2011-2012 Buffalo Sabres Report Cards: Joe Finley
Introduction: The legend known as Joe Finley started with the Buffalo Sabres on October 4th as he signed an AHL contract with the Rochester Americans. He impressed the Sabres organization enough that he earned a three year contract with the Sabres and was called up to the parent club on December 1st. Finley earned legend status with his large frame, 6' 8", and his propensity to throwing down whenever he's needed. During the past season with the Rochester Americans, Finley played in 57 games, had one goal and six points and 143 penalty minutes. That total led the Americans, but didn't crack the top 20 in total penalty minutes in the AHL.
In his brief NHL time, Finley appeared in five games with the Sabres and registered a -3 with 12 penalty minutes. Ten of those penalty minutes came in his first two career NHL fights, one against the Islanders's Matt Martin and the other against St. Louis' Ryan Reaves.
Key Stat: Finley's 62 total games this season, 57 with the Americans and five with the Sabres, is the most games Finley has played in a professional season. Injuries have hampered his development after being selected in the first round of the 2005 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals.
Thumbs Up: Finley has a mean streak and his size helps that mean streak along. 143 penalty minutes in a season is not a career high for Finley, that came in 2004-05 with the Sioux Falls Stampede where he had 181 penalty minutes.
Thumbs Down: While Sabres fans may be drooling over the thoughts of pairing Tyler Myers and Joe Finley together based on their size, it is apparent that Finley needs a lot more time in Rochester to season his game. To Finley's credit, this was his first full healthy season since moving to the ECHL/AHL ranks so his game is going to take time. The Sabres have a few years to work with him as well as he has two more years left on his two-way deal.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how did Joe Finley meet your expectations this season.