Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Is this the Beginning of the End for Drew Stafford?


Lost in all the commotion surrounding the new captain or co-captains of the Buffalo Sabres, was the fact Drew Stafford was stripped of his A by new head coach Ron Rolston. Could this be the beginning of the end for Drew Stafford as a member of the Buffalo Sabres?

In addition to Steve Ott and Thomas Vanek being named co-captains, it was announced that Christian Ehrhoff would sport the only other letter as a member of the Sabres leadership. Ehrhoff appears to have been given Stafford’s A and if I’m Drew, I’m reading

between the lines.

There’s not much you can say to defend Stafford or his right to have the A. Quite frankly the way he’s been playing he certainly doesn’t deserve it, but still being stripped of the A has to be a tough pill to swallow. Obviously when a new coach comes to town they have whatever right to name who ever they would like to wear the C and A’s, but they usually keep the former A’s for a little while longer. Generally when a player is given an A, they’re cemented as a leader of the team and that A stays with them- to be stripped is something to be embarrassed about.

Unfortunately since signing a four-year extension Drew Stafford has been a disappointment and has virtually fallen to a role on the 3rd line and right now that’s where he could expect to play on any team. After being stripped of his A and seeing the new, younger generation and direction the Sabres are going, hopefully Stafford get’s the message that he has to be better. For a 27 year-old former 1st round pick, Stafford has to be better and once again become a reliable player for the Sabres. Hopefully Stafford see’s this as a wake-up call and comes out on fire to start off the year, so the Sabres can trade him before the deadline because right now they can’t get much for him.

Flip to the other side of the coin. Is Rolston stripping Stafford of his letter a way of showing him that his days of slacking off in Buffalo are soon coming to an end? Rolston has made it clear he wants players who will give it their all every night and produce, something Stafford hasn’t been guilty of for almost two season’s. Fans and apparently management seem to be running out of patience with Stafford, it’s time for him to either shape up or ship out. The rebuilding Sabres have no room for dead weight, when there’s exciting rookies playing their tails off to be on the Sabres.

What do you think; Is Stafford being stripped of his A a wake-up call or the beginning of the end for his time in Buffalo?

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Drew Stafford

  • Kevin

    I find his -16 plus / minus (i think that’s what it was) a bit puzzling. here is why: First no other player is anywhere near him. He has linemates! +- is a flukey thing sometimes, they can nab you on your way on and off the ice. Also it only counts in even strengths situations 5 on 5, 4on4 or even 3on3 no powerplay or penalty kill. Or even when you are sitting in the sin bin. So where did he get such a massive #? I say lazy line changes, meaning he is not getting to the bench fast enough for his replacement to take over. Think about it, if he has such a bad # why don’t his linemates?

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Ennis was -14, which is why I made the case against both of these guys. When they were on the second line, they not only didn’t score enough, they coughed up leads, making life tougher for the other lines (especially the first).

  • chas territo

    His time was up 2-3 yrs ago! That’s all I will say!

  • chas territo

    I am no Ennis fan, again all I will say!

  • Nuthatch

    I don’t see it either way. If I was the new coach, I would collect ALL the letters. Then I can hand them out to whomever I deem fit to have them. New coach, new direction. Why would anyone expect him to retain the last coach’s choices?

    • Caitlin Campbell

      He doesn’t have to but usually the A’s stay after he “renames” them.

  • qwicwted

    It will be interesting to see if Stafford is on the 1st line. I am kinda hoping Larsson will be with Cody and Vanek. I liked the way Stafford played the final couple weeks last season – thing is….he needs more of it – he’s a big guy and should be willng to go into the corners, boards and be in front of the net. I would lik to see him turn things around, get his “value” up and then go to another team.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I don’t if Larsson could work with Cody and Vanek because he’s generally just a centreman, I wouldn’t mind seeing Girgensons have a few games with the big boys.
      If he can turn things around and get his value up I’d be very happy

      • qwicwted

        Cat, according to “Hockeys Future”, Larsson is a hard-working, two-way winger who can play either wing. He is a strong team player and plays in all situations. He can chip in offensively and play shifts on the penalty kill, though he has no high-end skill to speak of.
        Actually he can play all 3 forward positions. I know Girgensons is listed as a Center, but I think he has been playing on the wing also. I’d like to see the kids play on the top two lines because Stafford and Ennis have both have had their shots. I think Staff and Ennis need to work themselves back up the “food chain”.

        • Joe Mazurkiewicz

          Don’t forget how GOOD his face off % was when he played this pre-season.He is exactly the kind of player that will be GREAT on the PP or PK!!!!!!!

        • Caitlin Campbell

          ah ok, hadn’t seen Larsson play anything else so my bad. I know he’s very versitle and can easily adapt to any role the Sabres ask of him, I’d just like to see him get some ice time. Stafford has for sure fallen downt he depth charts but Ennis not so much. He’s a speedster who can make things happen with his play, not ready to give up on him just yet.

      • Matt Nolan

        Let’s face it watching the sabres u see how often lines get changed up there are good chances even if they don’t play on a line together by the coaches definition they will most likely see some action on the ice together esp w Cody on the pk now Larsson will def play w one of them and in the preseason he played both center and wing I’m just saying don’t count him out Johan is a bull

  • [email protected]

    I think he has to make a difference this year, or he will be traded for whatever we can get to open up a spot for a rookie to gain experience. I hope he can find his game again.

  • lamarred1118

    Stafford and Ennis are the two biggest defensive liabilities the Sabres have ever had.

    • davidmuscalo

      Yes, of course.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I’d actually put Vanek and Hodgson as bigger liabilities… Stafford yeah I could see that but Ennis gives it his all in every zone

  • davidmuscalo

    I think Stafford is considered irreverent to the future of the Sabres by management. He has demonstrated repeatedly during the past two seasons that, in spite of his considerable talent, he has no desire to pay the price to become a marquee player. Rolston simply ignore him while assigning letters to deserving players. I am certain that Stafford realizes why he was left out; the question is does he have the desire and dedication to earn an A?

    • Matt Nolan

      Do u mean irrelevant?

    • Caitlin Campbell

      he has to be considered irrelevant at this point and time and one of the players that management wants gone ASAP.
      I don’t think he’s got that dedication… he might want it but I don’t see him working hard for it.

  • Matt Nolan

    Needs to go we need to get rid of players who keep dumping it and not getting it deep Stafford and talinder seemed to be in the dog house tonite and Stafford usually is about three times he dumped went for a change and the wings had it almost at our blue I’ve had enough waiting for staff waive him if u can’t get a pick for him let larrson play

    • Caitlin Campbell

      need to get rid of the dead weight

      • Matt Nolan

        After that game yesterday Stafford talinder top two let McBain play on the pp Stafford for larsson and if Ennis doesn’t shape up and start scoring see ya

      • Matt Nolan

        And now leino is out so can’t bench staff but mcbain for hank and hopefully Larsson can kick some ass