Apr 22, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Winnipeg Jets left wing Eric Tangradi (27) elbows Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk (53) during the game at the First Niagara Center. The Jets beat the Sabres 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres Could Be The Worst Team in the NHL in the 2013-2014 Season

Edit: since publishing this, I have been fortunate enough to have been granted the opportunity to review the book, Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstract, by the author himself!  Look for my book review early next week.  

You’ve gotta love modern science, eh readers?

First, it gave us the atomic bomb, which . . . wait, that was kind of bad.

Then it gave us the cell phone, which . . . turned us into a bunch of zombies who now shun human interaction.  That could have turned out better.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Now, modern science has brought us statistical analysis, which gives every nerd, dork, and bookworm who could never swing a baseball bat or stand upright on a pair of skates the chance to reduce all the things we love about professional sports into pages upon pages of charts, pie charts, graphs, and more graphs!!!!


Love it or hate it, statistical analysis has arrived in the NHL, courtesy of Rob Vollman, author of the book, Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstract.  

Scintillating title, eh?

In all seriousness, Vollman used hockey analytics in order to determine which NHL players were the most over-rated, which were the most under-rated, which teams were truly the worst (based on talent and real performance, not simply wins and losses), and which teams were the most likely to spend the offseason infuriating their fans.

Okay – I made that last part up.  So much for remaining serious.

If you want to read more about the book – and why Vollman found the Edmonton Oilers to be the worst team in the NHL last season – head over to the Edmonton Journal and tell your family to stay at least 50 feet away from you, lest they be sprayed with brain matter after your head explodes.   If, instead, you choose to remain on this site, here is all you need to know: using his big brain, crazy formulas, a dash of voodoo magic, and a Magic 8 Ball,  Vollman determined that the three teams destined to be the worst in the 2013-2014 season will be the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Calgary Flames, and the Buffalo Sabres.


Look: many of us realize the Sabres are going to have a tough time qualifying for a playoff spot.  Their conference is loaded with teams who qualified for the playoffs last year, and to make matters worse, they welcome the perennial playoff contending Detroit Red Wings into the fold.  They are the youngest team in the NHL, and so far this offseason, they have only added youth to their ranks, opting not to rebuild through free agency or trades.  As a result, their offensive and defensive woes stand to get worse before they get better, as many of the players wearing blue and gold will find themselves in over their heads quite a bit during the 2013-2014 season.

Still – could it be that the Buffalo Sabres will be among the three worst, if not THE worst, teams in the NHL next season?

I like Ron Rolston – I was quick to publicly commend the Sabres for removing the interim tag from his job description when they named him the full-time head coach of the team – and I think he will do a great job helping young players such as Mikhail Grigorenko, Mark Pysyk, Luke Adam, Jamie McBain, and whoever else gets to skate with the Sabres next season . . . but with so much raw, still-developing talent in the mix, I hate to say it, but I could see the Sabres ending the season as the worst team in the NHL (in terms of statistical analysis, mind you).  This doesn’t necessarily have to be seen as a bad thing; I prefer that the young players who will make up the core of this team for the next 4-5 years be given ample ice time next year, in order to hone their games and learn from their mistakes, and if that happens, I’m sure Ron Rolston will live with disappointing statistics if it meant that his younger players were given the opportunity to improve.   Still, it will be a tough pill to swallow for a good number of fans.   Even when your team is entering a rebuilding phase, you want to believe that the organization is making an effort, even if it amounts to baby steps, to improve – not take an actual step backwards . . . especially when season ticket prices increased!  Yowza!

Of course, it’s one thing to analyze a season that recently concluded; predicting the season to come is a whole different story.  The numbers may not lie, but in this case, fans of the Buffalo Sabres are hoping that the past doesn’t hold sway on the future.

How do you think the Buffalo Sabres will fare next season?  Leave your comments below, or blow up my Twitter feed @theamazingMrS!

Tags: Buffalo Sabres

  • Matt Nolan

    I mean I understand we can be and probably will be bad. With that said do you think last year could have been a bad sample

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Hey Matt! I suppose if you consider how many changes the roster went through last year, you could consider ’13 a bad sample. I don’t swear by this stuff, as I hope my less-than-serious tone suggests, but it is one piece of the puzzle worth looking at. :)

      • Jes

        I personally think the team played a lot better without leopold, regher and pominville in the line up

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          And that begs the question, were those guys not good fits? Or did the fear of being moved light a fire under some of the underachievers’ butts?

  • chas territo

    I expect a confused team plays Hockey this year to start. They will develop into a decent to good team by years end and not be a bottom feeder! Roosting, hmmm? I am open to him as coach, but have some doubts about what he can do leading this team. He did not have enough time to prove himself last year, yet, I agree to his signing a contrac. Time,people, time will show how good both will be. For. The jacks that don’t like my posts… I wrote this with none of you in mind or concern for your petty feelings. I say what I feel and WILL NOT be censored!

