The Sabres have finished the first half of the NHL season at 18-18-5, good for 41 points which is seven points out of a playoff spot and three points ahead of a lottery pick. There have been shimmers of hope and points of despair that have driven Sabres fans nuts and most often looking to clean house. Let's take a look at the good and the bad and figure out where the team can go from here.
Derek Roy has been one of the lone bright spots on the offense for the Sabres as he leads the team in points through the 35 games he will play this season. At times, Roy was the only offensive player that seemed to care on the ice and the only player that seemed inept enough to handle finding the back of the net. Roy has been out of the game since December 23rd and will not be returning of the rest of the season due to a torn quad muscle. The fact that Roy is still leading this team in points after missing six games is telling of the sorry state of the offense this year.
Ryan Miller's Vezina caliber season last year with a 41-18-8 season and a 2.22 GAA and .929 SV% which was good enough for second in the league in both of those categories. This year, Miller is 16-12-4 with a 2.62 GAA and .919 SV% which is good for 25th and 21st respectively. We as fans should have expected that Miller would have regressed a little this season, but this year's regression has to be attributed to a few different things. Miller was hurt for part of the season and that had to effect some of his play, but Miller still seems to be over correcting for things and out of position more often than not. If the Sabres are going to make a run here in the second half of the season, Miller has to be that top quality goaltender that he was last season.
Whether it be sophomore slump or a bit of bad luck this season, Tyler Myers has not had a good season. He currently sits with 5 goals and 16 points, well off his 48 point pace that he had last year. Also, he is tied for second worst on the team in plus/minus with a -11. Myers had a rough start to the season and his play has gotten better when finding a new linemate in Andrej Sekera. Whether he can turn around this season in the second half is all depends on if that luck is going to start to turn for him.
The Buffalo Sabres Defensive Replacements
When Buffalo lost Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder and was replaced by Jordon Leopold and Shaone Morrisonn, most didn't know what to think about the new replacements. Now that the season is half over, the jury is still out on how Darcy did. Jordon Leopold has been a nice addition with 10 goals, which leads all Sabres defensemen. Leopold has a career high of 11 goals, so this change of scenery seemed to have worked out for him. Shaone Morrisonn, on the other hand, has been downright dreadful. Two points and a -8 in a total of 28 games is not what the Sabres were expecting out of someone who they thought could contribute more on the defensive side.
Where the Sabres are going to go from here really depends on whether this team can keep playing like the current five game point streak they are on. The team appears to have turned a corner from where they were in October and November, but is it too little, too late for the team.