Last Week we took a look at the Sabres Restricted Free Agents and now it's time to move along to the Unrestricted Free Agents. The list will continue everyday this week until all the free agents have been covered.
- Patrick Kaleta (RFA) - Read Post
- Clarke MacArthur (RFA) - Read Post
- Andrej Sekera (RFA) - Read Post
- Drew Stafford (RFA) - Read Post
- Max Afinogenov (UFA)
- Dominic Moore (UFA)
- Andrew Peters (UFA)
- Jaro Spacek (UFA)
- Mikael Tellqvist (UFA) - signed with Ak-Bars Kazan in KHL.
#61 / Right Wing / Buffalo Sabres
Sep 04, 1979
|2008 - Maxim Afinogenov||48||6||14||20||-7||20||0||0||0||0||93||6.5|
This post may be the biggest waste of time in my entire life. We all know that Max is not going to be a member of the Buffalo Sabres organization next season. Instead of trying to fill your head with thoughts that he may be back, I'm going to take a different approach to this post.
Max Afinogenov brings more to the table than most Sabres fans and Lindy Ruff want to give him credit for. Afinogenov is an electryfying player that has the potential to make a spectacular play everytime he touches the puck. Although it has never been proven in a competition, he may be the fastest skater in the NHL.
Afinogenov is quite possibly the most skilled player the Sabres have had since the days of Gilbert Perreault. I know I should be assaulted for comparing Max to the beloved Gilbert but it's a fair comparison. Everytime Perreault touched the puck the crowd rose to their feet in aticipation and the same can be said for Afinogenov.
There is no denying that Max has the offensive talent to be a superstar in the NHL if put into the right situation. He has good hands to stick handle in tight spaces, he has the speed to blow by any defenseman in the entire league and he has a pretty good shot when he creates space.
Everything that is right with Max Afinogenov is wrong with Max Afinogenov. Despite having so much talent and so much potential, he has never been able to harness his ability. He always seems to make the big mistakes at the worst times.
Max is a defensive liability whenever he is on the ice. Many players in the NHL thrive in the offensive end of the rink but they don't make the crucial mistakes in the defensive end. Max is not a good defender but even worse is his decision making. Often times he would try to make the perfect play and it would end up in the Sabres net after a terrible giveaway.
Combine his poor play in his own zone with his inability to harness his offensive talent and you have the makings of a failed situation. Max is a one dimensional player and when that one dimension is not working he will never succeed.
The Max Afinogenov era in Buffalo is coming to a close and the reasons are plentiful. First and foremost you can not absolve Afinogenov from blame. His giveaways and overall bad decisions led to the majority of his failure in Buffalo.
It woud be easy to leave it at that and move on to the next topic but that wouldn't be a fair assesment of Afinogenov's tenure with the Buffalo Sabres. I'll stop short of saying that Max and head coach Lindy Ruff butted heads because I wasn't in the locker room to see it. I will however put some of the blame on Lindy Ruff.
Max had two good seasons with the Sabres and that was 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. It was when the Sabres were playing a run-and-gun style offense and Max was paying with other offensive forwards.
This seaon he found himself on a line with Adam Mair or Paul Gaustad almost exclusively. Mair and Gaustad are good players that have their role on the team but they are not going to help Afinogenov succeed.
Afinogenov still has the ability to succeed in this league if put in the right opportunity. He is not without flaws but he was treated unfairly by the Sabres the media and the fans the past two seasons.
Max is gone. There is a zero percent chance that Afinogenov will wear the Blue-and-Gold again next season. Many people believe that he will go home and play in the KHL but I think he wants to prove to Lindy Ruff and the Sabres that he can still play in the NHL.