2015-16 Season Recap

2015-16 Recap

“A Season of Progress” (Click to Enlarge)

Top Team Notes:

  • Buffalo’s points percentage improvement of .165 from the 2014-15 season is the second-best points percentage improvement in franchise history. The franchise record is a .237 improvement from 1971-72 (.327) to 1972-73 (.564).
  • The Sabres’ shot differential improvement of 10.3 shots per game in 2015-16 was the biggest single-season improvement by any NHL team since the NHL began tracking shots in 1987-88. The previous best improvement was Washington in 2007-08 (8.8 shots per game).
  • The Sabres went 7-4-4 (.600) in March, making it the team’s best month since April 2013 (8-4-0), and then topped that with a 3-1-0 (.750) record in April.
  • The Sabres finished the season with a 6-3-2 record in their 11 afternoon games.
  • A franchise-record nine players made their Sabres regular-season debuts in the team’s season-opener on Oct. 8 vs. Ottawa. The team had a total of 18 players appear in their first games for the team in 2015-16, including all four goaltenders.
  • The Sabres had four 20-goal scorers this season, each aged 25 or younger: Jack Eichel (24), Sam Reinhart (23), Ryan O’Reilly (21) and Evander Kane (20). It is the first time the Sabres have had four players in their age 25 seasons or younger score 20 goals since 1987-88 (Dave Andreychuk, Phil Housley, Christian Ruuttu and Ray Sheppard).
  • The Sabres outshot their opponents in 35 of 82 games this season, posting a 12-19-4 record in those games. Last season, the team finished the season 5-5-0 in 10 total games when outshooting their opponents.
  • The Sabres led their opponents in even-strength shot attempts (corsi) in 30 of the team’s 82 games this season, going 13-13-4 in those games. Buffalo only led their opponents in even-strength shot attempts eight times throughout the entire 2014-15 season, going 3-5-0 in those eight games.

Top Player Notes:

Justin Bailey

  • Justin Bailey recorded seven shots in his first NHL game, becoming the first Buffalo Sabre to do so since Alexander Mogilny

Zach Bogosian

  • With an average ice time of 23:24 per game in his 85 games played since joining the Sabres last season, Zach Bogosian owns the third-highest average ice time ever recorded by a Sabres player, trailing only Alexei Zhitnik (531 GP, 25:32) and Christian Ehrhoff (192 GP, 23:55). (The NHL began tracking ice time in the 1997-98 season)

Jack Eichel

  • With 24 goals this season, Jack Eichel became the first Sabres rookie to lead the team in goals since Ray Sheppard (1987-88). Only six other Sabres rookies have scored more: Rick Martin (44), Gilbert Perreault (38), Ray Sheppard (38), Danny Gare (31), Donald Audette (31) and Thomas Vanek (25).
  • Jack Eichel (24) and Sam Reinhart (23) combined for 47 goals this season. It was the second-highest total by a pair of rookies on the same team since the 2005-06 season. The only rookie duo with more goals was Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal (62 goals in 2006-07). Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in (45 goals in 2007-08) ranked third.
  • Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart are now the third pair of Sabres rookies ever to record 20 goals in the same season, joining Danny Gare (31) and Peter McNab (22) in 1974-75 and Gilbert Perreault (38) and Steve Atkinson (20) in 1970-71.
  • Jack Eichel became the ninth Sabres rookie to record 50 points in a season in franchise history and the youngest to do so since Phil Housley (1982-83), tying Derek Plante (1993-94) for seventh-most points (56) by a Sabres rookie.
  • Jack Eichel (56) and Sam Reinhart (42) are also the first pair of Sabres rookies to each hit the 35-point mark since three Sabres rookies did so in 1987-88: Ray Sheppard (65), Pierre Turgeon (42) and Calle Johansson (42)
  • Jack Eichel’s average ice time of 19:07 was the ninth-highest ever recorded by a rookie forward and the highest ever by Sabres rookie forward, topping the next highest (Cody Hodgson- 20 GP, 17:16) by nearly two minutes. (The NHL began tracking ice time in the 1997-98 season)
  • Jack Eichel ranked second among all Sabres and led all NHL rookies with 238 shots this season. Danny Gare (274 in 1974-75) and Rick Martin (266 in 1971-72) were the only two Sabres rookies ever to record more shots than Eichel’s rookie total. Since the league began denoting rookies in 1987-88, only 11 NHL rookies have recorded more shots on goal in a season than Eichel’s 238.
  • With his goal on Oct. 8 vs. Ottawa, Jack Eichel became the third-youngest player in Sabres history to score in his debut and the second-youngest player ever to score in a Sabres season-opener.
  • With his goal on March 7 at Toronto, Jack Eichel (19 years, 131 days) became the youngest 20-goal scorer in Sabres history, besting Pierre Turgeon (19 years, 140 days on Jan. 15, 1989) by nine days.

