In just a few weeks, the Buffalo Sabres will hit the ice at HARBORCENTER for training camp. This year it’s playoffs or bust for most fans; but is the roster talented enough for the Sabres to end its five year playoff drought?
As camp draws near, 7ABC will take a closer look at the training camp roster and put together our list of the “Top 20 Talents.”
Here’s the criteria on how the rankings will be established:
-Overall skill level
-Age, improving/declining ability
On to the countdown:
No. 19 – D Josh Gorges
Why he’s here
Just look at the picture. Josh Gorges is always in the dirty areas. Whether it’s in the corner or in front of the net clearing out the garbage, Gorges is there. He doesn’t provide the offensive spark most Sabres fans would like to see, but he can play in almost every situation. When Gorges came to Buffalo from Montreal expectations were high. In his first two seasons he hasn’t proven to be a top pair guy, but he has shown to be reliable in his own end. In 2015, Gorges was on the ice for seven more goals against than goals for. On the surface, that doesn’t sound great—but it was 21 goals less than his +/- in 2014.
Gorges missed only five games in 2015. If he stays healthy, the 32-year-old defender can add some grit to a young group on the blue line. If all goes according to plan, Gorges will get loads of time on the penalty kill and likely play with the Sabres second or third defensive pairing.
What you see is what you’re going to get with Josh Gorges. There’s nothing wrong with that. He doesn’t have to be a cornerstone on defense for this to be a successful year. If Gorges plays close to 82 games and is solid in his own end, the Sabres shouldn’t need him to contribute offensively.