Rebounds. Lack of depth. Power play misfires. Overtime losses.
These stinging words may sound familiar as the Buffalo Sabres have taken a turn since their impressive month of November. Unfortunately, that begs the question - what have they done for us lately?
The answer - not much - and the pressure on head coach Phil Housley and general manager Jason Botterill is only increasing as we creep toward the second half of the season and the trade deadline at the end of February. If this seems like a case of deja vu, it is. The Philadelphia Flyers had their own 10-game winning streak and missed the playoffs just last season.
In their last 14 games, the Sabres are 4-6-4, with secondary scoring almost nonexistent. But, before fans repeat blame on management (remember Regier?), it is important to look at the real issue: players who are not producing based on their projected “worth.”
The elephant in the room is Kyle Okposo. The Sabres organization will be eating his $6 million salary until 2023. Ouch; that can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Okposo has not produced a point in 14 games and only assists in his last 21. During his time with the Islanders, his peak point accumulation - in the 2013-2014 season - was 69 total. As a winger, he is no help to potential greats like Mittelstadt and currently sits at a -5.
Vladimir Sobotka and Conor Sheary have also been tough pills to swallow along with Remi Elie, who may have fans questioning why he has an NHL roster spot.
With the status of the season where it is, a shakeup is long overdue. That means giving Amerks’ top scoring wingers C.J. Smith and Alex Nylander a look or addressing the long-term issue of center presence by calling up Danny O’Regan.
At this point, how could it hurt?