The Buffalo Sabres season hasn't been a very good one if you're looking at the standings. Despite a massive influx of talent, the team currently sits in 29th place, just a bit ahead of last season's horrendous pace. We can debate for days about exactly why that is, from disappointing seasons from key contributors to a tough schedule, but one factor that the team can point to is injury.
Buffalo is currently second in the NHL in man games lost with 171, just six behind league leading Edmonton. The big injury contributing to that total is goaltender Robin Lehner, who injured himself in game one and is just now starting to get back on the ice in Rochester, missing the last 39 games.
The Sabres defense has also been greatly impacted by the injury bug this season. Mark Pysyk has missed 22 games, Zach Bogosian missed the first 17 games of the season with a lower body injury, and Mike Weber sat out 13 games thanks to a knee injury. Pysyk and Bogosian are a solid second pairing, and to not have either of them on the ice depletes the blue line depth in a significant way.
As for the forwards, key injuries to top-six players like Evander Kane and Tyler Ennis have meant that Buffalo has had to rely on their depth at times, and their poor showing so far demonstrates how shallow that depth actually is. Ongoing injuries to Ennis (week-to-week) and Nic Deslauriers (3-5 weeks) means that the number of man games lost will only continue to increase, and the Sabres will need to hope that some of their more disappointing players can step up to help fill the void.
Every team has injuries, but for a top-heavy team like Buffalo, those injuries can impact them more than other teams. The Red Wings, for example, are third in man games lost, but still hold a playoff spot because they get contributions from every line in addition to their stars.
Buffalo needs to get healthy and hope that the injury bug stops striking so frequently, but health is only one piece of the puzzle in the ongoing attempt to turn this ship around. Which injury has hurt the team most? Give us your thoughts in the comments.