With only three games remaining on the Buffalo Sabres schedule, it would seem easy to say that Makarov’s time will be spent on the bench in favor of the probably more NHL ready Matt Hackett. But do we have to limit ourselves to that option?
In 33 games with the Rochester Americans this year, Hackett had a horrible year, going 13-17-2 with a 3.02 goals against average, as he split the season in Rochester with Nathan Lieuwen. Lieuwen got the call from the Sabres first as he put up far better numbers. With the turnover in Rochester this season – is it fair to count this season towards Hackett’s development? With the Buffalo Sabres the numbers look less impressive at 1-4-1 and 3.2 goals against. Again if you look at the team in front of him he hasn’t, like all other goalies had much help in that regard.
With the wheel of goaltenders currently stuck on Matt Hackett, do you go ahead and give Andrey Makarov a chance to see what you have in him in the pressure cooker of an NHL game?
The remaining opponents don’t have much left to play for and the games have all but turned into meaningless contests for the Sabres opponents as well. The Boston Bruins have locked up the Eastern Conference, and would likely be going full tilt as they try and keep the St. Louis Blues at bay for the Presidents Trophy. The New York Rangers have clinched a playoff spot – but are trying to hold on to one of the divisional spots as opposed to falling into the realm of the wild card teams.
The New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres might as well make a side bet on the final game of the year and say winner gets this years Islanders condition pick from the Thomas Vanek trade.
With nothing on the line – I would like to see how Makarov plays against an NHL team that has something on the line. Playing him against the New York Rangers seems to be the best option for the Buffalo Sabres. With back to back weekend contests however, the Islanders game might be the only game that the team calls on him for, unless something happens to Matt Hackett in the next game and Connor Knapp gets the nod from Rochester to backup Andrey Makarov.
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