This is the fifth article of a five-part series, chronicling the good and bad of the past Buffalo Sabres’ season. Our writers at Sabres Hockey Central take a look back.
What was the most valuable player of the 2013-14 Sabres’ season?
Justin Banker – Tyler Ennis: Provided the offense that was expected of him, passed his career high of 20 goals, with 21. Provided a bit of a spark of offense on a team that couldn’t buy a goal.
Brayton Wilson – Ted Nolan: When the Sabres started the year 4-15-1 under Ron Rolston, Ted Nolan had his hands full when he arrived in Buffalo. Nolan had to deal with a team that just traded one of their captains in Thomas Vanek, and Ryan Miller and Steve Ott were both on the trading block. Nolan came into the organization and was the glue that held the team together. Even though the results for Nolan were not the best, but the production he got from his players was perhaps the most successful part of the season.
Adam Lindsay – Tyler Ennis: He didn’t have more points then Hodgson, but I am ok with that. Ennis never stops moving on a good night. he throws that little body around when he can, and his effort was much improved in later season games. When he was demoted on a lower line, he never pouted. He took it like a man and played the game. With limited choices after Miller was traded, this is where I stand.
Kevin Freiheit – Tyler Ennis: The only Sabres player to play at least 80 games this season, Tyler Ennis is a 20 goal scorer for the second time in his career. At age 24, Ennis scored 43 points for a team that was dead last. He survived the injury bug, or monsoon, and put up solid numbers all year for Buffalo. The big question is whether or not he can improve on these numbers going forward as he still has room, and time, to grow.
Chris Downey – Ryan Miller: Granted he got traded close to the deadline, I believe Miller did a lot for this team and was the Most Valuable during this team. Outside of his record, his Goals Against and Save Percentage for most of the season, were one of the best he’s ever had as a Sabre and in his career. He stood on his head to keep Buffalo in many games or keep them from getting completely embarrassed.
Jeff Pawlak – Cody Hodgson: Hodgson provided some strong hints that he’s ready to be one of the go-to guys for this team as it continues along its journey to be an elite club. He finished with 20 goals on the season, his career-best, and he was the most successful Sabre on their power play, tallying nine goals and adding ten assists.
Ryan Wolfe – Tyler Ennis: Hands down, Ennis is the MVP for this year’s Buffalo Sabres. Ennis developed into a legitimate top six forward this season, and proved that he certainly belongs as a big piece of the current rebuild. Ennis scored 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists) in 80 games, only second to Cody Hodgson’s 44 points. While Ennis’ numbers don’t necessarily jump off the page, his increased goal scoring is what has many excited for the future. Ennis scored 21 goals this year with a rag-tag group, imagine what he can do when paired with top players.