It's time to put the finishing touches on the 2008-2009 season for the Buffalo Sabres. Here is a complete report card of every single player that played a significant amount of time with the Sabres this season. Thanks to Japers Rink and Mile High Hockey for the inspiration.
#52 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres
Sep 13, 1974
|2008 - Craig Rivet||64||2||22||24||4||125||1||0||0||0||80||2.5|
Key Stat: Rivet was brought into Buffalo to be a physical force on the blue line. This was an area that the Sabres had targeted as a need last off-season. Rivet was credited with only 57 its which was 10th on the entire team.
Interesting Stat: Rivet had a total of five fights this season and according to hockeyfights.com he was victorious in every decision. On February 2, 2009 he fought twice against the Anaheim Ducks. He beat Corey Perry and Steve Montador and both fights occurred in the second period.
The Good: When Rivet is on the ice, opponents can't seem to score. He finished the season as a plus four which was tied for third on the team. He did it while playing over 20 minutes a game. He averaged 20:14 of ice time per game which is good for fifth on the team.
He seemed to have perfect chemistry with rookie defenseman Chris Butler. Maybe it was the veteran presence combined with the rookie that made them so good but they were the Sabres most consistent defensive pair. The Sabres scored a total of 14 goals when Butler and Rivet were on the ice together while allowing only 10 goals.
As a team leader it was important that Rivet prove to his teammates that he would be there to defend them. He did just that with his five fights and five victories.
Rivet is always talked about defensively but he adds another dimension to the Sabres offense as well. He scored only two goals and had only 24 points this season but the team scored when he was on the ice. The Sabres scored a total of 2.62 goals/60 minutes on ice for Rivet. That was second among defensemen on the team, only Jaro Spacek had a better total than him.
The Bad: Rivet had his struggles with the puck this season. He had a total of 36 giveaways which was tied for the sixth most on the team. It was his minus 13 giveaway/takeaway ratio that was the most disturbing.
His total of 57 hits on the season was much lower than anyone could have predicted. Rivet certainly didn't back away from pysical contact but he didn't initiate it as much as we thought he would when arriving in Buffalo.
He had a total of 73 blocked shots which was good for fifth on the team but also fifth among defensemen. This is a stat that holds a lot of weight in Buffalo. Everyone remembers Jay McKee when he was in Buffalo and loved the way he sacrificed his body. Everyone would like to see Rivet increase this number to be closer to the top two or three defensemen.
2008-2009 Salary: $3,500,000
2009-2010 Status: signed for $3,500,000
Vote: It's time to grade Rivet for his play in Buffalo during the 2008-2009 season. Every player has expectations so vote based on those expectations. If a player played to their potential they should receive a "C" if they exceeded expectations they would receive a "B" or an "A".
Discuss: Were you surprised last summer when the Sabres traded to get Rivet? Were you surprised when he was named captain? Do you think that Rivet is worth the $3.5 million he is making? Do you see him paying the entire season along side Chris Butler this year?