Buffalo Sabres Season Preview 2011-2012: The Goaltenders
Our week long season preview for the Buffalo Sabres continues with a look at the goaltenders for the Buffalo Sabres. If you missed the first two parts, you can get them here and here.
The Starting Goaltender - Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller is looking to bounce back from a less than stellar season last year. Miller finished last season with a 34-22-8 record, .916 save percentage, and 2.52 goals against average. With a revamped defense in front of Miller, it could mean that he returns back to the Vezina form he had in the 2009-2010 season when he had a 41-18-8 record, with a .929 save percentage and 2.22 goals against average.
Even with a stellar regular season, Ryan Miller hasn't been out of the first round of the playoffs in the past two seasons. The reduced workload for Miller should prove well for the goaltender as well. In the past four seasons, Miller has played in 73, 59, 69, and 66 games and during those seasons there were two stretches where Miller played 30 or more straight games. With a solid backup goaltender, Miller could stay well rested throughout the season and that could pay dividends in April and May.
The Backup Goaltender - Jhonas Enroth
Jhonas Enroth is in a situation he has not been in before, coming off the bench. For the past three seasons, Enroth has been the go to guy for the Portland Pirates and finished his AHL career with a 74-58-9 record with a .909 save percentage and 2.64 goals against average.
Enroth came in as a white knight last season when Miller went down with an injury and was a key reason as to why the Sabres made the playoffs last year. Enroth was apart of 14 games last season and finished with a 9-2-2 record, .907 save percentage, 2.73 goals against average and a shutout. He is expected to play roughly 20-25 games this season, depending on how he plays and how Miller plays as well. Instead of riding the starting goaltender, coach Lindy Ruff may just decide to ride the hot hand at the time.
The Americans Goaltenders - David Leggio and Drew MacIntyre
David Leggio is the hometown guy that was able to prove himself under after signing a one year contract last season. Leggio had a solid season as the backup goaltender for the Pirates last year with a 22-12-0 record. 2.80 goals against average and .911 save percentage. With the promotion of Enroth to the parent club. the starting role is Leggio's to lose at this point.
Drew MacIntyre spent last season with the Chicago Wolves and the Hamilton Bulldogs and played in a total of 41 games between the two teams with a 24-11-3 record for the two teams. MacIntyre has been bounced around the AHL for the past seven seasons and even has a little NHL experience with two games played for the Vancouver Canucks in 2007.