Thursday, August 28, 2014

(Relatively) Simple math. 2014-15 Sabres team goal projections

Reprinted with permission from

As our good friend and fellow Sabres fan, dadeadhead, may attest to, tips in the restaurant/bar business eventually balance out.

For instance, as a bartender, he might get stiffed on a $20 tab with a tip of $2, then get $10 on a $50 tab and later on he might get someone plunking down $10 on a $30 tab.

Add it all up and dd, pulls in $22 on $100 in sales. That number comes in at just above 20% which is the benchmark for all good bartenders and servers.

Despite the stiff, in the long-run it all works out.

While trying to figure out where the goals will come from this season, and how many the Sabres team may end up with, I took the same balanced approach using simple figures and a steadfast base.

The numbers gathered were from a projected lineup of 12 forwards and 6 defensemen:
Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis, Cody Hodgson, Brian Gionta, Drew Stafford, Chris Stewart, Zemgus Girgensons, Marcus Foligno, Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell, Cody McCormick, Johan Larsson; Tyler Myers, Josh Gorges, Andrej Meszaros, Andre Benoit, Mike Weber, Mark Pysyk.

For each player I used 82-games as a benchmark and broke it down into three columns: Goals scored in 2014, Goals/Season, and Goals/Season over the last three years.

Once again, this is based upon 82 games.

For instance, Chris Stewart scored 15 goals in 63 games last season, but projected out over an 82-game season his total is 20. (goals/games played*82)

Same with the other two columns.

Stewart has played in all, or parts, of six NHL seasons, scoring 115 goals but has only played in 382 games. His career goals per 82 games is 25. (goals/games played*82)

Over the last three years he has scored 48 goals in 190 games. Using the same formula (goals/games played*82) Stewart has scored 21 goals per 82 games over the course of the last three seasons.

Finally, to get a 2014-15 projection, I took an average of all three columns.

In Stewarts case it averaged out to a 22-goal projection for this season, something that's very reasonable.

Using that formula, the projection with those 18 players on the roster I laid out is a team total 204 goals on the season. Which would constitute a very optimistic, high-end number.

To balance things out, one must also recognize that the 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres team was historically bad. They scored a post-expansion era low of 150 goals last season.

Only an extreme cynic would believe that they would fall that low again.

But if you take my projected line-up and use last season's goal totals projected over the course of an 82-game season, that roster would project out at 188 goals. It's a difference of 38 goals over the actual total or about 20% more.

A 20% increase in goals is substantial, even for a team as bad as Buffalo was last season, but 188 is attainable as an adjusted high-end number.

Using the extremes of last years 150 goals scored by Buffalo and my projected 2014-15 team total of 204, the mean is 177, which constitutes the low end.

With a basis using (relatively) simple math and the "dadeadhead/boos balancing principle" (soon to be trademarked,) the projection for the number of goals scored by the Buffalo Sabres this year is between 177 and 188 goals.

Over the course of the last four seasons, the 29th place team in the goals-for department had 188, 186, 188 and 190, respectively, for an average of 188 goals.

So, even if the Buffalo Sabres have a substantial increase of 38 more goals this year than last, they'll still only reach as high as 28th in the league.

That's how bad this team was last season.

2014 Goals G/Season G/Season 3-Column
Career Last 3 yrs. average
Moulson 25 29 30 28
Ennis 22 21 22 21
Hodgson 23 21 22 22
Gionta 18 26 21 22
Stafford 19 22 18 19
Stewart 20 25 21 22
Girgensons 9 9 9 9
Foligno 8 11 11 10
Flynn 6 9 9 8
Mitchell 2 8 7 6
McCormick 4 4 2 4
Larsson 0 0 0 0
Myers 12 11 11 11
Gorges 1 2 2 2
Mezaros 11 8 9 9
Benoit 7 7 7 7
Weber 1 2 2 2
Pysyk 2 3 3 2
188 218 203 204
sabres team 150 161 161
sabres differential 20%  
22% 22%
Last 5 yrs NHL 29th place team goals for
2013-14 188 FLA T-26th
2012-13 186 FLA (82 gm projection) T-24th
2011-12 188 LAK T-26th
2010-11 190 OTT 27th
2009-10 201 CGY 29th

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The nucleus of the Sabres "new core"

Reprinted with permission from

When Connor McDavid came to the First Niagara Center on Thursday, fans and media had a sparkle in their eye.

