2011-2012 Buffalo Sabres Report Cards: Paul Gaustad

BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 23: Paul Gaustad #28 of the Buffalo Sabres fights with Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins early in the first period at First Niagara Center on November 23, 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.

Well, the stats widget isn't working, and it would pull up Goose's stats for the whole season anyway, so here is my ghetto representation of his stats during his time with the Sabres this year:

GP:56 G:7 A:10 P:17 GC:6 +/-:(-1) PIM:70 EV:7 PP:0 SH:0 GW:3 S:62 S%:11.3

Introduction: Paul Gaustad's seven year tenure with the Sabres ended this past season, as he was shipped off to Nashville at the trade deadline for a first round pick. Yes, in case you forgot, you read that correctly. Marked as the first player from "the core" to be shipped out of Buffalo, this move could end up being looked back upon as the first in a series of events showing the Sabres moving into a new era. But regardless of how you frame it, Goose's gritty play and leadership will be missed by a large group of fans.

Click on over to read more, and to vote on Gaustad's play this season:

Key Stat: Since this is his last report card, let's look back at his career as a whole. Early on, Gaustad's key stat had to be games played. In the 08/09 and 09/10 seasons combined, he missed a total of 37 games. In 10/11 he played in 81 games and put up solid numbers, registering 31 points and a plus 7. At stages in his career, Gaustad was fairly effective on the power play, but failed to register a PPG this season before leaving the Sabres.

Thumbs Up: Hey Goose, thanks for that first round pick! But in all seriousness, you could always rely on Gaustad to come up with a big face-off, a category in which he consistently ranked in the top 10 in the NHL. This year he finished 7th, with a 57.3%. Even though we aren't allowed in the locker room, it's clear he was well respected by his teammates. He was tapped to wear the "A" many times, and Ryan Miller even spoke up after the trade about being a bit disappointed to see him go. My main memory of Gaustad from this season will be the event pictured above, which I'm sure we all remember. It's a cliche around here by now, but in a blue collar town like Buffalo, he was an easy player to root for. Terry V summed up the feelings of many Gaustad fans with this great post right here on DBTB.

Thumbs Down: It was always a bit difficult to criticize Goose's play. With a 6'5 frame, I often hoped he'd have a breakout year where he would start putting up big point totals crashing the net and wreaking havoc on the power play. His best scoring season here was 36 points, which obviously leaves a lot to be desired for a team that was looking to upgrade their scoring punch. But the main thumbs down is probably the fact that we're done hearing the echoes of "GOOOOOOOSE" in the F'N Center on a regular basis.

Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade Paul Gaustad 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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