Buffalo Sabres: 3 reasons why it’s foolish to sit J.J. Peterka

Sitting J.J. Peterka at this time of the year has been a foolish move on Buffalo Sabres head coach Don Granato’s part. Here are three reasons why. 

J.J. Peterka, like many NHL rookies, has seen himself make rookie mistakes and struggle at times. Also like many NHL rookies, Peterka’s game has steadily picked up throughout what has been an improved, yet up and down season for the Buffalo Sabres.

When you look at Peterka’s overall numbers, they are unimpressive, with just 26 points in 63 games. But consider this: Seven of those points have come in the past eight outings. 

And if that’s not improvement enough, we only need to look at three other areas of why J.J. Peterka should be on the same level as Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch, Jeff Skinner, Dylan Cozens, and Jack Quinn. In other words, you don’t sit him this time of the season.

3 reasons it was foolish for Buffalo Sabres coach to sit J.J. Peterka

1 – Number of high-danger chances with Peterka on the ice

Over the last four contests, J.J. Peterka saw more high-danger scoring chances of any Buffalo Sabres forward, per Natural Stat TrickClearly, with the team struggling offensively, you want players on the ice who will best generate scoring chances for your team, and Peterka has been doing that lately.

While players like Victor Olofsson can score, albeit a good 25% of his goals coming in garbage time, Peterka has been the so-called “hot hand.” So why would you go against your better judgment and sit him?

2 – Recent Productivity

As mentioned, Peterka had seven points over his last eight contests, comprising two goals, and five assists, including three points over the previous two. Yet, for some odd reason, when you need to generate more offense because your team had scored just 26 goals in its previous nine contests before the loss to Philadelphia, (2.8 goals per game), you decided to sit him in favor of the struggling Olofsson.

Once again, there is no logic here. You need to roll with what works if you want to play meaningful games for as long as you can. Unfortunately, Don Granato didn’t do that.

3 – Sabres record without Peterka

Want to know what the Buffalo Sabres record is without Peterka? They are 0-5. So while Peterka needs to improve his game, as all rookies do, it’s clear that the Blue and Gold aren’t getting any favors when Granato sits him.

Peterka’s defense has been spotty this season, but it’s better than Victor Olofsson’s, whose defensive play is nonexistent. Peterka also displays a lot of energy when he plays, something we saw last season when he was in Rochester. And during this time of the year, Buffalo can use that kind of energy. Against Philadelphia, they were beyond flat-footed and stale.

(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)

Source: Observations: A big day for the Sabres ends with bitter loss that hurts playoff hopes by Lance Lysowski, BuffaloNews.com