    • Jes

      lol u go girl

      • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

        Funny stuff!

      • chas territo

        Did they lower standards to allow minors to post, Jes?? Childish reply!!

        • Greg Antilla

          Shouldn’t you be off somewhere kicking a puppy or roughing up a female?

  • Kevin

    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t you say you didn’t think Luke Adam was going to be a Sabre? Anyway, I think it will be a tough 1st half of the season and a better home stretch. But last place! As a fan I can’t put my team there until it happens. Call me an optimist if you want, but I guess I expect the worst and hope for the best.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      I don’t, but I was going by the players currently listed on the Sabres roster!

  • qwicwted

    I am happy with the changes the Sabres have made -unloading Kassian, Gaustad, Roy, Leopold, Regehr, and Pomminville. I don’t know whether they were burned out, but it seems they just didn’t have the “will to win” or the desire to give 125%. I am hoping that since our youngsters are going to be fighting for ice time – that they gel quickly. I’m not really looking at how we will do in the standings, but moreso at the effort they give during games. I still believe we need another mentor and if the Sabres aren’t going to get someone like Morrow, then bringing in some of our former players to work with our youth would not only help our youngsters but would be a great PR move.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Kassian for Hodgson was definitely a big win for the Sabres. I didn’t mind Regehr, but the rest of the house cleaning I am fine with. Like you said, though, with a team this young, where will the mentoring come from?

      • SemiahmooWR

        Hodgson needs strong support to prosper. When Vanek was injured, Hodgson tanked in point production. After CH left Vancouver, one writer questioned how much character he has. It’s been suggested that he suffers from ELS (Eric Lindros Syndrome), a disease that manifests itself through parents that interfere with his career. It’s highly unlikely Hodgson is going to be happy playing on a Sabres team that could see the basement for the next few years. Losing Kassian meant losing badly needed toughness and character. Hodgson comes from a well-to-do background where he was never for want, while Kassian had to struggle to make it to the NHL. I’d take Kassian handsdown.

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          I understand your reasoning, but all young players need strong support to prosper, IMO. Will Hodgson enjoy being on a rebuilding Sabres team next year? Maybe not – but how many players would? There’s no guarantee Kassian would have liked it either, because losing sucks no matter who you are. That’s not to say I support Hodgson – I have already said I think he is getting too big for his britches – but I believe the Sabres currently have the better of the two players.

  • jimbobv2

    Honestly, I have no idea what to think.

    Will Hodgson get signed before camp?

    Will Vanek & Miller still be around? If so, what will their mindset be?

    There could be a ton of kids in the lineup and that usually isn’t a good sign. But, maybe they will come together quicker than expected?

    I don’t have high expectations for this season. Especially if Vanek and Miller are mad about still being here.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      All good questions. I like Rolston, so maybe he can pull off a bit of a miracle and get the kids to gel quicker than we all think. Thanks for the comment!

  • Caitlin Campbell

    It’s funny I was just thinking the other day about how the Buffalo Sabres could be one of the worst teams next season. Looks like it could be a very long season in hockey heaven.

  • davidmuscalo

    I hope the teams in the Atlantic Division believe that the Sabres will be the worst team in the NHL this coming season because that could be the best of all worlds. If their rivals take them lightly, they may have a chance to be only the fifth of sixth worst team in the NHL.

    Seriously, the laws of probability are against them, but these laws only predict possible outcomes, and, believe it or not, one possible outcome (no matter how small) has the Sabres winning the Stanley Cup in June of 2014.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Love that optimism, David! Well, the second part was optimistic, at least. :D

      • Greg Antilla

        The blind optimists in this fan base are a cancer.

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  • lamarred1118

    Darcy is dragging his always slow to react feet with regards to signing Hodgson and resolving Vanek’s status, the optimum window of opportunity for getting substantial return for he and Miller has past and every day their value gets lower. The only thing that can happen to help Regier to save face is that some team suffers a big injury at the beginning of the season and he can swing a deal then for the two biggest names in his stable. Personally I hope they can hold on to Vanek by way of a new deal or an extension and get Hodgson signed for a reasonable amount of time and money, both of which would seem to be an unlikely expectation looking around the league deals that have been done this off-season.

    As far as giving a pundit any weight for his prognostications it’s like playing lotto, kind of like “hey you never know”!? TheSabres could be awful and they could catch fire and have some success, time is a four letter word and time will tell.

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  • Greg Antilla

    Darcy has changed his strategy to “develop young players while finishing low to get potential stars in the draft”. Sad thing is, the Sabres were near the bottom of the league each of the last 3 seasons and could have shot for those star players in the draft, then added them to the team while we still had solid veteran players. Instead, they shot for the playoffs, got booted in one round and missed twice, and are now forced to endure a rebuild with players that “might” be good. Some fans are failing to learn the important lesson of not putting all their eggs in one basket. They are putting ALL their hopes on Grigo (1 goal in 2013), Girgs and Armia. All European and Russian players, which come with a risk because they didn’t develop in the tough-nosed Canadian system.

