Buffalo Sabres Mid-Season Grades

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Jan 2, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; NHL linesmen Matt MacPherson (83) drops the puck for a faceoff between Buffalo Sabres center

Cody McCormick

(8) and Florida Panthers center

Vincent Trocheck

(21) during the third period at First Niagara Center. Florida beats Buffalo 2 to 0. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres are exactly half way through the regular season, and with a 14-24-3 record, they have just 31 points.  That is just four points better than the last place Edmonton Oilers, and just three points better than the Carolina Hurricanes, who sit in 29th.

Compared to last season, the Buffalo Sabres should be an improvement over what was the worst team in the National Hockey League, and almost the worst single season record by anyone team.  Last season saw the team only win 21 games, while earning points in 31 contests.   An improvement over last season, but still holding close to the bottom to ensure another year of high draft picks.

Buffalo started out the season slow, but as confidence and chemistry grew, the team hit a bright spot, and backed by solid goaltending during that stretch – the team started to rise in the standings, and at one point was closer to the playoff picture than the basement dwellings the team had grown accustom to.  A nasty flu bug and a bunch of injuries later, and the team has found themselves once again mired in a losing pattern that bears no end in site.

Lets take a look at the different parts of the team, and give each part a grade, as the meat and potatoes of the season gets under way, and teams that are playoff bound look to tighten their grip on the standings, and watch as the playoff picture takes shape.  How will the Buffalo Sabres look as the trade deadline nears, and what does the immediate future hold in the 2015 Draft and free agency?

It hasn’t been an easy season to watch at times, and the roller coaster ride has draft dreamers, tank hopefuls, diehard fans, and positive thinkers all on the fence, ready at times to do battle with one another about the future of the Buffalo Sabres, and what is best for the team.

Were going to take a look at management, coaching, offense, defense, and goaltenders.

Next: Management?