Contract: $3,900,000, under contract through 2017-18.
Introduction: Defenseman Josh Gorges wore the 'A' for the Buffalo Sabres this season, and was the senior partner for Rasmus Ristolainen on the top d-pair. Last season's stats for the player made for some wretched reading, but then, most of the Sabres were simply awful in 2014-15. The numbers for 2015-16 were much more encouraging across the board, and the same applied for Gorges too.
He missed only five games with injury, and for the most part provided the calming, stable influence that the impetuous Ristolainen requires. Gorges is more a victim of circumstance and is hard to blame for him average numbers. The d-man is at best a second pair player, but is being forced to play on the top pair, matching up on defensive zone starts against the opponent's top lines night after night.
24.13 - That's Gorges' SF60 number, which is defined as Shots on Goal For per 60 (caluclated as Shots on goal taken by a team or player per 60 minutes of Time On Ice (SF/TOI*60)).
That is the lowest for all the Sabres defensemen, taking all situations into consideration. The Sabres have struggled on offense for a few years now, and a lot of it is coming from inadequate build up play by the defense.
Gorges saw a huge jump in his CF% score (Corsi For Percentage - The percentage of all shots that are taken by a team = CF/(CF + CA)), going from 34.09 to 45.29 between last season and this season. A move to the second defensive pairing, assuming General Manager Tim Murray can find a top pair dman in the offseason, will see that number climb even higher.
The player will continue to get slower having crossed that thirty year old threshold. He is neither the stay-at-home defenseman, nor is he a hard-hitting aggressive player, and that limits his utility to a team that desperately needs defensive stability. Keeping him on the top pair will affect both the Sabres and Ristolainen's development.
Gorges had two goals this season, his first as a Sabre came against the Carolina Hurricanes in November.
However, the most memorable would have to go to the goal against his former team the Montreal Canadiens, keying a 6-4 win.
Josh Gorges vs. his former club. pic.twitter.com/UheJsobxOF— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) February 13, 2016
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 Josh Gorges on his performance this year.