Nathan Gerbe: 2009-2010 Report Card

It's time to put the finishing touches on the 2009-2010 season for the Buffalo Sabres. Here is a complete report card of every single player that played any amount of time with the Sabres this season. The journey will begin with Chris Butler and conclude in almost a month with Thomas Vanek. Thanks to Japers Rink and Mile High Hockey for the inspiration.

It's Nathan Gerbe's turn.


Nathan Gerbe

#42 / Center / Buffalo Sabres

5-6

160

Jul 24, 1987

Contract Situation: $163,000 cap hit this season; heading into final year of entry level deal

2009 Grade: None



2010 Statistics
GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT

NHL Regular Season

NHL Playoffs

AHL Regular Season

AHL Playoffs

10

2

44

4

2

1

11

1

3

1

27

1

5

2

38

2

1

2

-5

-4

4

0

46

4

2

0

6

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

29

6

136

25

6.9

16.7

8.08

4


Introduction: Pound for pound, Nathan Gerbe has to be considered one of the most courageous hockey players in the NHL or AHL. Don't expect that to discontinue because the 22-year-old is entering a contract year; a perfect moment for him to solidify himself with the Buffalo Sabres and the NHL in general. Take into account Gerbe's influential, albeit short, stint with the club this season, and you'll be asking yourself a lot of 'what if' questions.

Key Stat: Gerbe and Thomas Vanek were the only two players to produce a point-per-game clip in the postseason. What if Lindy Ruff had ushered him into the series with the Boston Bruins sooner, rather than wasting time with Drew Stafford?

Stimulating Stat: Both of his goals in the regular season came on the powerplay and he scored more than half of his tallies in the American Hockey League with the man-advantage. What if Ruff had his 2:01 of powerplay ice time per game from the beginning?

Famous For: Doing what a few of the bigger, more experienced forwards wouldn't do in the playoffs: going after the puck in dangerous areas, moving his feet, cashing in on chances and wearing his heart on his sleeve. Oh, and his pin-point accurate goal in Game 6 gave Buffalo life, similar to every shift he was involved in.

Thumbs Up: With his hockey sense, playmaking and combination of speed and shiftiness, Gerbe is a natural hockey player. Excluding Tyler Ennis, he faced the toughest quality of competition on a nightly basis and the quality of line-mates he received was fifth from the bottom. Gerbe's corsi rating relating to the quality of competition was also the best by a large margin and the same goes for the number of assists he accumulated per every 60 minutes. For the differential between goals for and goals against per each hour of his ice time, Gerbe owned the fifth best number. He can ill-afford to be lazy and he knows it, which is why he takes the least amount of penalties on average with Mike Grier. Opposing sides tend to score slightly more than they concede when he's sitting on the bench. Those are many numbers to take in, but they teach you that Gerbe is the type of person who can make lower quality line-mates seem better and that he'll always be a challenging skater to guard. 

Thumbs Down: In the regular season, Gerbe's face-off numbers were disastrous at just 33.3 per cent positive and the Sabres may own depth down the middle, but it's a vital area for all centers and the Bruins exposed it masterfully in the playoffs. Overall, the competition buried a little extra number of goals as opposed to what they allowed when Gerbe played. Somehow, he scored the least amount of goals per 60 minutes, even less than one-goal defenseman Craig Rivet. The plus-minus in the AHL causes concerns about his 5-on-5 play, but he didn't have the same problem in Buffalo and for that, he has to be credited.

Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade Nathan Gerbe on his season according to the expectations you had for him. If he met them, give him a five or a six. If he eclipsed them, aim for a seven or beyond. If he failed to meet them, give him a lower number relating to how poorly he missed the target.

Topics Of Discussion: Will Gerbe run into injuries at some point because of his short frame? Assuming he makes the cut in training camp, could he battle Ennis for the Calder Trophy? Could he be Buffalo's answer to a woeful shootout history with these moves? Realistically, what types of statistics is he able to produce if a full season is handed to him?

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