Contract: $975,000 through 2013-14, two-way deal that will pay $70,000 in the AHL.
Report Card Grade in 2013: B (link)
Introduction: Chad Ruhwedel played seven games in the 2012-13 season after being signed up after the Frozen Four. After an average training camp, the UMass Lowell Riverhawks captain didn't make the starting roster for the Buffalo Sabres and was sent to Rochester. He continued to be average in the AHL with the Amerks, scoring just four goals but registering twenty-four assists in 47 games. Once the Sabres season was well and truly down the tubes he came up to Buffalo where he went twenty one games with just one assist. He went back to Rochester for the playoffs where he had five points in five games.
While Ruhwedel showed some promise the previous season, he proved to be decidedly average this season. There's some flashes of potential, as he does pretty much everything decently: shows leadership, plays the body, can lead the rush moderately well, registers some power play and penalty killing time, but at the same time doesn't have any one outstanding trait.
Key Stat: Really difficult to pick out a stat as he's decent at everything, so let's try this one - 1.67 shots per game. He had no goals this season for the Sabres, but not for lack of shots. His 5.2 shot percentage for the Amerks would be middle of the road in Buffalo.
Thumbs Up: This season showed us that Ruhwedel is a middle-of-the-road player who has the tools to be a third/fourth pairing d-man in the NHL, or possibly a career AHLer who solidifies the team.
Thumbs Down: The lack of point scoring is a problem. He doesn't have any glaring flaws in his game, but with the Sabres' depth at defense, it'll be unlikely he sees too much time in Buffalo going forward, short of another defenseman holocaust.
Memorable Moment: Ruhwedel didn't have much to write home about as far as highlights. He was on the wrong end of a nasty check to the head from Philly's pest extraordinaire Zac Rinaldo, which was the most memorable thing all season, though there was this nifty assist that resulted in his first point in the NHL.
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 Chad Ruhwedel on his performance this year.