Top Ten Sabres Between Lockouts: #10-6
The second NHL lockout in less than a decade is still underway with no signs of stopping, so over the next two days we're going to try to figure out who were the best Sabres players from 2005-2012?
The year 2005 was a very special one for Sabres fans; the team came back strong from a lockout, the bandwagon was full, and the city threw itself behind a Buffalo sports team for the first time in the new millennium. It's the season that many fans can trace their fan-dom back to, and it's the year most Sabres fans would agree was the most fun season to watch in a long, long time.
Fast forward to 2012, and things look very different for the blue and gold. The 2005 youngsters are now aging veterans, and players we'd never heard of in 2005 are now budding stars. With the current lockout showing no signs of ending, we thought that over the next two days, we'd take a look not at the best players in franchise history, but the best players to play for Buffalo since the last lockout ended. Today we'll count backwards from 10-6, and tomorrow we'll look at the top five, with comments from some of our writing staff. We know you'll have your own opinions on this list, so feel free to share in the comments.
10. Paul Gaustad
I am not a Gaustad fan, but he made it to number 10 on my list as well. I'm not sure if that speaks for the lack of talent we've had between lockouts, or if I really do have a soft spot for the guy. - Chris Williams
I agree with Chris - were it not for his faceoff acumen, I don't think Gaustad would be much higher on anyone's list than guys like Adam Mair or Cody McCormick. That being said, people do seem to have a soft spot for the blue collar, faveoff winning, penalty killing Gaustad. The fact that we feel like he has to be on this list, but we're not really sure why he's on this list is a perfect example of why the Sabres keep missing the playoffs.
9. Maxim Afinogenov
I actually had Max ranked a few slots higher, because I have such fond memories of seeing him zip down the ice like he was playing backyard hockey. So what if it ended in a foolish pass leading to an odd man rush the other way? I miss Max. - CW
8. Tyler Myers
Boy was he a breath of fresh air in that stagnant defense when he came into the team. There was a lot of hype that accompanied his arrival, and his rookie season was absolutely magical. Sad to see his struggles in his sophomore year, but I still feel this d-man will be well worth the hefty contract the Sabres gave him. - Calvin
Tyler Myers has had a promising start to his career, but hasn't yet progressed into "Perennial Norris Candidate" that most fans were hoping for. However, his potential represents the plight of Sabres fans in that he's always tantalizing fans with what could be, but never quite meeting those expectations. Still, he's very young and will hopefully be much higher on this list when we run it again in seven years during the next lockout.
7. Derek Roy
Maddeningly inconsistent. That's all. - Calvin
Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Roy was one of the most productive offensive players when he was here. While he'll never be universally loved like some of the higher guys on this list thanks to his alleged laziness and frat boy attitude, he was the Sabres most effective center for a number of years, and was a guy counted on by Lindy Ruff to play in all phases of the game.
6. Jason Pominville
I couldn't have been less excited to see Jason Pominville designated to lead the Sabres into the season last year, and under all the pressure, he really had a very good year and definitely impressed me. I was a Pominville hater before, but now I find myself really liking the guy. - CW
Pominville certainly responded well to the captaincy last year, but he's also been arguably the most consistent Sabre over the past seven years. He rarely misses games, doesn't take penalties but kills them with aplomb, and has been good for 60+ points in five of the past six seasons. He's the Steady Eddie of the blue and gold, but does lead the team in puppy dog eyes.
#5-1 coming tomorrow, h/t to our Sharks blog Fear The Fin for the posting idea.