2011-2012 Buffalo Sabres Report Cards: Nathan Gerbe

With the 2011-12 Buffalo Sabres ending in disappointment and after a few weeks for us to gather our thoughts, it's time for us to issue our report cards on the season. Over the next few weeks, we'll grade every player that wore a Buffalo Sabres uniform in 2011 and 2012, from Luke Adam to Mike Weber.

2011 - Nathan Gerbe 62 6 19 25 2 32 0 0 2 137 4.4%

Introduction: Nathan Gerbe has always been a fan favorite in Buffalo, a city that loves to root for the underdog, the big heart, and - in this case quite literally - the little guy. However, Gerbe has failed to live up to his lofty collegiate accomplishments while playing in the NHL. 2012 was another year filled with injury and disappointment for the diminutive forward from Boston College, but let's look at things a bit more in depth after the break.

Key Stat: Nathan Gerbe was sixth on the team in shots attempted, and that number happens to be how many goals he scored - 6. Gerbe's abysmal shooting percentage of 4.4% ranked 20th on the team, just ahead of offensive superstars Brayden McNabb and Matt Ellis. For a guy who takes so many shots, even raising his shooting percentage to 10% (close to Jochen Hecht and Ville Leino) would put him near the 20 goal mark and would elevate him to more than just a fourth line hustler.

Thumbs Up: It's cliched, but even though Gerbe is the smallest player on the team, he seems to have the biggest heart. Nobody works harder or gives more on the ice than he does, and Buffalo fans will always appreciate that. Ranked 9th on the team with 53 hits, and is more willing to get in the faces of his opponents than many of his teammates are. Gerbe has good short-line quickness (but not great speed) and his short stature combined with quick hands make him effective along the boards.

Thumbs Down: Gerbe is strictly an even-strength guy - he doesn't really play on the power play or the penalty kill. Is unwilling or unable to block shots, blocking only 13 all season. We've covered the dismal shooting percentage above, but his 6 goals are still a disappointment. Had more giveaways (18) than takeaways (17) this season. Finally, Gerbe remains the shortest player in the league at 5'5''.

Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade Nathan Gerbe on his season according to the expectations you had for him. If he met them, give him a five or a six. If he eclipsed them, aim for a seven or beyond. If he failed to meet them, give him a lower number relating to how poorly he missed the target.

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how would you rate Nathan Gerbe for his 2011-12 season?