Sabres Report Card- 2nd Quarter Grades

Well, the season is halfway over, so it’s time to handout grades for the 2nd quarter.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to check out last quarters grades. https://bsabrestalk.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/sabres-report-cards-1st-quarter-grades/

 

Forwards:

-Thomas Vanek (A+): Vanek’s play from the first 20 games in the season was excellent and it hasn’t really changed. He leads the team in goals with 19 and is 2nd on the team in points behind captain, Jason Pominville. Also, his two-way play is still very good. The only gripe I’ve had with him is that he’s tried to force passes instead of shooting a bit in recent games.

-Jason Pominville (A+): Like Vanek, Pominville’s play hasn’t dropped off from the first quarter. He’s been quite the play-maker, racking up 29 assists in 41 games; that’s good for a 4th place tie in the league. In recent days, I’ve seen a few people online talk about how he’s a bad captain because he only has 16 hits, which is complete rubbish. Since day one of him wearing the “C,” he’s elevated his play from last season. Him and Vanek continue to be a dynamic two-way duo.

-Derek Roy (D): Here is a major reason why the Sabres have been struggling. Roy just hasn’t been the same player he’s been in the past. Not only has he not been productive offensively, but he’s been taking dumb penalties, turning the puck over a lot, and complaining to the refs a lot. In short, he’s regressed dramatically as a player this season. Things got even worse for Roy when he separated his shoulder against Carolina. It’s gotten to the point for me where I don’t even mind if Regier moves him as long as they can restock the cupboards at center a bit. Maybe Regier could trade Roy to a team like Chicago who’s looking for another center and has a plenty of center prospects.

-Drew Stafford (F): In the last quarter, Drew Stafford had a meager goal total of four goals. In his last 21 games, Stafford has only scored three goals, putting him on pace for a 14-goal 2011-12 campaign. That’s absolutely pathetic. On top of the lack of goal-scoring, he’s done a whole lot of floating out on the ice when the puck hasn’t been on his stick. Barring a major turn-around, I don’t see how he sticks around past this season.

Ville Leino (C+): Leino had a nice stint with Luke Adam and Zack Kassian before he went down with an injury around mid-Decemeber. He’s been adequate in his two post-injury games which acceptable for the time-being since he was hurt, but he needs to become much more of a difference-maker in these upcoming games.

-Brad Boyes (D): He’s only played in nine games because of injury, but Boyes has largely been ineffective at even-strength. On the power play, he’s looked good, but again, the production hasn’t really been there. Thankfully, Boyes is a UFA at the end of the season, which will make him easier to move in a trade. With a little luck, Boyes will step up his game a bit to help to the team out on the ice and raise his value in the trade market.

-Luke Adam (D): I don’t like tearing down a rookie like this, but the fact is that Adam just hasn’t been that good. Besides his production, which has gone south (4 goals, 2 assists in his last 21 games and he’s currently on a 9-game pointless streak), his play away from the puck has been awful. With the way him and the Sabres have played lately, I don’t see the harm in sending him back to Rochester for a bit to get his head on straight.

Nathan Gerbe (C): Nate hasn’t played that much due to a concussion he received from an extremely cheap play by Flyers defenseman, Marc-Andre Bourdon, but in the game’s he has played in, the results have been mixed. In the games prior to his injury, I thought he was largely ineffective, but in the games he has played in since his concussion, I’ve liked what I’ve seen. Since there’s been a dearth of offense outside of Vanek and Pominville, I’m hoping that Lindy will expand his role on offense a bit and give him top-6 time. It can’t hurt at this point, right?

-Paul Gaustad (D+): My how things change…I really liked Gaustad’s play early in the season, but in my opinion, he’s regressed back into the player I wanted off the team. In terms of positives, the only positive he’s brought to the table has been his ability to win faceoffs. Other than that, he hasn’t done much except make bad, sometimes costly turnovers and take stupid penalties that has cost his team on a few occasions. The physical play from him has been sporadic as well. Overall, I think the Sabres could do just as good, if not better than Gaustad for about $1.5 million less.

-Patrick Kaleta (D-): I don’t like handing out this kind of grade for Kaleta, but I’ve got to do it. The big hits haven’t really been there and he’s taken his fair share of dumb penalties that have put the team in tough spots. For a long time now, what he’s brought to the team with regard to positives has been limited and not worth the baggage or the lack of production. I think a guy like Corey Tropp could come up here and do a better job than what Pat has done in his role.

-Matt Ellis (B+): He hasn’t played quite as well as he did during the 1st quarter grading period, but he’s still done his job pretty well. Like I said in the 1st quarter grades, I’m not expecting anything from Ellis outside of putting in a good effort and not being a liability in his own end.

-Jochen Hecht (A): Say what you want about his durability, but Hecht has been very good for the Sabres when he’s been in the lineup. I really like all the little things he brings to the team (great defensive play and solid work on the boards). I don’t think he should be playing center on the top line, but with this roster, Lindy doesn’t have much choice. His production has been solid though. Hecht has seven points in 15 games this season (4 goals, 3 assists). He’s definitely going to be a valuable asset for the Sabres or another team down the stretch and into the playoffs.

-Tyler Ennis (B): Ennis was bothered by an ankle injury once again, but in the eight games he played in, he put up a respectable three goals, and two assists and looked pretty dangerous when he was out there. As far as I know, there’s no timetable on his return. Here’s hoping for similar or better play from him when he comes back.

