Vanek, Ott, Foligno Among Sabres League Leaders
Earlier today, we wrote about the Sabres being the worst team in the league in the second period. To pull you out of your spiraling Buffalo hockey depression, let's talk about some Buffalo players who are among the league leaders in various categories.
The Buffalo Sabres as a team currently site in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, but they have a few players who sit #1 or close to it in various statistical categories.
The one you probably already know about, and the one that's had the biggest impact on the team, of course, is Thomas Vanek's league lead in both goals and points. After a two point night yesterday, Vanek's 12 goals and 25 points rank him one each ahead of James Neal and Sidney Crosby, respectively. Atlas has been remarkably consistent this season, scoring in all but four of the Sabres games.
In addition to his goal and points, Vanek also leads the NHL in takeaways, which is a credit to his positioning and Hockey IQ. For a player who was frequently benched his rookie year for not being defensively responsible, that stat shows just how much Vanek has grown as a player under Lindy Ruff.
Steve Ott was brought in to bring toughness and grit to the Sabres, and his league-leading 64 hits are a testament to his success in that area. Ott's eleven hits against the Bruins on Friday were the most by a Sabres player since Paul Gaustad's eleven in the Winter Classic back in 2008.
Finally, another player to keep an eye on this season is Marcus Foligno. The big winger still qualifies as a rookie this year, and deserves to be mentioned in the Calder race thanks to his eight points (tied for sixth among rookies), seven assists (tied for second), and 39 hits (third). He's five point behind Canisius College grad and Tampa Bay rookie Cory Conacher, but if his line can find the lightning they captured last year, Foligno could potentially look to challenge for the Calder.