With the variable pricing structure announced by the Sabres a couple of days ago, it gives us here a chance to break down the schedule in a different way. If you only had a handful of games to go to a season, which games are the best value for you dollar.
Value here is determined by a couple of things. First and foremost, are you going to be entertained at the game. The entertainment value factors in a couple things such as the atmosphere surrounding a game; whether the team is going to be competitive; and maybe the likelihood of walking away with something free at the end of the night. The second factor is how much are you going to spend on the ticket. With five pricing tiers that has the cheapest seats ranging from $31 to $80, the tier of the game is going to be dependent on whether the value is there. Why bother spending Platinum level pricing on a Maple Leafs game when you could save some money on their game a couple weeks earlier.
So without due, here is our Top 10 list of home games with the most value. No fear, this isn't in slideshow form either.
10. Monday February 3rd vs. Edmonton (Value Game)
We start this list off with a team that has a ton of potential that only shows up in Buffalo once this season. The Edmonton Oilers are probably not going to be a huge draw but with stars like Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this is a team that should be penciled into any hockey fan's schedule.
9. Friday November 15th vs. Toronto (Gold Game)
It's really tough for me to say that a gold game can have value when the tickets range from $64-185. The Maple Leafs only come to town twice though and the atmosphere for a Sabres/Leafs regular season game doesn't compare to any other game during the season. The other Sabres/Leafs game is the lone platinum game on the schedule which is just plain ridiculous in terms of ticket prices.
8. Monday December 23rd vs. Phoenix (Bronze Game)
If you are looking to attend a game around the Christmas holiday, this game might be a better option than the lone home game after Christmas (Sunday December 29th vs. Washington). The Coyotes are a decent team and the ticket prices are better than waiting until after the holiday. Besides, a West Coast team playing on the road the day before a Christmas break sets up for an easy Sabres victory.
T-7. Wednesday October 23rd, Thursday December 19th, Wednesday February 26th vs. Boston (Silver Games)
The Bruins/Sabres rivalry has evolved over the past few years into two teams that despise each other on some unprecedented levels. Each of these games fall under the Silver category and all during the week hence why we couldn't select just one.
6. Tuesday December 10th vs. Ottawa (Value Game)
When a division rival like the Ottawa Senators come to town, there is more of a buzz around the arena. When the game falls into the value category, it gives the chance to experience the game at one of the cheapest price points out there.
5. Sunday April 13th vs. New York Islanders (Gold Game)
The final home game of the season has some potential because it will be Fan Appreciation Night. There is usually some pomp and circumstance that comes with Fan Appreciation Night and the likelihood of you walking out of the game with something free is greater than most other nights.
The main drawback of this game is that it's the final game of the season and the Sabres are probably going to be out of the playoff race by the time this game rolls around. It's also a gold game so the ticket prices are super high. If there were some playoff hopes, this game would be higher on the list.
4. Sunday March 16th vs. Montreal Canadiens (Silver Game)
The atmosphere surrounding games that feature Canadian teams are much different than a normal game just due to the fact that so many rival fans invade the arena. This is none more true than when the Canadiens and Maple Leafs visit town. This game is the cheapest out of all of the Montreal/Toronto games and it falls on a Sunday.
3. Sunday November 24th vs. Detroit (Silver Game)
One of the newest division rivals come into town for the first of two games at First Niagara Center and this game happens to fall on a Sunday. There should be some visiting fans in the building because of the travel nature of the game.
2. Monday October 14th vs. Minnesota Wild (Value Game)
One of three value home games in a row, the Wild game is going to have some meaning for the Sabres as its the return of former captain Jason Pominville. It also helps that the game falls on a holiday, Columbus Day in the States and Thanksgiving in Canada, so it gives some folks a chance to attend the game. One of the few drawbacks is that it's not earlier in the day to give parents a chance to take their kids.
1. Monday October 28th vs. Dallas Stars (Bronze Game)
This game is has to be one of the more anticipated games of the season with the return of former head coach Lindy Ruff as the main story line. The fact that it is priced as a bronze game helps that out as well. The atmosphere in the building is going have a different feel and if the Sabres do the right thing, there will be at least some sort of acknowledgement of Lindy's presence. The Stars are a young team and the game could turn out to be competitive as well.