I went into this season buying that the Sabres would be at least a dark horse contender for the Stanley cup, but I can no longer stand behind that affirmation—at least not with the current state of the Sabres.
To be honest, it pains me to do what I’m about to do because I truly do have faith in this team, but I’m going to put a microscope on some players that I believe contribute to the lackluster current state of the Sabres.
1. Brad Boyes
I understood the signing and being an optimist, I thought Boyes may find his scoring touch again. At this point, the jury is still out on Boyes’ offensive ability seeing he has had an injury plagued year, but the decision to sign Boyes falls into a long line of poor decision making when it comes to players who have lost their so-called touch. The biggest name that comes to mind is of course is Geoff Sanderson. Sanderson had several productive seasons and then cooled off considerably prior to landing in Buffalo. The Sabres decided that they may be able to reignite his career, but it just never happened. I get the “risk”, but if the “risk” doesn’t pan out, you’re just stuck with a player that isn’t filling the offensive role needed. It’s still early and I don’t expect 40 goals, but a consistent 40-50 point season would be nice from Boyes to justify re-signing him.
2. Nathan Gerbe
I may catch some flak for choosing Gerbe because he plays with so much heart and tenacity, but his size is starting to show as an issue. Whether it is injuries or inconsistency, it can easily be placed on Gerbe’s size. We know he has the talent to be in the NHL, but his size has hindered his ability. Let’s be honest, there are several players in the NHL that can get you 12-15 goals in a season who are bigger and stronger. His talent alone isn’t enough to counterbalance his lack of size. If Gerbe was putting 60 points a season, then sure, his size wouldn’t be an issue, but he isn’t. Gerbe is still young, so I can’t rule him out yet, but unless he can find away to separate his talent from his size, I wouldn’t mind seeing him gone.
3. Paul Gaustad
Complacency. That is one word to sum of Paul Gaustad’s game. I rooted for “Goose” when he was struggling to crack the line up of the Sabres. Gaustad was a late round draft pick who most didn’t think had a prayer to get in the NHL, mainly because he was a poor skater; however, Gaustad turned heads with his grit, size and passion. Now jump 7 years later and you see a player who no longer does the things he did to make the NHL. His toughness almost appears forced at points. Sure, Gaustad still plays the role of the grit guy, but he no longer plays with the edge he once had.
To be continued…