The start to this shortened 2012-13 NHL season has been quite a disappointment for many Buffalo Sabres fans.
After 14 games, or 37.5% of the season, the Sabres find themselves near the Eastern Conference’s basement in 11th place at 5-8-1 with 11 points
Aside from the Pominville – Hodgson – Vanek line, which has accounted for 56% of the Sabres goals, there has not been much to write home about.
When speaking to Sabres fans and bloggers, it becomes quite evident that there are massive weaknesses on both sides of the puck.
The Sabres are 30th in goals allowed, with 48 goals against in 14 games. Many people attribute that to a goaltender issue, but it truly is a defensive issue.
Speaking of defense, the largest issue seems to be with the largest defenseman, Tyler Myers.
Coming into the first season of his 7 year, $38.5 million dollar contract extension, expectations have been high for Myers.
In 12 games, Myers has been underwhelming to say the least.
Throughout the past three seasons, Myers had been on the ice for 252 of the Sabres even-strength goals and 231 even-strength goals against, accruing a +18 rating. This season, Myers has been on the ice for 6 of the Sabres goals and 15 goals against, tallying a -9 rating.
To make that a little simpler, Tyler Myers has been on the ice for 34.8% of the goals allowed by the Sabres.
With the -9 rating, Tyler Myers currently ranks 238th out of 239 eligible NHL defensemen in Plus/Minus rating. Myers is ahead of only Kings’ defenseman Drew Doughty, who is currently a -10.
Heading over to the offensive side of things, many players on the Sabres roster have fingers pointed at them 14 games into this season.
After much deliberation, and statistical breakdown, it can be said that Drew Stafford has been the most disappointing forward on the Sabres.
For the past two seasons, the Sabres have relied on Stafford’s offensive production for their secondary scoring.
Stafford has accounted for 51 goals in the past two seasons, third on the team to only Thomas Vanek (58 goals) and Jason Pominville (52 goals).
Percentages show that Stafford accounted for 12.7% of the team’s goals in 2010-11, and 9.2% in 2011-12, so he has been an important part of the offensive success.
In his career, Stafford has scored 114 times on 907 shots, also meaning that 11.6% of his shots have been goals.
This season, he has taken 40 shots but has yet to find the back of the net.
According to his career averages, Stafford should have at least 3 goals based on his shot-to-goal ratio.
One player we know isn’t the problem this season is goaltender Ryan Miller.
If you take a step back and dive into stats, you will quickly realize that Miller is one of the Sabres greatest strengths.
In 12 games, Miller has faced a league-leading 399 shots, while leading the National Hockey League with 365 saves.
Miller currently has a goals allowed average of 2.89, a little higher than his career average of 2.58, but that should level out throughout the season.
While Miller has faced a lot of pucks, and been impressive, he has been receiving roughly 2.41 goals per game from the offense, which makes winning quite difficult.
Now, it is safe to say that both Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford have been frustrating and disappointing early this season, but the excuses are wearing thin.
We want to know, who’s been the most disappointing Buffalo Sabre this season?
Has it been Myers and his lackadaisical defensive play, or Stafford and his inability to find the back of the net? Or maybe it is one of the other 23 players.
We want to hear your opinion! Leave us a comment on Facebook or tweet us @SHCdotcom with your thoughts!Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.