Outside of having Ennis up for an entire season, they haven't improved at all.I don't think they've improved enough.
I agree with almost every thing you said there accept one thing, their are two things that buffalo has that many be better then every other team in the NHL, Goaltending is one for sure, as you said, and the other is Lindy Ruff. As a coach on one of the lowest ranked teams season in and season out, he has consistently performed above expectations. Really one of the best coaches in the game. When looking at the Northeast division, their are really two question marks in it, Buffalo, and Montreal. Will Montreal build off their unexpected playoff run? I think a healthy Montreal can be a force as Mike Cammerilli has really begun to establish himself as an offensive ace, while a revamping defensive core seemed unstoppable against the likes of Crosby and Ovechkin. The other side of the coin is Buffalo, are they just gonna keep winning, 2-1, 1-0 games all season long to another division title? I sure as hell hope not. If Buffalo plays at the level their suppose to play at they are 4th or 5th in the division. If they continue to play at the level at which they have played at, they are 1st or 2nd in the division. Really hard to predict.Outside of having Ennis up for an entire season, they haven't improved at all.
The defense has two legitimate top four defensemen in the form of Myers and Leopold, a handful of bottom pairing guys (Morrisson, Rivet, Montador, Sekera) and someone that the jury's still out on in Butler. Will he be another bottom pairing defenseman that just so happens to get a lot of powerplay time like he was last season? Lydman might have not been the best, but he was better than what he was replaced with.
The offense is heavily dependant upon which Vanek shows up, whether Connolly can actually remain healthy for two seasons in a row, and whether Ennis will be an impact forward in his first season. Roy and Pominville will be their usual selves though on that front.
Seriously, what happened to Vanek? Did the Edmonton offer sheet scare him from ever playing well again so as to not attract attention from another ****ty team?
Outside of goaltending, there's just too many question marks for me to put this team above third at this time, but I went with fourth on the poll. Completely mediocre team on paper.