BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Disconnect and unhappiness on Monday, optimism and hunger on Tuesday.
While some Sabres veterans like Jack Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen are unhappy and wouldn't commit to being a Sabre next season, some of the younger players feel good about the future of the organization.
"We have a lot of guys that are right now hungry to win and take over games," forward Tage Thompson said. "I think that's a dangerous thing."
With so many injuries around the Sabres locker room this past season, guys like Casey Mittelstadt got a chance to show what they could do and a lot of praise goes to interim head coach Don Granato.
"He challenged me, challenged me to be better and challenged me to take a step and play a bigger role," Mittelstadt said. "Sometimes guys need that."
Many of the younger players say their game improved since Granato took over.
Here's how things fared for several players from before [January 14 - March 17] and after [March 18 - May 8] Granato took over behind the bench:
- Casey Mittelstadt:
- Before: 1 goal, 4 assists
- After: 9 goals, 17 assists
- Tage Thompson:
- Before: 1 goal, 1 assist
- After: 7 goals, 5 assists
- Rasmus Dahlin:
- Before: 1 goal, 10 assists
- After: 4 goals, 8 assists
- Dylan Cozens:
- Before: 3 goals, 2 assists
- After: 1 goal, 7 assists
- Rasmus Asplund:
- Before: 1 goal
- After: 6 goals, 4 assists
"What we did that last month or so is just a glimpse of what we know we could do next year," center Dylan Cozens said. "We've got a good group right now and a lot of guys that are hungry to win. So I think we're really excited to have a fresh start next season and we're all gonna work as hard as we can this offseason to come back and be a winning team."