With one fell swoop, the month of October has already come to an end for the Buffalo Sabres.
As hard as it may be to believe, we are now 12 games deep into the season. That might qualify as something around ankle deep – I am no measuring expert.
Good news though - the Sabres have had a relatively successful month of October, finishing with a record of 6-4-2.
That is good enough for fifth in the Atlantic Division and currently puts Buffalo in the second Wild Card spot.
A month that featured the team’s best point percentage in a month with at least five games since March 2016 (thanks Sabres PR).
We’re talking the most October wins for the Buffalo Sabres since October 2011, when Buffalo also won six games.
Buffalo closed out the month with a point in five straight games, as well. That is another thing we have not witnessed in quite some time – since March 2012, to be exact.
These seem like miniscule accomplishments but when looking at the grand scheme of things, this team is slowly turning the tide.
Starting off at the top, Jeff Skinner has been as advertised. Did you expect anything different?
In 12 games this month, Skinner has scored six goals and tallied six assists. He has gelled perfectly with Jack Eichel on the top line after a rough transition in the first few games of the season.
Skinner has also accomplished something Sabres fans have not seen in many moons. Through the month of October, his plus / minus is +10.
Yes, we understand that plus / minus is a flawed stat if you are solely basing your arguments off of the stat, but here is something for you to chew on.
The Buffalo Sabres have not had a player complete a season with a +10 or more since Tyler Ennis (+11) and Marc-Andre Gragnani (+10) did it back in the 2011-12 season.
A small victory early on but a sign that things might just be trending in the right direction.
Jack Eichel has also been fantastic, as many might have expected. He closes out the month with four goals and eight assists – currently on-pace for 27 goals and 55 assists.
The biggest surprise of October has to be Jason Pominville and his red-hot start. Pominville came roaring out of the gate on Buffalo’s fourth line and has made his way back to the surface.
This month, Pominville recorded his 500th point as a Sabre, which moved him into a 9th place tie all-time with Danny Gare.
A big milestone is coming up on November 1 for Pominville, as he’ll play in his 1,000th career NHL game.
While on-pace for an unlikely 68 points this season, Pominville can take solace in knowing that he tallied almost one-third of last season’s points total (34) in this season’s opening month (10).
Night in and night out, Carter Hutton has been the Sabres best player. We saw it happen again with October’s final game against the Calgary Flames.
Hutton often is finding himself in the right place at the right time, displaying some solid goaltending fundamentals mixed with an uncanny ability to make a highlight reel save.
Hutton’s performance this month has him on-pace for a career-high 35 wins. A little more consistency from both the offense and defense might make this dream a reality but it is much wiser to take things one game at a time.
While the wheels are still getting rolling on this season, the one major concern for many of the Buffalo Sabres is a lack of consistency and drive.
There have already been more than a handful of plays this season that have not reflected very well in hindsight. The back-to-back overtime losses to close the month have been two of the more obvious examples.
Players find themselves caught up in a bad situation and instead of emptying the tank to get back, a laissez faire attitude has cost the Sabres.
The season still remains young, there are 70 more games yet to be played. This first month of October has been very promising, considering the Sabres started last season 3-7-2.
Buffalo plays 15 times in the next 30 days. The month of November will give us the deepest look yet into what this young team has to offer the rest of the league.