Buffalo Sabres Mid-Season Grades

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Nov 15, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center

Nazem Kadri

(43) looks to block a shot by Buffalo Sabres defenseman

Nikita Zadorov

(51) during the second period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Defense – C-

If you’re going the offensive grade to an F based on the fact that the Buffalo Sabres are the worst team at scoring goals, then why give the defense a “decent” grade here of a C-, when the Buffalo Sabres have allowed more goals than any team in the National Hockey League.  The team has allowed their goaltenders to fall victim to 140 goals.  Thats 140 goals on 1442 shots.  Add in the Corsi or Fenwick ratings, and the defense looks even more porous.

The Sabres have some good things going for them on the defensive front.  Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov have been extremely bright spots on a season of darkness.  Tyler Myers appears to be maturing and coming into the player that the team needs him to be.

There is still work to be done.  Guys that really don’t want to be here beyond one season bridge contracts that brought them here like Andre Benoit and Andrej Meszaros – are only killing time until the point that they can and will get back to the unrestricted free agent market, or call it a career.

I didn’t want to go flat out D here, because the defense has chipped in offensively, and the guys that are playing well – are here for the future.  Josh Gorges continues to be a shot blocking machine, and a solid veteran presence on the blue line.  Despite missing some time with injury, Gorges remains second in blocked shots in the National Hockey League.

The only thing that I would have changed for the defense so far was to have let Nikita Zadorov play in the World Juniors Tournament recently.  Sure it may have been a step down – as he has been playing well at the NHL level, but given the Buffalo Sabres record over the course of the tournament, the Sabres would not have missed him one iota.

Next: Goalie