2011-2012 Buffalo Sabres Report Cards: Marc-Andre Gragnani

BUFFALO NY - JANUARY 21: Marc-Andre Gragnani #17 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the New York Islanders at HSBC Arena on January 21 2011 in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

With the 2011-12 Buffalo Sabres ending in disappointment and after a few weeks for us to gather our thoughts, it's time for us to issue our report cards on the season. Over the next few weeks, we'll grade every player that wore a Buffalo Sabres uniform in 2011 and 2012, from Luke Adam to Mike Weber.


G A P +/- PIM
2011 - Marc-Andre Gragnani (with Buffalo) 1 11 12 10 20

Introduction: After posting seven points in seven playoff games in the 2011 NHL Playoffs with the Sabres, many fans had thought the Sabres had found the puck moving defenseman the team had needed in the past couple of years. Added with Christian Ehrhoff on the power play, the thought was that the two defensemen would be a dangerous combination in an area that needed help.

The one problem with that was that besides the power play, Gragnani was more of a defensive liability than he was an asset. His lackadaisical play during even strength was often derided by Sabres fans to the point that near the end of his tenure in Buffalo, Gragnani was only put in the lineup because of his special teams ability.

Gragnani was mercifully sent to Vancouver as part of the Cody Hodgson deal and played in a total of 14 games for the Canucks during the regular season. In those 14 games, Gragnani had 3 points, one goal and two assists, and never made the lineup for Vancouver in the playoffs.

Key Stat: 63.1% That was the total percentage of offensive zone starts that Gragnani had this season. That would rank as the highest percentage on the Sabres this season, with the next regular player coming in at 57.8%. His offensive zone finishes was at 56%, good for fifth among all Sabres players. Gragnani's strengths came on the offense and the power play and the coaches tried to maximize those strengths.

Key Stat 2: +10. The fact that Gragnani led the Sabres for much of the season in plus/minus shows how biased of a stat that it is. Gragnani was shielded by the coaching staff to play a more offensive role and that tends to lead to more goals scored than someone who is expected to be a shutdown defender.

Thumbs Up: Gragnani scored his lone goal of the season on November 12th as part of the 6-2 drubbing by the Boston Bruins. As a shock to probably no one, the goal came on the power play.

Thumbs Down: Gragnani didn't have much support from the fanbase for much of the season as fans expected his defensive play to match his offensive ability. Calls for his replacement were swift and probably warranted as his offensive ability wasn't helping the team in any significant way. Gragnani is still a young defensemen and with a bit of work could develop to become a top six defenseman. With the glut of defensemen the Sabres have, he just didn't fit in the current system.

Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade Jochen Hecht 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.

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