A few days ago, on the NHL numbers site, Travis Yost wrote an article entitled "Just how bad are the Buffalo Sabres?" I'm assuming that it was written for those NHL fans who had not yet seen many Buffalo Sabres games, as most of us that frequent this site know full well that this team is terrible.
What Yost's article shows us is that the Sabres are not just bad - they're currently on a pace to set an all-time NHL low in possession numbers.
We talked about possession numbers and how they're calculated a while ago, so if you're not sure how they work, I'd start there. Once you've got that under your belt, Yost's article becomes all that much more depressing.
The article compares the current worst-ever posession team - the 2008 Atlanta Thrashers - to this year's Sabres, and so far, the team from Buffalo is outdoing their former Atlantan counterparts, and according to the article's graph things are getting worse as the season goes on.
In fact, things will likely continue to degrade for the Sabres as the season rolls along, according to the article:
What's even more insane, of course, is that the 2007-2008 Atlanta Thrashers won a decent number of games. They were buoyed by a very respectable 8.27 SH% at even-strength, and their .916 SV% in the same wasn't even in the bottom-ten.
Buffalo, on the other hand, has a team-shooting percentage well under 5%, and their SV% of .923 is almost sure to take a hit if and when the team ships Ryan Miller out to a contender.
With the possibility of Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson, Steve Ott, and any other trade you can think of on the horizon, is there any hope of these numbers turning around, or are we looking at an historically bad possession team in Buffalo?