Anyone who has watched the Buffalo Sabres play this season realizes the offense is struggling to score goals. Finding the back of the net has become more and more difficult as each season passes.The Sabres had scored over or near three goals a game every season since the lockout and this season they are averaging just 2.67 goals per game.
|Year||Goals Per Game|
|2005 - 2006||3.37|
|2006 - 2007||3.63|
|2007 - 2008||3.06|
|2008 - 2009||2.95|
|2009 - 2010||2.67|
The Sabres came out of the lockout as a team built with speed in offense. There system worked well when the referees were calling every penalty they could find. It opened up more ice for the skilled players and the Sabres had plenty of forwards that took advantage of the extra room they were given.
As we have moved further away from the lockout the standard for penalties has dropped considerably league wide. After the loss of Danny Briere and Chris Drury, via free agency, the Sabres have adapted a much more defensive style of play.
As fans we are quick to blame the players for the lack of offense but almost every player on the team has seen a decline in their offensive statistics. At some point we have to acknowledge "the system". We have heard so much about the system over the past three seasons that it is part of our vocabulary when talking about the Sabres.
The Sabres missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons and the post game comments from Jason Pominville and Ryan Miller read like a broken record. After every game we would hear "We didn't play the system", or "We have to do a better job playing the system" or any other variation of not playing the system. We don't hear those quotes quite as often this season and the Sabres are in first place.
Coincidence? I don't think so.
I think the Lindy Ruff system works to win hockey games but it is not always the most entertaining game for fans to watch. We all want to see the Sabres win a Stanley Cup and the players do to, that is why they finally buying into what the coach is selling. This system is not designed for individuals to break records, it is built for the team to win hockey games, and for most of the season they have.
After the jump I have listed the Sabres top forwards career stats to gie you a sense of the drop off in offensive production. Tim Connoly is the only player on the team that is averaging near his potential this season. Some players are worse than others but overall you get a sense of where this team is offensively.
|Derek Roy||G||A||P||PPG||NHL -82|
|2005 - 2006||18||28||46||.657||54|
|2006 - 2007||21||42||63||.840||69|
|2007 - 2008||32||49||81||1.04||85|
|2008 - 2009||28||42||70||.854||70|
|2009 - 2010||17||29||46||.742||61|
|Thomas Vanek||G||A||P||PPG||NHL -82|
|2005 - 2006||25||23||48||.593||49|
|2006 - 2007||43||41||84||1.02||84|
|2007 - 2008||36||28||64||.780||64|
|2008 - 2009||40||24||64||.877||72|
|2009 - 2010||19||22||41||.695||57|
|Jason Pominville||G||A||P||PPG||NHL -82|
|2005 - 2006||18||12||30||.526||43|
|2006 - 2007||34||34||68||.780||64|
|2007 - 2008||27||53||80||.976||80|
|2008 - 2009||20||46||66||.805||66|
|2009 - 2010||16||27||43||.694||57|
|Tim Connolly||G||A||P||PPG||NHL -82|
|2001 - 2002||10||35||45||.549||45|
|2002 - 2003||12||13||25||.305||25|
|2005 - 2006||16||39||55||.873||72|
|2007 - 2008||7||33||40||.833||68|
|2008 - 2009||18||29||47||.979||80|
|2009 - 2010||15||42||57||.890||73|
|Drew Stafford||G||A||P||PPG||NHL -82|
|2006 - 2007||13||14||27||.658||54|
|2007 - 2008||16||22||38||.593||49|
|2008 - 2009||20||25||45||.569||47|
|2009 - 2010||13||15||28||.475||39|