myers, Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Cody Hogdson, and Mikhail Grigorenko.
What do they all have in common besides playing on the Sabres?
The answer; They’re all 23 or younger and currently have or will have prominent roles with the Sabres in the coming years.
Hodgson, acquired from Vancouver last season in a trade for Zack Kassian got off to a slow start in Buffalo, recording only 8 points in 20 games with the team last year.
However, this year has started differently for the former 10th overall pick. Through two games, the young center has two goals and has looked very dangerous paired with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville.
Also playing well early in the season are the two Tyler’s, Ennis and Myers. Both have already proven themselves on the Sabres, acclimating themselves to the NHL very quickly.
The one thing fans and team officials are waiting to see out of them is if they can step their game up to another level in 2013.
Myers has already performed well for the Sabres, winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year in 2009/10, recording 48 points as a rookie. But since then, the 6 foot 8 defenseman has only 61 points in 137 games.
Sabres fans are waiting for Myers to take that next step. When that happens, he has the talent to rank among the top defensemen in the NHL.
Ennis as well, has the capabilities to become a very solid player for the Sabres. A speedy forward, he’ll be relied on more than ever as the Sabres have increased faith in him.
The two unknowns in the equation are Foligno and Grigorenko. Both have huge amounts of potential but have very little NHL experience.
Foligno’s play during in his short time in Buffalo has made Sabres fans gush over him.
The 21-year old forward recorded 13 points in 16 games with the big club to end last season and has shown a physical side to his play, getting in a fight versus the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday evening.
The young Russian, Mikhail Grigorenko has also captured Buffalo’s attention ever since being drafted by the Sabres back in June.
Once considered the second best prospect in 2012, Grigorenko fell all the way to the Sabres at 12th overall in last June’s NHL Entry Draft.
Now, only a month since playing junior hockey in Quebec and representing Russia in the World Junior Championships, Grigorenko is beginning his NHL career with the Sabres.
At only 18, Grigorenko is highly thought of and has the talent to become a very good player. The question with Grigorenko is how long will it take before he gets adjusted to the NHL game.
It won’t be an easy transition to the NHL for Grigorenko and will definitely take time.
One thing is for sure; watching the Sabres in 2013 will be very entertaining. While young, the Sabres have more prospects making an impact on the team than they’ve had in a very long time.
While it’s way too early to rely on the Sabres youngsters to take the team to the next level, fans should rejoice that the Sabres future looks brighter than it has in some time.
Buffalo has grit with Steve Ott, John Scott and Patrick Kaleta. An elite goalie in Ryan Miller and goal scorers in Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville.
Now, the Sabres finally have a solid core youngsters in Tyler Myers, Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Cody Hodgson, and Mikhail Grigorenko.
With the current youth movement, it’s safe to say the Sabres are moving in the right direction.