    The koolaid drinkers themselves with their hope & believe crap refuse to accept this team is going to be bad for probably 3-5 years, no matter how much they sit around the campfire singing songs and thinking happy thoughts. Their expectations (let’s just make the playoffs) are so low it’s disgusting… fan bases like Detroit, Boston, Chicago etc don’t think like that. They expect Cup contention and there’s hell to pay if they get anything less.

  • chas territo

    Greg ‘mr. Complaint’ antilla, wow you r so fucked up in many ways! I looked at your post history. You bitch, Oman, gripperà, compliance and just ha e online negative Shirley ti say! You call peppole out with no fu kung delega c’è and tour a puszta!! You have no idea Who you insult, yet you throw shit out there! In my estimation , you are coward who hides his little manhood behind a keyboard! You are a low life piece of shit!!

    • Greg Antilla

      Was that even English?

    • Greg Antilla

      Just looked at your commenting history. Funny, you try to insinuate while having a history of being a confrontational douche. Hell, on this very same page today you posted a disclaimer calling people out saying how you don’t care what the public thinks about your comments. You’re a hypocrite and an emotional wreck. Get yourself into therapy. I hear they have a decent mental health facility at ECMC.

    • Greg Antilla

      And talk about being a coward… instead of confronting me directly “like a man”, your first instinct was to investigate my commenting history like a jealous girlfriend snooping through her boyfriends facebook messages. You’re pathetic. And speaking of commenting history, I just looked at yours. Funny, you try to insinuate being a confrontational douche,
      while having a long history of being a confrontational douche. So we can add “hypocrite” to your list of character traits. Hell, on this
      very same page today you posted a disclaimer calling people out saying you don’t care what the public thinks about your comments. You’re a
      hypocrite and an emotional wreck. Get yourself into therapy. I hear they
      have a decent mental health facility at ECMC.

  • chas territo

    To prove your cowardice you use a fucken dolphin as your avatar. Cowards hide, men do not! My pic is here for all to see! Man up, fag, post a pic!!

    • Greg Antilla

      A dolphin? I think you need to get your eyes checked. As far as your asinine comments calling me a coward… I’ll meet you anywhere, anytime in WNY. Name it, scumbag.

      • chas territo

        Fucken IPOD, keeps fucking up what I type! Just get this fuck you, you cowardly faggot! Sure, you’ll meet me?? I am 57 years old with a brutal history of fighting. At my age I don’t fight, but if we did meet, sorry for what I wd do to you, no fucking way. I live in ton., ny, NFC blvd and the 290! You see my face, if you see me around, we can go somewhere private and deal! Look for me, I’ll be the man you sucker punch, cuz that’s how you roll!!

        • Greg Antilla

          Bud, I don’t know you personally and you don’t know me personally. I assume nothing about you and you should assume nothing about my abilities regarding the sweet science. Uh oh… how do I know that term? Hmmm, maybe Greg isn’t who you think he is….

  • chas territo

    Greg, grow up!! This is that’s reply, you r a child! To keep replying to you is beneath your rat hole and I am done!!

    • Greg Antilla

      You didn’t “reply”. You intentionally made a separate post so that I wouldn’t receive a notification, hoping that I wouldn’t see it. You’re a coward, dude.

      Since you brought up commenting history, I’ll latitude some knowledge to you: Everyone I’ve engaged in an argument with online (and 2 or 3 offline, much to my enjoyment) had it coming, every single one of them was being a POS of varying degree. Obviously I’m engaged in an argument with you, so that INCLUDES you. You post with an abrasive flair that rubs everyone the wrong way, to the point where you yourself have to put a disclaimer on your comments stating that you “don’t care what people think”. It’s amazing you don’t see how fundamentally messed up that is. I posted a simple, brief response to you in order to “test the waters” so-to-speak, and sure enough… you flew off the handle, proving to me that you were the next person I needed to deliver some humble pie to.

      It is what it is. Tone down the attitude and maybe you won’t have to run into people like me occasionally. We are out there…

      • chas territo

        Greg, why r u still writing me? I said I was done. Respect that please. FYI, I drive a purple/grey Ford Fiesta, many B Bills and Sabres decals. Look for itin the Niag.Falls Blvd and the 290, if u want to talk more. I’m an outspoken, upfront man. Most like that and like me. We got off to a bad start. Ok, so be it. Life??

        • Greg Antilla

          Sounds good.

      • chas territo

        On my IPOD, i could not reply to you, its fucked up that way. am on my pc, so, i can reply. Go fuck yourself with a rough cut board. leave me the fuck alone. i told you my general area to look for me if you want to “discuss” matters, we can find a non-public spot where nobody can interrupt our “discussion”.

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