2015-16 Buffalo Sabres Grades: Zach Bogosian

The Buffalo Sabres 2015-16 season featured plenty of new faces that helped the team finally dig their way out of the league basement. We're grading everybody who played at least 20 games for the Sabres this year, from Bogosian to Ullmark.

Contract: Signed through 2019-20 at $5.14 million per year

Introduction: When Zach Bogosian came to the Buffalo Sabres in a trade from the Winnipeg Jets, it was thought that a change of scenery might help him break out of his middling performances and finally achieve the potential of his #3 overall draft position. While I don't think that happened this season, Bogosian proved he can be a reliable second pairing defenseman this season, and found some nice chemistry with Jake McCabe as the year moved along. Let's dig in to his stats a bit to find out more.

Key Stat: The key stat for Bogosian is to look at his season in two halves. Pre All-Star Break, he played 33 games, and scored just 8 points with a -16 rating. After the All-Star Break, Bogo played in 31 games, but scored 16 points and was a +5. Was that due to becomeing comfortable in Dan Bylsma's system, finding a regular partner in Jack McCabe, or simply a good string of luck? We'll know more next year, but numbers like his second half would help Bogosian live up to that $% million contract.

Thumbs Up: Finished second among Sabres defensemen and seventh on the team with 24 points. His pre-game DJ mixes are instrumental to the team's success. Showed he was willing to stick up for anyone on the ice, and routinely found himself in the middle of a scrum defending his teammates. Bogosian has a cool head, and rarely gets flustered with the puck when pressured. Got more comfortable and consistent as the year went along, and grows a mean beard. Was featured in his own episode of Beyond Blue & Gold this year.

Thumbs Down: Bogosian does everything pretty well, but nothing great. When you look at all of his stats, from ice time to shot blocks to hits to Corsi (SAT) to special teams usage, he's right in the middle of the pack, which is a bit disappointing for a player with his contract. Was given the third most power play time among defenseman, but only scored six of his 24 points with the man advantage. Makes head-scratching decisions at times, though he did cut down on those as the year went along.

Memorable Moment: A January game in Arizona ended with a Sabres win and a line brawl. Bogosian was, of course, right in the middle of things, but the image of him smiling and laughing as he escorts a livid Oliver Ekman-Larsson off the ice is one I'll remember for a long time.

Voting: Using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season (for the Sabres) C an average season, and F a very poor season, grade Zach Bogosian on his performance this year.

How would you grade Zach Bogosian on his 2015-16 season?