With the season winding down, the Sabres will head into the offseason with a bevy of difficult decisions to make. One of the hardest decisions they’ll have to make will be who the head coach will be come next season.
The real question is, will Ron Rolston be brought back? If the Sabres really do decide to go into a major rebuild mode, Rolston would be the perfect fit seeing as how he’s known for being a great developmental coach.
It’s also a very strong possibility that Rolston is sent back down to Rochester to continue working with the young talent that could be the future core of the Buffalo Sabres.
With all of that being said, let’s break down some stats that can be a big determining factor in re-hiring Rolston.
Since taking over the Sabres bench, Rolston has posted a 10-8-5 record thus far. Rolston has earned 54% of the 46 possible points since he took over the Sabres bench. When Lindy Ruff was fired, he posted a 6-10-1 record, earning 38% of the possible 34 points.
If you were to project Rolston’s current record over this years 48 game season, the Sabres would have 52 points. It just so happens that 52 points is the projected cut line for 8th place.
The biggest problem Rolston faced when taking over as Buffalo’s head coach was the blue line, and he did make an improvement in that area. The Sabres give up 2.6 goals a game, whereas with Ruff, they were giving up 3.3 goals per game. That’s a huge difference.
However, on the offensive side, the Sabres posted 2.7 goals per game with Ruff through 17 games. Rolston’s offense is producing 2.3 goals per game through 23 games.
As far a special teams go, Rolston hasn’t really made any improvements in that department.
The power play, which has been atrocious, is at an 11% conversion rate with Rolston. With Ruff it was virtually the same at 12%. The penalty kill, however, was better under Ruff. The Sabres were killing off 80% of penalties under Ruff. Since Rolston took over, the Sabres dropped to a 75% penalty killing rate.
One of the biggest differences Ron Rolston made was winning close games. Since taking over, Rolston is 7-3-5 in one goal games. Thats 19 0ut of a possible 30 points, giving him 63% point rate. Ruff was 3-5-1 in one goal games, leaving him at 38%.
No one really knows what the Sabres will do in terms of a head coach. My theory is, if Buffalo does decide to deal away more players in the offseason and truly rebuild, Ron Rolston will be behind the bench next year.