The beginning of the offseason gives time for reflection. Time to look back on the year that was, and time to pass judgement on every player who played for the Buffalo Sabres this season. So using the old school yard grading system of A-F, let's take a look at every member of the Sabres this year from A-Z (this will start next week with the regular roster).
These players all played less than 20 games for the Sabres this season. Not enough for us to truly pass judgement on them, but this is the internet, and we can pass judgement on anyone. Here we go.
The key word this year with Bailey has been growth. He started the year slow, but finished as one of the best players on the Rochester Americans. He didn't record a point in eight games with the Sabres, but his speed and strength were on display in Buffalo. He needs to continue to grow in both size and game sense, and learn to become the man in Rochester, but the future looks bright for one of the Sabres best forward prospects.
Full of hype when he was drafted, Catenacci has been nothing short of a disappointment since joining the Sabres organization. He had zero points in 11 games in the NHL this year, but unlike Bailey, he never really had dangerous chances or created any offense on his own. Sadly, it seems his fate is to be a solid AHL player at this point.
Fasching only got seven games in Buffalo, but scored a goal and an assist to go along with a number of dangerous chances that showcased his ability as a power forward. He'll likely start next year in the AHL, and it will be interesting to see if Fasching can grow as much next year in the pros as he has in college. The Sabres really need one or two of their prospects to turn in to a legit top six player, but will it be Fasching or Bailey?
The college free agent had an impressive debut in Buffalo this season, notching four assists in seven games at the end of the year. But will he be anything more than a Chad Ruhwedel-type player? Nelson needs to add some serious muscle a la Sam Reinhart to compete at the NHL level in the future.
As a guy who earned a goal and an assist in just two games in Buffalo, Rodrigues had a nice debut. His entire season in the AHL wasn't as warmly received, with inconsistency plaguing his game, but if he can find a steadier effort next year, Rodrigues has the speed and skill to add a bit of offense to an NHL team someday.
Speaking of Ruhwedel, he only played one game in Buffalo and earned zero points but two penalty minutes. We're gonna go ahead and chalk this one up to N/A.
The perfect AHL call-up guy, Schaller takes the mantle from McCormick/Ellis/Varone as the future "#1 Injury Fill-In". Congrats, Tim.
Of all the hockey players I've ever seen, Cole Schneider is certainly one of them.
Report cards for the regular roster players start next week.