McDavid and Jack Eichel sit atop a very strong 2015 NHL draft class and the Buffalo Sabres may have a shot at landing one of them (or in certain scenarios, both.)

The Sabres and the OHL's Erie Otters were holding a joint press conference to announce a game on October 22 featuring the Otters vs. the Niagara Ice Dogs at the FNC. Sabres President Ted Black and Sherry Bassin, general manager and managing partner of the Otters, made all the official proclamations, but McDavid was clearly the star of the show.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters to play in Buffalo. Plus other notes

Reprinted with permission from

The Buffalo Sabres and Erie Otters held a joint press conference this afternoon to announce that the Otters will be facing off in an OHL tilt against the Niagara Ice Dogs on Wednesday, October 22 at 7pm at the First Niagara Center.

Tickets for the event are $15.

Sherry Bassin, general manager and managing partner of the Otters called the event "an exciting moment for hockey fans in Buffalo and in Erie. They’ll have the chance to see the hockey stars of tomorrow play in a future NHL home like First Niagara Center. It’s a special opportunity for the Ontario Hockey League, as a hockey town like Buffalo will provide great exposure for the top junior hockey league in the world.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Report: Buffalo to host next two Draft Combines

Reprinted with permission from

When new Sabres owner Terry Pegula was making the trek from the First Niagara Center to the Buffalo News building back in February, 2011, he was walking past years, nay decades, of neglect in downtown Buffalo.

The News building itself had seen better days. The one-time bastion of journalism looked old and worn even before the revitalization of downtown really started to take shape.

With Canalside rockin' and the Courtyard by Marriott shining bright, one would think the owner of the Buffalo News, might join the renaissance and have it's jewel of Queen City journalism leveled for a newer building.

Pegula fulfilled his mission that day which was to call off the dogs. He just purchased a mediocre team and he wanted to give his charges an opportunity to see what they had without financial restraints.

It was a disaster.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Four questions after reading the Sabres preview

Reprinted with permission from

It's hard not to like the NHL's 30-in-30 series as they spend the slowest month in hockey chronicling one team every day.

The dog days of hockey are in August, and writers for have given Sabres fans something to chew on today.

I love what they do. Love how they do it. And appreciate the depth of the articles.

However, while going through all the pieces I was left either curious or confounded in some places. Not that it's any life-altering big deal, but I did come up with a few questions after taking it all in.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tim Schaller: solid choices in tough situations equals a legitimate NHL shot

Reprinted with permission from

For Rochester Americans forward Tim Schaller, making the Buffalo Sabres roster out of training camp just might be the "easiest" part of his hockey journey thus far.

The undrafted free agent who signed with Buffalo out of Providence College last year only has his game to think about as he stands on the precipice of the NHL.

"It's there for me to take if I want it," he said. "From the coaches comments during [development] camp, if you work hard and play hard in camp then it's there for you. If I want it, it's there."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bryan Trottier's bringing a "tried and true" championship philosophy to Buffalo

Reprinted with permission form

With the Buffalo Sabres rebuild now fully engaged in the "build" aspect of the equation, player development is at the fore, and newly named assistant head coach Bryan Trottier will be the focal point at the NHL level.

The seven-time Stanley Cup winner with 1425 points in 1279 NHL games was on WGR' Hockey Hotline yesterday introducing himself to the Buffalo listening audience.

Although I'm sure there's a smile every time he talks about his incredible playing career "at the same time," he said, "the present and future are more important to be talking about right now."

That "present" would be bringing the knowledge of over 40 years in the game of hockey--as a player, in the front office and on the bench--to a large group of young players that constitute the Buffalo Sabres future.

Said Trottier, who fondly remembers his days as a young player full of vim and vigor, "There's a lot of knowledge I want to share with young hockey players. It's a fun time in [their] life, they're playing a game that they absolutely love to death."