Sabres: Regular Season in Review

The regular season is over for the Buffalo Sabres and they are headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs! Before the playoffs begin, it is time for the “Season Edition” of Sabres: Week in Review.

Final Regular Season Record
– The Buffalo Sabres finished the 2010-11 NHL regular season with a 43-29-10 record, earning 96 points along the way.

Who’s Hot
– Forward Thomas Vanek: 32 goals, 41 assists (73 points) in 80 games. Vanek also scored 11 power play goals during the regular season.
– Forward Drew Stafford: 31 goals, 21 assists (52 points) in 62 games. Stafford scored 11 of his goals on the power play.
– Forward Jason Pominville: 22 goals, 20 assists (52 points) in 73 games.
– Goaltender Ryan Miller: 34-22-8 record in 66 games played. Miller allowed only 165 goals (sixth-best in the NHL) on 1,799 shots, which converts to a 2.59 goals per game average.
– Goaltender Jhonas Enroth: 9-2-2 in 14 games played. Enroth played a huge role, late in the season, for the Sabres when Ryan Miller went down for a handful of games with an upper-body injury.

Who’s Not
– Goaltender Patrick Lalime: 0-5-0 record in 7 games played. Although Lalime posted a 2.96 goals per game average, he hasn’t played since January 21,  which is when he “lost” his job as the backup goaltender. It can be a fair assumption that the “Patrick Lalime Experience” in Buffalo will be over after this season.
– Forward Jochen Hecht: 12 goals, 17 assists (29 points) in 67 games.  Hecht has been huge for the Sabres at times throughout the season but he was often marred with ineffectiveness and injuries on-and-off throughout the season.
– Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn: 1 goal, 4 assists (5 points) in 62 games. When Morrisonn arrived in Buffalo during the last offseason, the Sabres were not expecting him to score eighty points but I do believe they expected a double digit point total (which he had posted in his last five seasons with the Capitals) and some sort of leadership to the defensive corps.  His leadership role could be argued but Morrisonn had spent some time in the press box throughout the season due to his often ineffectiveness.

Forward Thomas Vanek: Many will argue that the MVP of the Buffalo Sabres is goaltender Ryan Miller but no player picked up the slack, more than Vanek, when forward Derek Roy was injured early in the season. Vanek finished the regular season with 32 goals along with 41 assists, 73 points, in 80 games.  I would not be shocked at all if Thomas Vanek opened next season as the Sabres’ captain.

Rookie of the Year
Forward Tyler Ennis: In his first full season with the Buffalo Sabres, Ennis played in all 82 games. That isn’t Ennis’ only amazing feat this season. Ennis posted 20 goals, along with 29 assists, to end the season with 49 points. Those numbers are pretty impressive for a rookie.

Biggest Breakout of the Season
– Forward Drew Stafford: Stafford has improved greatly from last season. He posted eighteen more points this season (52 this season, 34 last season), as well as setting a career-high in goals scored with 31. Stafford’s previous career high was 20.

Most Improved Sabre
– Defenseman Andrej Sekera: Although he was more of a late season breakout,  it cannot go unacknowledged. Sekera posted a career-high in assists (26) and a career-high in points (29). Sekera was a completely different player after he returned from a benching in February. Sekera has also seen his role with the Sabres grow, as his play continues to improve.

What’s on Tap
– The Buffalo Sabres , seeded seventh, will take on the second seeded Philadelphia Flyers in the first-round of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.



Ryan Wolfe
Administrator/Writer at Sabres Hockey Central.

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