Buffalo Sabres report card following a disappointing season

A lot has changed for the Buffalo Sabres in the first two weeks following a disappointing season, so how poorly did the Blue and Gold really fare in 2023-24?
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Jordan Greenway (12) is congratulated
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Jordan Greenway (12) is congratulated / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Sabres play suffered in the offensive zone

The most disappointing play of the season came when the Sabres were in the offensive zone, where they finished the year with just 246 goals or three per game. This knocked them from third place in 2022-23 to a meager 22nd in 2023-24, and inconsistency is the best adjective to use regarding just how well they fared. 

Early in the year, Buffalo had a tough time figuring out opponents when they tried taking the puck through the neutral zone, and you may remember those nightmare performances against the New York Rangers and Islanders back in October. It foreshadowed what was to come, and it seemed like every other game, they either constantly turned the puck over or gave it away either in the neutral or the offensive zone. 

Following their 5-1 loss on New Year’s Eve, the Sabres found twine just 111 times between then and October 12th, scoring just 2.92 goals per contest. In their defense, they got better, with 135 goals in their final 44 games, but 3.06 per matchup isn’t much better than 2.92. Their inconsistencies in the offensive zone haunted them throughout 2024, and they were a major reason for the sudden step back. 

Overall, Buffalo gets a C-minus here, mainly for the inconsistencies and the drop-off. But there were times when you saw flashes of the 2022-23 team, and some of their major contributors from that season, like Tage Thompson, got hotter in the latter stages of the season.