Hudson Fasching

  • With his goal on March 26 vs. Winnipeg, Hudson Fasching became the first Sabre to score on his first shot in his NHL debut since Zemgus Girgensons (10/2/13 at DET).
  • On March 26 vs. Winnipeg, Hudson Fasching (goal) and Casey Nelson (assist) became the first pair of Sabres to each record his first career point on the same goal in their NHL debuts since Alexander Mogilny and Dave Snuggerud (10/5/89 vs. QUE).

Brian Gionta

  • With his appearance on Feb. 16 at Ottawa, Brian Gionta became the 51st American born player to appear in 900 career games.
  • Brian Gionta tallied his 49th career game-winner vs. NYI (4/9), tying Phil Housley for 14th-most career game-winning goals by an American player.

Chad Johnson

  • Chad Johnson earned his 20th win of the season on March 31 vs. Toronto, becoming the first Sabres goaltender to win 20 games since Ryan Miller in 2011-12.
  • With a career-high 44 saves on Dec. 17 vs. Anaheim, Chad Johnson broke the Sabres’ franchise record for most saves in a shutout (Ryan Miller, 43 – Feb. 29, 2012 at Anaheim).

Evander Kane

  • Ryan O’Reilly (21:44) led all NHL forwards in average ice time per game and Evander Kane (21:02) ranked second. The pair currently own the two highest average career ice times by Sabres forwards. Michael Peca (20:18) is the only other forward with an average over 20 minutes.
  • Evander Kane led all Sabres and ranked 10th in the NHL with 271 shots this season despite missing 17 games to injury.  Kane’s 271 shots rank 11th in franchise history and his 4.2 shots per game rank fourth in franchise history behind only Alexander Mogilny (4.68 in 1992-93), Rick Martin (4.43 in 1974-75) and Dave Andreychuk (4.21 in 1991-92).

Johan Larsson

  • Five of Johan Larsson’s 10 goals this season were game-winners.

Casey Nelson

  • On March 26 vs. Winnipeg, Hudson Fasching (goal) and Casey Nelson (assist) became the first pair of Sabres to each record his first career point on the same goal in their NHL debuts since Alexander Mogilny and Dave Snuggerud (10/5/89 vs. QUE).

Cal O’Reilly

  • With Cal O’Reilly’s Sabres debut on Dec. 15 vs. New Jersey, he and Ryan O’Reilly became the first siblings to play together for the Sabres since Bob and J.F. Sauve, who played together from 1980-81 to 1982-83.
  • Cal O’Reilly’s first goal on March 31 vs. Toronto (assisted by Ryan O’Reilly) marked the first time in Sabres history that two brothers have combined on a goal.

Ryan O’Reilly

  • With a team-high 60 points, Ryan O’Reilly became the 13th Sabres player to record at least 60 points in his first season with the team and the first since Pat LaFontaine (1991-92).
  • Ryan O’Reilly (21:44) led all NHL forwards in average ice time per game and Evander Kane (21:02) ranked second. The pair currently own the two highest average career ice times by Sabres forwards. Michael Peca (20:18) is the only other forward with an average over 20 minutes.
  • With Cal O’Reilly’s Sabres debut on Dec. 15 vs. New Jersey, he and Ryan O’Reilly became the first siblings to play together for the Sabres since Bob and J.F. Sauve, who played together from 1980-81 to 1982-83.
  • Cal O’Reilly’s first goal on March 31 vs. Toronto (assisted by Ryan O’Reilly) marked the first time in Sabres history that two brothers have combined on a goal.

Sam Reinhart

  • Jack Eichel (24) and Sam Reinhart (23) combined for 47 goals this season. It was the second-highest total by a pair of rookies on the same team since the 2005-06 season. The only rookie duo with more goals was Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal (62 goals in 2006-07). Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in (45 goals in 2007-08) ranked third.
  • Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart are now the third pair of Sabres rookies ever to record 20 goals in the same season, joining Danny Gare (31) and Peter McNab (22) in 1974-75 and Gilbert Perreault (38) and Steve Atkinson (20) in 1970-71.
  • Jack Eichel (56) and Sam Reinhart (42) are also the first pair of Sabres rookies to each hit the 35-point mark since three Sabres rookies did so in 1987-88: Ray Sheppard (65), Pierre Turgeon (42) and Calle Johansson (42)
  • Sam Reinhart recorded his first career hat trick on Jan. 10 at Winnipeg, becoming the first Sabres rookie to record a hat trick since Jason Pominville did so vs. Los Angeles (1/14/06).

