Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the Buffalo Sabres. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.
Summer Skate -- Buffalo Sabres
Sometimes the whole doesn't always equal the sum of the parts. In Buffalo's case, the parts added up to the Sabres being one of the most talented teams in the NHL last season, but for the third time in five years, they missed the playoffs.
After they fell well short of expectations in 2011-12, general manager Darcy Regier took aim at finding better roster balance by dealing Derek Roy for Steve Ott. Questions still remain about whether coach Lindy Ruff can get the most out of the parts he's been given, but adding toughness seems to fit his sensibilities. If he learned from his mistakes last season, we'll see major changes in strategy and a few underachievers return to form.
Trending up: D Christian Ehrhoff
Last season: 5.5 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 7.6
An 18-point scoring drop from the German defenseman's previous season in Vancouver in large part was due to a change in system that asked Ehrhoff to play on the defensive side of the ice more often, as well as playing with inferior offensive talent on the power play. In 2010-11, the 29-year-old posted 28 points on the man-advantage for the Canucks, but scored only 11 for the Sabres last year.