It’s been no secret that the Buffalo Sabres offence hasn’t performed up to par this season forcing the goaltenders to stand on their heads night in and night out. The Sabres are the lowest scoring team in the NHL with just 80 goals through their first 47 games. To put it into perspective, the Calgary Flames, who also have trouble scoring rank 29th in goal scoring, have scored 28 more goals than the Sabres this season.
Whether you want to blame Ted Nolan or players such as Ville Leino for not stepping up to the plate and scoring, the offence this season just hasn’t been able to get the job done. Even Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson haven’t been able to find the back of the net with much consistency and Zemgus Girgensons has just 4 goals despite his strong play.
However, like I said before it’s no secret the Sabres can’t score and if you’ve watched even a handful of their games this season you would probably have figured that mystery out, so I won’t bore you with the stats. You know the offence has been rough, but did you know the defence might actually be worse?
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the mistakes the defence has made this season, such as passing the puck right to the opponent for a quality shot, but the goaltenders seem to be covering up the majority of the defencive problems. In addition to being last in wins and goals, the Sabres are bottom 4 in shots against, Ryan Miller has faced the 5th most shots despite playing fewer games than most and the Sabres also have one of the worst goals for/ goals against ratio’s. What do all these stats tell us? That there is a reason the Buffalo Sabres are the 30th ranked NHL team.
While the +/- stat is one that you have to take with a grain of salt for most players, there are some Sabres +/- stats you just can’t
ignore. We’ll begin with Mike Weber who is a -23 and ranked 282 out of all NHL defenceman and when you dive into the advanced stats the numbers don’t get any better; his corsi for is 373 while his corsi against is 510 good enough for a -3.7% corsi, only Alex Sulzer has a worse corsi % on defence. In all fairness to Mike Weber he isn’t the only one, the Buffalo Sabres as a hole have a corsi difference of -12.7 per 60 minutes. Even Mark Pysyk and Tyler Myers have less than impressive +/- stats with a -11 and -15 respectively.
Another telling fact to the Sabres poor defence is their last three games. The offence managed to net 3 goals, in 3 straight games, yet the Sabres lost all three games. If the low scoring offence can net 3 goals you have to find a way to let less than 3 in.
Now I didn’t write this to be negative about the Buffalo Sabres and their defence or Mike Weber, truly I didn’t, I just wanted to do some research and found it surprising so I thought I’d share.
My question to y’all today is what has been/is worse in your mind? A defence that has allowed the 4th most shots or an offence that has scored just 80 goals?