Contract: RFA (made $925,000 this season)
Report Card Grade in 2013: N/A
Introduction: Cory Conacher has been a Western New York folk hero ever since his rise from Canisius College to the NHL, so when he was claimed off waivers this season from Ottawa, it seemed like a perfect fit. However, Conacher has lost his explosive scoring touch, and wasn't able to find a spark during his short stint with the Sabres.
Key Stat: Shooting percentage - as we've seen over the years with players like Drew Stafford, shooting percentage can make a good player look horrible, and vice versa. Conacher's shooting percentage plummeted this season from 16.4% in 2013 (and 33.3% in the playoffs) to a mere 6.9% this season, despite his ice time and Corsi numbers holding relatively steady. However, his shooting percentage was actually average (in a good way) during his time in Buffalo, rising up to 11.1%. Is that enough to earn a new contract?
Thumbs Up: Unfortunately, there's not a lot of good here, folks. Conacher only scored three goals (one an empty-netter) and three assists in 19 games, projecting out to just over 12 and 12 for a full season. Many of his real-time stats dropped off a cliff once he came to Buffalo, despite his usage remaining almost exactly the same, though he does show a willingness to block shots. The one thing that did improve was his aforementioned shooting percentage. I guess he fills the Nathan Gerbe Memorial "Short guy that fans irrationally love despite not producing" category.
Thumbs Down: Conacher saw his giveaway/takeaway numbers and penalty drawing ratio fall off precipitously once he joined the Sabres, despite receiving more than 50% offensive zone starts and sporting a relative even teammate-to-competition quality ratio. His size will always be an issue, and he has trouble maintaining possession of the puck sometimes because of it. Conacher averaged over two minutes per game on the power play, and earned exactly one point because of it. For a forward of his type, his lack of production and 40.0% Corsi numbers this season are pretty pathetic.
Memorable Moment: When your most memorable moment is wearing equipment that's too big, it hasn't been the greatest season.
Voting: We're grading on a curve this year, adjusting for the Sabres organizational ineptitude. So, using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season (for the Sabres) C an average season, and F a very poor season (again, for the worst team in the league) grade Cory Conacher on his performance this year.