Derek Roy was on pace last season for one of his best statistical seasons last year with 10 goals and 25 assists in 35 games. Then he was knocked out with a torn quadriceps muscle on December 23rd and the season that could have been was quickly forgotten when Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek helped lead the Sabres to a playoff berth.
With all of the offseason moves that have happened and with the spotlight on Drew Stafford and others, how well Derek Roy plays will help determine how the Sabres season will play out. Many Sabres fans want a true number one center and Roy could become that center by continuing his point per game performance from last season. With Roy's injury taking him out of the game before the Sabres turned their season around, some fans forget that he was the best player for the first half of the season and at times was carrying the team on his shoulders.
The question is, is it feasible to expect that kind of performance out of Roy again this season. Looking at prior seasons, since 2006 Roy has averaged no worse than .84 points/game and .26 goals/game which both occurred in that 2006-07 season. After the loss of Briere and Drury, Roy had two seasons that averaged a point per game and scored 30 goals once during the 2007-08 season.
In the past, Roy has played with Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford over the past few years. Stafford had a career season in goals with 32 last year and Vanek can feasibly score thirty goals a season. Those numbers can only help Roy's point totals if his linemates can consistently find the net this season.
Roy's injury should be fully healed at this point as he did return for one game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the shuffling of the team this offseason, whether Roy will play with Vanek and Stafford again this season is yet to be determined, but previous seasons have shown that the Roy/Stafford/Vanek line will probably be the same line heading into this season. Back in 2009, Roy played 19.5% of his time on ice with those two players and in 2010 that percentage was 17.27%.
While the play of Derek Roy will probably not make or break this upcoming season, it will certainly be a big factor in how well the Sabres will play this season.