Rasmus Ristolainen

  • Rasmus Ristolainen ranked 10th in the NHL with an average ice time of 25:16 per game. Only Alexei Zhitnik (four times) has averaged more minutes per game in a full season with the Sabres.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen became the first Sabres defenseman to record 19 points in a 20-game span (Nov. 7 to Dec. 17) since Garry Galley did so from Feb. 21, 1996 to April 3, 1996.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen’s game-winner at 19:43 of the third period on Nov. 7 vs. Vancouver was the Sabres’ latest regulation game-winning goal since Mike Grier scored at 19:55 of the third period on March 11, 2006 at Philadelphia.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen ranked third among all Sabres and ninth among all NHL defensemen with 202 shots this season. Only four other Sabres defenseman have logged at least 200 shots in a season: Jocelyn Guevremont (1975-76, 1976-77), Phil Housley (1983-84, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1989-90), Jerry Korab (1974-75, 1977-78 and 1978-79) and John Van Boxmeer (1980-81).

Linus Ullmark

  • Linus Ullmark appeared in 20 games this season, becoming the 11th rookie goaltender in franchise history to do so.
  • With his first NHL win on Oct. 30 vs. Philadelphia, Linus Ullmark (22 years, 92 days) became the youngest goaltender to earn a win for the Sabres since Mika Noronen (21 years, 111 days) on did so on Oct. 5, 2000 vs. Chicago.
  • With four straight starts from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5, Linus Ullmark became the first goaltender to make four straight team starts in his first NHL season since Ryan Miller started five in a row from Dec. 31, 2002 to Jan. 10, 2003.

End-of-Season Press Conference:
Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma

Locker Room Clean-Out Interviews:
Jack Eichel
Tyler Ennis
Hudson Fasching
Marcus Foligno
Brian Gionta
Josh Gorges
Chad Johnson
Evander Kane
Robin Lehner
Ryan O’Reilly
Rasmus Ristolainen
Sam Reinhart

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10:
3-7-0 (6), 23/32, 9/35, 19/27
11-20: 5-3-2 (12), 21/21, 5/27, 23/29
21-30: 4-5-1 (9), 29/28, 8/29, 20/23
31-40: 3-6-1 (7), 20/27, 4/35, 17/21
41-50: 5-5-0 (10), 22/26, 6/25, 26/28
51-60: 4-3-3 (11), 29/30, 6/34, 30/33
61-70: 4-4-2 (10), 23/24, 3/30, 17/24
71-80: 6-2-2 (14), 30/24, 6/31, 31/34
81-82: 1-1-0 (2), 5/7, 1/6, 2/3

OVERTIME RESULTS (5-3; 102-105 all-time)
Oct. 27 at PHI: W, 4-3 (GWG-Girgensons, 2:29)

Nov. 14 vs. SJS: L, 2-1 (GWG-Marleau, 2:59)
Dec. 12 vs. LAK: W, 2-1 (GWG-O’Reilly, 3:19)
Feb. 6 at BOS: L, 2-1 (GWG-Marchand, 2:32)
March 1 vs. EDM: L, 2-1 (GWG-McDavid, 3:48)
March 12 vs. CAR: W, 3-2 (GWG-Eichel, 4:59)
March 16 vs. MTL: L, 3-2 (GWG-Byron, 3:15)
April 9 at NYI: W, 4-3 (GWG-Gionta, 2:46)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-7; 67-58 all-time)
Oct. 21 vs. TOR: W, 2-1 (GDG-Moulson)

Nov. 19 at STL: L, 3-2 (GDG-Steen)
Dec. 1 at DET: L, 5-4 (GDG-Richards)
Dec. 19 vs. CHI: L, 3-2 (GDG-Kane)
Feb. 4 vs. BOS: L, 3-2 (GDG-Spooner)
Feb. 16 at OTT: L, 2-1 (GDG-Ryan)
March 5 vs. MIN: L, 3-2 (GDG-Pominville)
March 7 at TOR: W, 4-3 (GDG-Reinhart)
March 29 at PIT: L, 5-4 (GDG-Letang)

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