Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Impressions of, and questions concerning--D, Josh Gorges

Published by hockeybuzz.com, 5-28-2018

Defenseman--Josh Gorges
DOB:  August 14, 1984 (Age, 33)
Draft:  Undrafted
How acquired:  FA
Last contract signed:  January 1, 2014, 6yrs./$23.4 million 
Final year of contract: 2017-18

2017-18 Stats:  34 games played | 0 goals | 2 assists | 2 points | -4 | 14:56 ATOI

Buffalo Career Stats:  223 games | 3 goals | 23 assists | 26 points | -42 | 19:25 ATOI

What we wrote preseason:  Gorges was part of a veteran trio that Murray brought in on July 1, 2014 to help guide the youngins through what was about to become a very difficult transition.

As a defensive defenseman with some sandpaper to his game, Gorges was a good compliment to young defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen through those years. Although he struggled to keep pace with the best the opposition had to offer as a top-pairing defenseman, he held his own and was especially adept on the penalty kill. In Buffalo's first season out of the basement, the Sabres finished ninth in the league on the kill with a 82.6% success rate.

Gorges slowly moved down the depth-chart last season, and rightfully so, as the speed of the game began to pass him by. At 33 yrs. old and with a lot of wear and tear on his body after playing years as a rugged defenseman, playing on the third-pairing while also playing key minutes short-handed was an ideal situation for him. He's always been dependable but the game has changed and with Botterill bringing in three mobile defenseman who are more to what Housley is looking for, Gorges looks to be the odd man out.

What we wrote mid-season:  At one point during an extremely rough stretch, the Sabres needed a solid, defensive-defenseman like Gorges just to settle down the entire d-corps. It started in San Jose' as the Sabres were coming off back-to-back drubbings only three games into the season and Gorges got the job done. Of all the players who've played 15 games or more this season, he's is the only player on the positive side of the plus/minus rating (plus-1.) Gorges the consummate good soldier and will probably be acquired by a playoff team for depth. It would be great to see him hoist the Stanley Cup.

Impressions on his play this year:  He never got traded and probably will never be on a Stanley Cup-winning team, but were he to hang up his skates this year, Gorges will be able to look back on a long career of 783 regular season and 68 playoff games. Not bad for an undrafted free agent.

Gorges is a free agent once again and for many in Buffalo, the end of his contract couldn't have come soon enough. It was a difficult season for him and an extremely difficult four seasons since being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens in the summer of 2014. At locker cleanout he told the gathered media. "Throughout the course of this year, especially, it was get to the end of the year, and then when that's done, get away from everything hockey," he said with a smile, "spend some time with my family, get back home and try not to think about hockey at all."

Despite the difficult season for him where he was used very little on a last place team, Gorges remained the consummate professional and still held true to what he was told years ago. "To play in this league is a privilege," he said, "it's not a right, you don't deserve to play here, it's a privilege. Take every day because you don't know when it could be your last."

Questions moving forward:  Will an NHL team find a spot for him?

Contract info via CapFriendly, stats via sabres.com and hockey reference.com.

Gorges locker cleanout video via sabres.com:

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