The Buffalo Sabres shuffled their way to the cellar of the Northeast Division in 2013. It’s not that bad of a place to be given that the other four teams in their division all made the playoffs. The downside is that the Sabres have some serious question marks going into the 2013-2014 season and it might be a rebuilding season.
Team Name: Buffalo Sabres
Record: 21-21-6, Fifth in Northeast, No Playoffs
Player of the Season: Thomas Vanek led the team with a 20-21–41 line despite missing 10 games with an injury. He put up 15 points on special teams (9PPG, 5PPA, 1SHG) and is the clear-cut best asset on the team.
Breakout of the Season: Cody Hodgson posted a nice 15-19–34 in 48 games with seven points on special teams. Last season, his 19-22–41 in 83 games with Buffalo and Vancouver showed what he’s capable of. And on this team he has a chance to shine. Hodgson, the fourth-year center, might get some time with Vanek on the top line in 2013-2014.
Disappointment of the Season: Special teams slayed the Sabres. Buffalo was 29th on the power play at 14.1 percent and 26th on the penalty kill, stopping opponents 79.2% of the time. You have to be better than that to make forward progress in this league.
Team Analysis: Buffalo went from contender to pretender quickly and canned their coaching staff. Lindy Ruff was axed in February while assistants James Patrick and Kevyn Adams were given the boot after the season ended. When you have no consistency behind the bench, the product on the ice suffers. Ron Rolston did what we could in the interim with what he had but it wasn’t much. He got named coach last month so it’s his show to run.
2013-2014 Story Lines: Will Ryan Miller stay in Buffalo? He has one year left on his deal but reportedly put his townhouse on the market. That screams “I’m not coming back!” The bigger question is where would he go if he were to be traded? If he’s gone, can Jhonas Enroth be the man in net for Buffalo?
Who can help Vanek? He can’t carry the team on his own and was a little streaky with his points. He had a couple of five-point games but he also missed some time with injuries too. Joechen Hecht decided to hang his skates up after 14 seasons in the league, the last 10 in Buffalo so he’ll be missed for veteran leadership.
The biggest story of all is that Vanek and Miller are in the last year of their contracts so will they re-up or will they be traded away?
2013-2014 Fantasy Guys to Have: Vanek, Hodgson, Tyler Ennis, Miller (if he’s still there)
Guys On The Fringe: Mikhail Grigorenko (has additional value in dynasty formats), Christian Ehrhoff (5-17–22, 9 PP points, +6)
|Thomas Vanek, LW||38||20||21||41||-1||20||18:24||9||5||1||0||119||16.8|
|Cody Hodgson, C||48||15||19||34||-4||20||18:24||3||2||1||1||114||13.2|
|Tyler Ennis, LW||47||10||21||31||-14||16||17:53||2||12||0||0||108||9.3|
|Jason Pominville, RW†||37||10||15||25||1||8||20:54||1||5||1||0||94||10.6|
|Steve Ott, C||48||9||15||24||3||93||18:33||2||1||0||2||73||12.3|
|Christian Ehrhoff, D||47||5||17||22||6||34||25:11||1||8||0||0||102||4.9|
|Drew Stafford, RW||46||6||12||18||-16||21||17:01||0||3||0||0||121||5.0|
|Marcus Foligno, LW||47||5||13||18||-4||41||13:38||1||3||0||1||55||9.1|
|Jochen Hecht, C||47||5||9||14||6||18||13:42||0||0||1||0||69||7.2|
|Andrej Sekera, D||37||2||10||12||-2||4||21:12||0||0||0||1||33||6.1|
|Brian Flynn, RW||26||6||5||11||6||0||14:41||0||0||1||0||49||12.2|
|Nathan Gerbe, C||42||5||5||10||-3||14||12:30||0||0||1||0||64||7.8|
|Kevin Porter, C||31||4||5||9||-1||10||15:14||0||0||1||1||37||10.8|
|Tyler Myers, D||39||3||5||8||-8||32||21:19||1||2||0||0||48||6.3|
|Jordan Leopold, D †||24||2||6||8||-6||14||21:08||0||2||0||0||38||5.3|
|Mike Weber, D||42||1||6||7||3||70||18:22||0||0||0||1||25||4.0|
|Ville Leino, LW||8||2||4||6||0||6||15:48||1||1||0||0||11||18.2|
|Mark Pysyk, D||19||1||4||5||-7||0||16:17||1||0||0||0||21||4.8|
|Mikhail Grigorenko, C||25||1||4||5||-1||0||10:14||0||0||0||0||31||3.2|
|Alexander Sulzer, D||17||3||1||4||3||10||16:31||0||0||0||0||15||20.0|
|Adam Pardy, D||17||0||4||4||4||14||16:30||0||0||0||0||6||0.0|
|Robyn Regehr, D †||29||0||2||2||-4||21||18:39||0||0||0||0||15||0.0|
|Patrick Kaleta, RW||34||1||0||1||-4||67||10:48||0||0||0||0||34||2.9|
|T.J. Brennan, D †||10||1||0||1||-1||6||14:49||1||0||0||0||18||5.6|
|Luke Adam, C||4||1||0||1||1||2||9:48||0||0||0||0||2||50.0|
|Chad Ruhwedel, D||7||0||0||0||0||0||14:12||0||0||0||0||8||0.0|
|John Scott, LW||34||0||0||0||-1||69||5:27||0||0||0||0||15||0.0|
|Matt Ellis, LW||6||0||0||0||0||0||6:12||0||0||0||0||8||0.0|
|Cody McCormick, C||8||0||0||0||-2||10||6:27||0||0||0||0||6||0.0|