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

December 6, 2018

The Buffalo Sabres have been a pleasant surprise this season in the NHL, despite a current 4 game losing streak. Matt Larkin of The Hockey News joined Schopp and Bulldog on Thursday to look more into how far the Sabres can go, 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 Larkin had to say with Schopp and Bulldog: 

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 & 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 number 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 Schopp and Bulldog's entire conversation with Matt Larkin below: