Buffalo Sabres 2014 Year In Review


Happy New Year Buffalo Sabres fans and welcome to the 2015 calendar year.  2014 has been an interesting one, so lets take a walk down memory lane shall we?  2015 is going to be a good year, I can feel it, and we will be celebrating our sixth year as part of the FanSided Network.

Buffalo Sabres Record

The Buffalo Sabres have played 80 games in 2014 across the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 season, all under the care of head coach Ted Nolan.  The Buffalo Sabres went 24-47-9 in that time frame.  The Sabres longest winning stretch in that time period is a four game winning streak, that they accomplished in December of 2014.

Of course, half of that doesn’t really matter for the current campaign, as only wins and losses in the 2014-2015 season really matter.  Are the Buffalo Sabres in the standings where you had thought, hoped they would be at this point?

Those that are on board with the draft selection this year are glad to see the team sliding back into losing ways.  Tim Murray antagonists will tell you that the team is better than that, and to stop worry about the draft.

At the end of 2014 the Buffalo Sabres find themselves in 28 place, with only the Carolina Hurricanes and the Edmonton Oilers beneath them.  In my opinion the Carolina Hurricanes are a much better hockey club, and that some bad luck and early injuries have and will keep them lower than they had anticipated this year.  The Edmonton Oilers are a different story, and are just about the laughing stock of the league again this year.  So long as the team keeps addressing all the wrong reasons they are bad, they will still be bad.

The Difference Between The Buffalo Sabres And Edmonton Oilers

There is only seven points that separate the two teams from absolute last place in the league.  You can thank Jhonas Enroth for that.  The only difference between what the Buffalo Sabres have going on right now and what the Edmonton Oilers don’t have going on is the number of additional shootout wins they have, the gimmick point if you will.

Remember two weeks ago when the Buffalo Sabres were either three games out of the playoffs or three games from the bottom of the league?  There is now eleven points between the Sabres and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

With only the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning having played in more games, it is more likely the Buffalo Sabres will nestle themselves snugly into this position, and end up hoping that they or a team above them wins the draft lottery.

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Buffalo Sabres Move Of The Year

I would love to say that the move of the year was removing Ryan Miller from the equation and getting anything for his expiring contract.  With that being an inevitable move by the team, I actually want to credit Tim Murray with two other combined moves as the move of the year.

Trading Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to the Minnesota Wild is the highlight roster move of 2014 for the Buffalo Sabres.  Buffalo rid themselves of two more expiring contracts during a time of rebuild, and picked up a second round pick in the 2014 draft (originally belonging to Winnipeg) and Minnesota’s 2016 second rounder.  They also landed a player in the deal, getting Torrey Mitchell.  It wasn’t the simple trade that netted the Buffalo Sabres future returns.  Mitchell is an unrestricted free agent this year, and will most likely leave via free agency.

To turn around and resign both Moulson and McCormick in free agency is what made that deal the 2014 Deal of the Year.

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Buffalo Sabres Player of the Year

This was probably the toughest selection to make this year.  Here are my nominees:

Zemgus Girgensons – he was almost the hype of being selected by the Buffalo Sabres behind Mikhal Grigorenko.  While Grigorenko’s three year entry level deal has pretty much been a tire  thanks to Darcy Regier, Girgensons is showing you what can be done with patience.  Girgensons is leading the team in goals this year, and has taken Latvia by storm.

Jhonas Enroth – he has kept his cool and paid his dues.  He has played in the shadow of Ryan Miller his entire career and is showing the NHL that he can very reliable back up if given enough starts, or a capable starter if you have someone to share the crease with that is going to win his share of games as well.

Drew Stafford – he is only here for one reason.  He is now the longest tenured member of the Buffalo Sabres.  One would have thought (and I fell into this trap well) that he would emerge as a leader for this team a play like he should.  Same old same old Stafford – playing his way into the Ville Leino of the year award.

Tyler Ennis – the spark plug and bright spot of the team.  The main offensive output from last year and somewhat  year.   The guy never quits, and his feet are always moving.

I am going to go with Tyler Ennis as the 2014 player of the year. He could have easily mailed it in when everyone else had, but became the only 20 goal scorer on the team last year.

Now – it did take him almost all season to get to the 20 goal plateau when elite goal scorers are reaching that level before the turn of the new year, but were talking about offensively the worst team in the National Hockey League.

When the calendar turned from 2013 into 2014 we were talking about coming out of the rebuild and creating something.  While that something is not hear yet, we are on the verge of turning back into a relevant hockey club.

Next: Reinhart Showing Skill In World Juniors