New for this season, I’m going to write a bi-weekly stats column that compares this year’s Buffalo Sabres to last year’s team as well as this years NHL average across a few categories. It’s still very early on, so don’t put too much weight into this first round of stats, but it’s still OK to be excited about graphs like this:
The Sabres have a winning record for the first time since Monday. However, back on Monday that winning record was their first one since January 24th, 2013. It will definitely be interesting to see where things stand two weeks from now, given that last year’s second data point was only seven points away from their final data point. For now, just enjoy the difference between those two points.
Where’s this better start coming from? So far, it’s the defense over the offense:
A large part of this better defense has been the goaltending. Carter Hutton has looked great and Linus Ullmark looked incredible this weekend. Sabres fans should be very excited about the goalie tandem we have that has been excellent so far:
Back to the goal scoring. A big concern last year for the Sabres was secondary scoring and defensive scoring. Here’s a look at that breakdown, where I considered goals from non top five goal scorers to be secondary scoring:
Not much to see so far as secondary scoring from the offense so far, but it’s great to see that Buffalo’s defense has been able to produce offensively, including Rasmus Dahlin’s first NHL goal. Remember that last season, Buffalo got their first goal by a defender via Jake McCabe on December 5th against the Avalanche.
Hopefully, as the new faces and young guys continue to get used to each other, the Sabres can start to add significant secondary scoring and push their average goals for per game up closer to the NHL average.
Special teams wise, the power play percentage is at 22.2 percent compared to 10.5 percent last year with the PK percentage being comparable at 77 percent.
Overall, so far so good. Again, it’s far too early to say anything with much credibility, but I can at least say for sure that things are looking a lot better right now than they were this time last season.
As the season continues on and more significant data starts piling up, I’ll add different stats compare bi-weekly periods to overall stats, individual player statistics, etc. Feel free to request anything specific by reaching out on Twitter (@Drinkwater32).