With the 2011-12 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 to .
|2011 - Drew Stafford||80||20||30||50||5||46||3||1||4||226|
Introduction: I had high hopes for Stafford this season. After registering 31 goals in just 62 games last season (52 points), Stafford was handsomely rewarded with a 4 year, $16 million contract. After the disappointing first half of the season Fu Man Drew had, it may have appeared the Sabres overpaid him. However, there were some encouraging signs down the stretch to show that Stafford can still be placed in the group of promising, young talent the Sabres have.
Key Stat: Not that assists are a bad thing, but Stafford should be focusing more on finding the back of the net himself than setting up his teammates. His 30 assists to 20 goals is almost an exact flip flip of last year's numbers (21 assists, 31 goals). For a player that took the second most shots on the Sabres, but finished with only an 8.8% shooting percentage, putting him around the middle of the pack on the team, it's an eye opening stat. Of course one of the causes of this was the carousel of line changes that Stafford faced. It wasn't until Drew found himself paired up with Tyler Ennis that he began to find his groove again.
Thumbs Up: I got a bit ahead of myself above, since the thumbs up point of Stafford's game has to be potential of his future working with Tyler Ennis. Stafford tallied 17 points in the last 13 games, including 7 goals. The EnniStafFoligno line was one of the hottest in hockey down the stretch, almost single handedly propelling the Sabres from the cellar into the playoffs. Seeing if this chemistry can continue is one of the most exciting story lines going into next season.
Thumbs Down: After teasing Sabres fans with the "Fu Man Drew" video, Drew's funny side seemed to turn serious once the season began. Sure, that's not a bad thing, but I'm one person that likes to see a flash of personality from athletes once in a while. They are human after all.
Voting: On a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest and ten being the highest, grade Drew Stafford 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.
This is one player I'm very interested to see the outcome of. Was his late season performance enough to up his grade?