A little over four months ago was the midway point in the 2011-12 NHL regular season.
If you recall correctly, we here at Sabres Hockey Central featured a Midseason Fact or Fiction where we reviewed a few preseason predictions that were made (that post can be viewed here).
At the end of that post, four more predictions were made for the second half of the season.
Below, those four predictions will be reviewed and explained.
Ryan Miller will rebound in the second half of the season
This was quite a bold prediction at the time of the midseason article. With the common knowledge of Ryan Miller as a Buffalo Sabre, I felt this was a slam dunk and boy was I right. At the midseason mark, Miller had a very mediocre 10-11-2 record with a 3.05 GAA and .901 save percentage. In 37 games (36 starts), Miller recorded a very impressive 21-10-5 record with a 2.24 GAA and a .915 save percentage. To say Miller got better is an understatement. Miller was absolutely on-fire throughout the second half of this season. The team’s resurgence had a lot to do with Miller’s resurgence.
Pominville/Vanek will set career highs in points scored
Jason Pominville came into this season as the Buffalo Sabres captain, so a huge season was expected of him. Pominville did respond and put up the expected numbers but they fell short of career highs. At the halfway point, Pominville had recorded 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists). Following the midway point, he recorded 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists). At the end of the season, Pominville recorded 73 points and fell 7 points short of tying his career-high in points.
At the midway point of the season, Thomas Vanek had recorded 40 points (19 goals, 21assists). The second half of the season was not very kind to Vanek. He would end up recording 24 points (7 goals, 14 assists) for a season total of 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists). These numbers fell well short of Vanek’s career-high of 84 points. Now, there are many different thoughts as to why Vanek’s production fell off but the main thought is injury-related. This thought was seemingly confirmed by Vanek himself when he stated on his official website that “my chest’s been hurting since January, I have an ankle sprain and the shoulder’s not completely a hundred percent.”
The Sabres will make the playoffs
This response is very self-explanatory. The Sabres were in the basement of the Eastern Conference at the midseason mark. Many people expected the team to get better but nobody expected the Sabres to go on another historical run. The Sabres skirted the playoffs for many weeks, even being in the playoffs for a few of those weeks, but the team just could not overcome all the issues. The final nail in the team’s proverbial coffin were the injuries to Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Myers late in the year. The team seemed to struggle when Ehrhoff and Myers missed time separately, so the struggles were no surprise when both defensemen were out.
Derek Roy will re-find his game or be traded
This one is very painful. Derek Roy, statistically one of the best Sabres, has been lost since he tore his hamstring tendon in December 2010. Roy scored 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists) before the midway point and only scored another 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) in the second half. The 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists) recorded this season was the lowest point production that Derek Roy has had in a season where he played in at least 50 games. To quickly touch on the second half of the prediction, Roy finished the season with Buffalo meaning he obviously was not traded.