Grading the Sabres: 2013 report card, Part II

The defensemen and goaltenders get to share the spotlight in the second portion of my Sabres season grades. As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments section.

Tyler Myers: Oh, where to begin? Myers was downright bad to begin the year before leveling out at midseason. He looked out of shape and lost most of the time and his play suffered for it. Considering the salary he is being paid, his contributions are especially frightening. Before his injury he was only okay and you could certainly say the defensive play was better without him. Yikes. Grade: C-

Christian Ehrhoff: Ehrhoff finished off another strong year in which he remained Buffalo’s best defenseman. He hasn’t blown up the scoresheet like some expected, but his powerplay time has changed from the Sedins to any number of players in blue and gold. Still, there’s a lot to like about Ehrhoff and he will be around for a long time. Grade: A-

Andrej Sekera: Everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Sekera actually wasn’t bad at all this season. He quietly goes about his business and plays steady hockey. I’m not a huge fan of his but I can’t deny that he has been a solid contributor in his own end all year. Grade: B

Mike Weber: Steve Ott’s arrival may just be the best thing for Weber’s career you could ask for. Weber is beginning to evolve into a leader, plays a gritty nasty game that is almost entirely absent on this roster. His puck skills aren’t very good, but as a defender there is a lot to like. He may still be on the rise for this squad. Grade: B-

Jordan Leopold: Leopold was downright awful for most of the season. It is too bad because he had two great years prior to this one. Good on Darcy to get a solid return for him and I hope he has a nice run for St. Louis before hitting the market. Grade: C

Robyn Regehr: I was a fan of Regehr’s even though he was painfully slow at times. He is rugged, nasty and steady. Getting two second round picks was phenomenal return and Darcy should be commended for that. Grade: B-

Alexander Sulzer: Despite scoring a few goals I’d argue that Sulzer was not as impressive as he was after the deadline last year. He was a little uneasy in his own end and looked much more like an extra defenseman than one who deserves a regular spot in the top six. Grade: C

Adam Pardy: Pardy was a late recall and may just have deserved a spot over Sulzer even though he doesn’t offer much offensively. Like Weber, Pardy was steady and physical each night. He certainly won’t be back in Buffalo next year, but he wasn’t bad while he was around. Grade: C+

Mark Pysyk: Very much like Brayden McNabb impressed during his recall last season, Pysyk demonstrated a steady presence during his 19-game audition. Pysyk is a dynamic player who the Sabres are lucky to have (I think). He is the exact kind of two-way defender they want and showed that in his brief stint. Next year will be interesting to watch. Grade: B

Chad Ruhwedel: Ruhwedel only got into seven games, so he’s very much a work in progress. For a guy stepping right from the Frozen Four into the NHL, he was impressive. Let’s see what he can do with a full season. Grade: Incomplete

TJ Brennan: Brennan only got into a few games before getting shipped out of town and I didn’t think he showed all that much. Comparing him to Mark Pysyk, I think the Sabres were much better off with Pysyk in the lineup than Brennan. Grade: Incomplete

Goaltenders

 

Ryan Miller: I’d have to say Miller had a pretty average season. Early on (and the rest of the year) he was subject to a firing range as Buffalo just couldn’t play team defense to save their lives. However, Miller wasn’t able to carry over his great even strength numbers (EV SV% same as his Vezina year) to the special teams units. His relatively average shorthanded and power play numbers combined with the most shots in the league worked against Miller. He had two ugly outings (Rangers and at Montreal) from which he was pulled and a few others where he just didn’t have it. I can’t blame him for the season as he still played very good hockey. If you disagree, I’d love to sit down and watch the tape. Grade: B-

Jhonas Enroth: Enroth started to come into his own at the end of the season and certainly looked like he was ready to take the next step in his career. However, all of his flaws were on full display at the beginning of the season. Overall he didn’t bring all that much to the season as he wasn’t worth extra points at the start of the year and his late run was futile in the grand scheme of things. I certainly wouldn’t say he outperformed his teammate, but I’m comfortable putting the pair of the same level. His end of the year numbers really boosted his overall resume and gave me some faith that he could take on an increased workload in the very near future. Still, he doesn’t just have a propensity for weak goals but weak games. Without seeing him as a fulltime starter it is hard to say how that will translate. Grade: B-

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