-Zack Kassian (B): When Kassian first came up, he was a pretty effective offensive player for the Sabres. He was great at holding the puck down low and creating offense that way and he showed us that he’s got some great hands as well on the goal he scored against Nashville awhile back. However, the offense has dried up for him in his last few games and he hasn’t been doing the things that he was doing when he first got called up, which caused him to be a healthy scratch. As much as I’d like him to stay up with the Sabres, it’s better for him to continue honing his game in Rochester, especially with the mess that’s going on here.

-Cody McCormick (A): Like Matt Ellis, I only expect McCormick not to be defensive liability and give a good effort and Cody has continued to do that. The only other responsibility he has is to drop the mitts and stand up for his teammates when necessary and he’s done that too.

 

Defense:

-Christian Ehrhoff (B+): It’s a shame that he had to go down with a rib injury. Ehrhoff was doing an admirable job with the minutes he was forced to eat with all the injuries the defense has had. Yes, he still had some issues in his own end, but he was doing a much better job than he was earlier in the year. On offense, he was on pace for 34-35 points, which is pretty respectable considering how badly the Sabres have struggled offensively.

-Tyler Myers (Incomplete): Myers has only played in two games since the end of the first grading period and now, so I’m not assigning him a grade. However, in the two games he’s played in, he’s done “A+-calibur” work. Myers has started rushes and been a big player on offense and he’s been a rock on defense, all while playing tough minutes. If there’s one reason to be hopeful for the Sabres getting back into the playoff picture, he’s it.

-Jordan Leopold (B+): Similarly to Ehrhoff, Leopold was forced into an even greater role on defense and played very well. His accomplishments haven’t been as well-sung though. Leopold’s managed to put 3 goals and 6 assists since last quarters’ grading period while playing big minutes and being a solid defensive player for the most part. Fortunately for him, the injury-bug only kept him out of the lineup for a few games.

-Robyn Regehr (A): He wasn’t quite good enough to get the “A+” he got last time, but Regehr has still played well enough to snag himself an “A.” Regehr keeps it simple and just shuts down and punishes opposing players when they enter the Sabres’ zone. His 96 hits and 56 blocked shots are both team-leading totals.

-Andrej Sekera (A): I really liked the way Sekera looked on defense before he went down with an injury. Him and Regehr formed an excellent shut-down tandem. Sekera also did a very good job at starting up rushes with his speed. I know Sekera still has his detractors, but make no mistake. Not having him on defense has hurt the team a lot.

-Mike Weber (C): Weber has been pretty hit-or-miss. When he’s been on his game, he’s been McKee-like playing a nice, simple game while dishing out hits and blocking shots. When he hasn’t, Weber has been a tire-fire that hurts his team with dumb decisions in his own end and by taking undisciplined penalties. I’m hoping Weber can find a way to be more consistent because his skill-set can really help Buffalo out. He might find himself a healthy scratch or on another team once Sekera and Ehrhoff come back. That won’t be for a while though.

-Marc-Andre Gragnani (D): I don’t really care what the plus-minus lovers say. Gragnani’s team-leading +12 doesn’t mean squat to me. Just watch him play defense. Not all defensemen are physical guys who drive players into the boards at every opportunity, but the non-physical ones will at least take hits to make plays and dish out a hit every now and then. Gragnani exclusively plays defense with his stick. I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s been so bad that a 20-year old rookie has relegated him to the press-box. Gragnani’s going to have to turn things around pronto if he doesn’t want to be displaced when Sekera or Ehrhoff is ready to go.

-Brayden McNabb (A): He’s arrived on the scene about two years earlier than I thought he would and I’m so glad to be wrong. McNabb has played better than I thought he was going to when he was called-up. I thought for sure that his speed was going to be a major liability, but he’s played his position with poise beyond his years. More importantly, McNabb is an intimidating player on the backend and looks to hit people a lot when they enter the zone. Obviously, he hasn’t connected on all of them, but just the threat of him doing something backs off attacking players a bit, especially the more finesse ones. McNabb really does remind me a lot of Regehr with a little more offensive ability. I hope to God that he can fulfill his potential someday.

 

Goaltenders:

-Ryan Miller (F): I’ve defended the guy plenty and while there have been plenty of instances of the team failing him on some goals, Miller needs to find a way to not give up three goals every game. No team can win games on a consistent basis like that, no matter how good their offense is. He has to turn the corner pretty darn quick. Otherwise, the Sabres are done for.

-Jhonas Enroth (C): Enroth’s been pretty much as bad as Miller has, but he gets the higher grade just because he’s still very green and the expectations are a fraction of what Miller’s are. Learning how to be a goaltender in the league can take a long time. Enroth needs to find a way not to get burned on so many 5-hole and short-side shots if he wants to take the next step.

 

Overall Grade:

On the whole, I’m giving the Sabres a “D.” Yeah, they’ve had a ton of injuries, but when I watch a team like the Senators find a way to win games and put themselves into a playoff spot, despite having arguably one of the worst defenses and one of the worst goaltending tandem’s in the league, I get pretty mad. This team has the talent to at least be the #7-8 seed in the East now, but they’ve been let down by their goaltending, their lack of offense, and most importantly, their inconsistent efforts. At forward, only Vanek and Pominville seem interested in providing offense on a regular basis.

There’s still time for the Sabres to turn things around, especially in a weak Eastern Conference, but things have to change ASAP.

Advertisements

One Response to Sabres Report Card- 2nd Quarter Grades

  1. Pingback: Sabres Report Card- 3rd Quarter Grades « Disciples of The Sword

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: