Seven Questions For The Buffalo Sabres Going Forward

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Jan 30, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Matt Hackett (31) awaits start of the play against the Vancouver Canucks before the start of the first period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

1. Buffalo Sabres Goaltending Woes

One area where the Buffalo Sabres have been consistently inconsistent is in their goaltending. The past two seasons have seen the Sabres breeze through a lot of goaltenders, either due to injury, trade or a combination of the two factors.

Looking at this season, the Buffalo Sabres have dressed seven different goaltenders through 67 games played. The team has seen seven unique goaltending tandems at some point throughout the season, with Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth dressing together for 50 games.

Here’s how the goaltending tandems have broken down this season for the Buffalo Sabres:

  • Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth: 50 games
  • Michal Neuvirth and Anders Lindback: 8 games
  • Jhonas Enroth and Matt Hackett: 4 game
  • Matt Hackett and Anders Lindback: 2 games
  • Jhonas Enroth and Nathan Lieuwen: 1 game
  • Chad Johnson and Anders Lindback: 1 game
  • Andrey Makarov and Anders Lindback: 1 game

The beginning of the season was largely a steady one, with Enroth and Neuvirth as your top two guys. But as the season wore on, it got to be an extremely bumpy road, and that trickled down to the AHL, too.

Through 60 games this season, the Rochester Americans have also seen seven goaltenders dressed for their team. Five have played, including Hackett, Makarov and Lieuwen.

The Amerks, like their parent club, have seen a variety of goaltending tandems this year:

  • Andrey Makarov and Nathan Lieuwen: 28 games
  • Andrey Makarov and Matt Hackett: 21 games
  • Andrey Makarov and Travis Fullerton: 6 games
  • Andrey Makarov and Sam Marotta: 2 games
  • Andrey Makarov and Pat Nagle: 2 games
  • Matt Hackett and Tim Boron: 1 game

Note that, despite the other 50 percent of the goaltending situation being questionable, Andrey Makarov has been a solid piece for the Amerks, dressing in all but one game this season — and that one game occurred while he was up with the Sabres.

Looking ahead, if the Sabres hope to make this rebuild a successful one, they need to get some consistent goaltending. For a while there, it appeared as though Enroth would be the answer going forward… but then he was traded. It appeared that Neuvirth was making a solid case for himself to be the new starter… and then he was traded.

So who’s your goaltending tandem next season? Chad Johnson has a year left on his contract, so, provided he’s healthy, count him in. Lindback becomes a UFA on July 1, and Hackett is also set to hit free agency. Lieuwen, who hasn’t played in months, becomes an RFA. Makarov has a year left, but he seems more likely to stay in the AHL.

It’s just one question going forward.

Next: Who's Behind the Bench?