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Analyst says Buffalo could be worst team in the East

Aug 2, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Buffalo Sabres v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

Sabres fans certainly know enough about bad luck and injuries, but how could things stack up this season if you evened out the bad breaks and eliminated ? Not very well says author and statistical analyst Rob Vollman.

He’s the author of “Rob Vollman’s Hockey Abstract” wherein he digs into numbers a little deeper than just goals, saves, and penalty minutes. In there he breaks down a luck-neutral way of analyzing teams where luck, injuries, roster changes, and overtime/shootouts are all factored in or out to account for how a team should do.

For the 2013-14 season he projects the Sabres to be a 72 point team, good for last place in the Eastern Conference and only one point better than Calgary overall.

That’s as bleak as an outlook can get but if there’s a way to take solace in that, they’ll have company at the bottom. Vollman projects divisional rivals Toronto to be just a point better than the Sabres. Hey, maybe Thomas Vanek scores 60 this season, Cody Hodgson turns into Sidney Crosby and Ryan Miller pretends it’s 2010 all over again and things go differently. That’s why they play the games at least.

If you want to dig further into what he’s got to say about the season, you can pick up Vollman’s book on Amazon or download the PDF.

  1. buffal0sportsfan - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Where’s this guy from Boston? Toronto? The sabres might possibly grab the 4th play-off spot and will most likely get eliminated in the first round but last really?

    • Nathan Beck - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Spoken like a true Sabres fan!

    • withseidelinn - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:31 PM


      • isithockeyseasonyet - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        The 4th spot? Which 3 teams could possible be better than the power house sabres? I see his point with Toronto being he’s a stat guy and there was a piece written this past post season that had Toronto ranked low in some pretty significant offensive/puck possession categories and was claiming they were the luckiest team (statistically) to make the post season. I can’t imagine the leafs regressing that far tho but we’ll see

    • kaptaanamerica - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      They might be a shade better than Toronto who will be a lottery team again.hopefully they trade away their first rounder for some aged veteran.

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 2, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        Meaning the Toronto team should move it’s future lottery pick for an aged veteran…

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 2, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      The Sabres are in the process of purging all their established talent in favor of youth… it’s a safe bet they will be horrendous. Especially if they move Vanek, their one and only sniper. I mean they have no scoring depth in their lineup, Miller is a shell of himself, and the Dcorps doesn’t have enough NHL-ready talent. They do have a bunch of bluechip youngsters and a potentially solid duo of Enroth/Hackett, but they probably won’t win a lot of games. But add another top pick to their group of prospects and they could be dangerous in 2-3 years. The future is bright but the present is bleak.

      And they should’ve moved Miller before all the goalie starved teams filled out their depth charts. Not many contending teams will have the cap room to acquire an overpriced and aging goalie at the deadline.

  2. zetaone - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Worse than Columbus? Doubt it.

    • buffal0sportsfan - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      What did I do to deserve the thumbs down? Speak the true point of view of a sabres fan?

    • letsgopens8771 - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      Oy! Jackets made great moves in offseason and continually get better! They were closer to the Playoffs that Buffalo, put it that way. Jackets are no longer a laughing stock. They’re a good team.

  3. buffalo65 - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Where did this same clown rank Ottawa and Montreal last year? Truth is, he like all of us have no idea. Strange things happen with low expectations.

  4. s2mikey - Aug 2, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    I’m a Sabres fan and I guarantee they will be lousy. No firepower at all, an over rated goalie with emotional issues, cheesey defense and everything else. Yeah, I know, we got promising young players. They’ve been telling us that for years. It never amounts to anything. Ever. The last time buffalo was actually good was when we had Briere and Drury. That seems like 20 years ago. So, another year of watching crappy hockey being played by crappy hockey players. Guess a trillionaire owner doesn’t equate to winning. BARF!

    • kaptaanamerica - Aug 2, 2013 at 7:27 PM

      The team will be good they just have to embrace trading players at the deadline, like Steve Ott, etc.. for prospects or picks from bubble teams that might tank into lottery territory.

  5. 950003cups - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Those “experts” don’t know the differencr between a blueline and a clothesline.

    Looks like Sabers are going to the Cup Final.

    • bullwinkle88 - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:36 PM

      You might have .00001% more credibility if you knew how to spell the team’s name.

  6. letsgopens8771 - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Worst team in East? Yep. I believe that. It’s a close one between them and Florida. However, since Buffalo has terrible management and fails to give young guys a chance in the NHL instead of old hacks and underachievers, I’d say that they are in fact the worst, since Florida has a pretty good collection of young talent. Playoffs? Y kiddin me? Playoffs?

    • bullwinkle88 - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      You’re talking about the Ruff years. With Rolston, that may change. Oh, they’ll still stink – don’t get me wrong – but I think the youngsters will get a ton of ice time.

  7. buff80 - Aug 3, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Sounds about right. Going to be another long here in Buffalo

  8. billsin20xx - Aug 3, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    GOOD! I hope the fans boo the entire first month, then MAYBE Pegula will be smart enough to fire Regier and to really start rebuilding this team. How do you let a GM rebuild a team three times in 15 year and screw it up each time?

    • shutmdownd - Aug 3, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      I totally agree with getting rid regier, but he didn’t screw it up coming out of the lockout, pretty sure we would have shut down downtown for a parade if not for some terrible luck… I gotta give him credit for getting that team together, still wznt him gone though…

  9. DED - Aug 3, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I’m sure Florida hopes that prediction is true.

  10. MyTeamsAllStink - Aug 3, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Buffalo and worst team could apply to both franchises actually.

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