It’s getting to the point where the Buffalo Sabres have to be getting fed up with Luke Adam. The Sabres took Adam 44th overall in the 2008 draft, but he just hasn’t been able to stick on the Sabres roster. He’s shown brilliant stretches such as his breakout 2011-2012 campaign where he centred the first line and then he’s shown stretches where he doesn’t even look like he belongs in the AHL. The Sabres need the real Luke Adam to stand up so they can either play him or get rid of him.
What we’re seeing with Luke Adam is a kid who’s confidence has been shattered and then run over by a semi-truck. The Buffalo Sabres seem to always be looking for a number one centre and at one point Lindy Ruff decide to give Luke Adam some time centring Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Did Adam belong on the first line… probably not, but he sparked chemistry with his two wingers and led all Sabres’ rookies in scoring. It appeared that Adam was ready to stick with the Sabres and on his way to a bright future. Then Ruff got in the way. Unhappy with Adam’s defencive and “team” game, Adam was demoted to the 4th line for no real reason. Sure Adam had
no business centring the first line, but he was producing and developing his game.
Since being demoted to the 4th line, Adam has been unable to find the game that brought him success and earned him a shot at the first line. There’s one thing about a player being “damaged goods” because of an injury, but when they’re damaged due a lack of confidence that’s a whole different ball game. After being demoted to the 4th line and then the press box, he was finally sent back down to the Rochester Americans. Back down in Rochester, Adam should have been flying high and eager to get back with the big club. Instead he managed only 4 goals in 27 games and was a -2. Last season, Adam played 4 games with the Sabres but scored just 1 goal and was eventually sent back to Rochester.
Luke Adam is a young player with a lot of untapped potential who is afraid to play his game for fear of being reprimanded. Next time you get the chance to watch him play, watch how he skates. His body language when he skates just screams “I’m clearly not good enough” and he’s afraid to do “out of the box” creative things. That’s what happens when a young player has their confidence broken. Luke Adam has, or had the potential to be a solid second line player- the question is; Will he get back to that level?
It’s time for Adam to man-up. Lindy Ruff is gone and his former Amerks head coach Ron Rolston is now behind the bench in Buffalo. This is great opportunity and probably the best one he’s had, for Adam to make the Sabres right out of training camp. Rolston is a developmental coach who has been successful at getting young players to play to their potential. Rolston know’s Adam’s strengths and weakness and should be able to get him motivated. Adam needs a major confidence boost before he can take the next step in his career and it needs to come from the NHL level.
In order for Adam to take the next step in his development he needs to see significant playing time at the NHL level, but has the window for Adam to step up to the Sabres closed?
While the Sabres are entering a rebuilding mode, their prospect pool is full. With players like Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson, Logan Nelson and Daniel Catenacci waiting in the wings for a chances to compete for a coveted centre spot with the Sabres, Adam’s chances at cracking centre are pretty slim. Grigorenko, Girgensons and Larsson are all ready to take the same step Adam is.
Luke Adam’s best chance at sticking with the Sabres is on the wing. All he needs is a chance and look for him to get that chance playing wing somewhere in the Sabres line-up during this “re-building season.” Once he get’s that chance and a re-boost in confidence we may see the best of Luke Adam yet. The Sabres signed Adam to a one-year deal this offseason, clearly it’s time for Adam to put up or shut up. Don’t be surprised if he get’s a chance with the Sabres right off the bat.
Should the Sabres keep trying with Luke Adam or is it time to write him off?