Grading the Sabres: Defensemen part one

My report card for the Sabres defensemen will be split into two five-man groups. Alexander Sulzer and Mike Weber will be in the second group with a trio of prospects. The first group will be the top five, if you will.

Tyler Myers – B

Overall, it was a decent season for the big man. There were times that he still looked lost defensively, but it was fairly obvious that he is a big part of Buffalo’s transition game. His absence often crippled Buffalo’s ability to move the puck and enter the zone.

I actually think there were some stretches that Myers was especially effective in his own zone, showing that two-way game that so many people are waiting to see develop. A healthy Tyler Myers is important for the Sabres. However, based on the last two years, a proper offseason program is what is important for Myers.

Christian Ehrhoff – A

When the Sabres signed Ehrhoff, I was ecstatic. Even though he didn’t go out and score goals like Bobby Orr, Ehrhoff was a very effective member of the Sabres blueline. In fact, he was their most consistent defenseman for the entire year.

While his goal scoring was down, he led all Buffalo defensemen in points, which is what he was brought here to do. What was unexpected was how great he was defensively. If the coaching staff would build their powerplay to better suit Ehrhoff, I think you would see his numbers increase. Continue reading

Sabres report card: Grading the first 15

Depending on which cross-section of Sabres fans you poll there could be varying levels of satisfaction regarding Buffalo’s first 15 games.

Well, first 14 games. Number 15 will be played tomorrow against Ottawa at First Niagara Center. Based on this weekend’s schedule there is little room to include a 15-game report card.

After a tremendous 5-1 run to open the season, the Sabres slid back to the pack with a 1-4 run which brought back many demons the team struggled with at One Seymour H Knox III Plaza last season. It seems as if Buffalo has righted the ship recently. The Sabres have three straight wins – two coming at home – and have pulled back into the top-five in the Eastern Conference.

Hockey is a game of ebbs and flows. In games and throughout the season, teams will have things go well while fighting struggles just a couple nights later. It would seem that the Sabres have experienced both situations through their first 15 contests. They had some worry-free outings in Europe followed by a disappointing home loss to Carolina, a game they probably should have won. The process continued after completing their road trip, the Sabres dropped three of five games on their first extended home stand, but have since found their way back to the win column.

A great many factors can be attributed to Buffalo’s struggles and success; goaltending has been a direct result of both. The same could be said about special teams. There hasn’t been too much flash from the big offseason acquisitions, but familiar faces have been providing quite a spark for the Sabres so far.

Now for the grades: Continue reading