Any way you slice it, this Sabres season has been nothing short of a tire fire. They barely have 20 wins, and along the way have seen a long-time head coach, long-time general manager, a goodwill-inducing president of hockey operations, and a plethora of able-bodied veterans leave town. The fun part of the season (aka the trade deadline) is past, and now that they've gotten rid of most of their veterans, the Sabres all but have the #1 pick in the draft wrapped up.
So why bother watching the last ten games of the season? I have to admit, even I've had a tough time watching the past few weeks of Sabres hockey. The team is toast, there's not much to look forward to until the draft, and with an historically bad offense, the chance of seeing some random fireworks are minimal at best. But, since we're all in this together, I give you ten reasons to actually watch the Buffalo Sabres final ten games.
How do the few remaining young guys look?
Most of them are either in Rochester (Ristolainen, Larsson, Armia, Pysyk) or injured (Girgensons, Myers) but it's always nice to keep an eye on the future of the team rather than the waiver wire cast-offs that make up much of the forward group.
What will the goalie situation look like at the end of the year?
Nathan Lieuwen, Matt Hackett, Jhonas Enroth, and Michal Neuvirth will all be competing for two positions in Buffalo next season, and there's ten more games to prove who should be in the NHL come next season. With expiring contracts and Rochester beckoning, it gives the team some flexibility to keep the best candidates in town next season.
Can any Sabres goalie get a shutout?
Buffalo is the only remaining team in the NHL without a shutout after 72 games.
Will Ville Leino score a goal this season?
As of today, we're on 51 games, 35 shots (Ed. note: good lord...) and a grand total of zero goals. There's a $1,000 raffle on the line depending on whether he scores or not, not to mention whether or not THE HIGHEST PAID FORWARD ON THE TEAM SCORES A SINGLE GOAL IN OVER FIFTY GAMES.
Will the Sabres finish with the worst goals per game record in the past decade?
The Sabres need 19 goals in their 11 remaining games to avoid being the @NHL's worst scoring team, in terms of goals per game, since 1936.— Dave Davis (@DaveDavisHockey) March 24, 2014
After last night, make that 19 goals in their remaining 10 games.
Will the Sabres have more than one 20-goal scorer?
On the same note, the Sabres currently have no players with 20 goals. Tyler Ennis is closest with 19 goals, and we're assuming he'll get there. However, Cody Hodgson and Drew Stafford are each within five tallies of reaching 20. Will either become just the second player on the team to crack twenty?
Will any player finish with a +/- of zero or higher?
Currently nobody on the team has a positive +/-, but Tory Mitchell is closest with a -1.
Which player acquired mid-season will make their case for a top-6 spot next season?
Cory Conacher, Tory Mitchell, and Matt D'Agostini have all received top line minutes at some point this season. It's debatable whether or not any of them would deserve it on a better team, but the Sabres are not that team. Who will make the best case going in to next season?
What's the deal with Ted Nolan's contract offer?
We know that Ted Nolan has been offered a contract, but so far there have been no announcements as to whether or not Nolan is planning on accepting or not. Granted, the team is currently on a long road trip, but the last thing a group of young players needs is moremid-season drama.
No matter how bad they are, it's the last time you'll get to see them until September. So why not?
C'mon, it's not like you have anything better to do...