The Sabres will face a number of big decisions this off season as they attempt to fix what is clearly broken. One of those decisions will be what to do with the Head Coach or in this case, the interim Head Coach?
Will Ron Rolston be brought back? If the Sabres go into major rebuild mode and ice an even younger roster next season it might bode well for Rolston, since he is considered a developmental coach.
Maybe Rolston is sent back to Rochester to continue to work with the younger players in the system who will be looked upon as part of the future core.
Exactly how is Rolston doing with the Sabres? Here is a breakdown of some key statistical areas.
Rolston’s record is 10-8-5 which means the Sabres have gained 54% of the possible points since he took over behind the bench. Lindy Ruff’s record was 6-10-1 which translated to 38% of the points. For what it is worth, if you project Rolston’s current record over a 48 game season, the Sabres would have 52 points. Currently the cut line for the final playoff spot is 52 points.
Perhaps the first thing Rolston was told to work on when he got the job was the team’s defense and it is better. The Sabres are giving up fewer goals per game, 2.6 as opposed to 3.3 under Ruff. But the offense has slipped slightly from 2.7 goals over 17 games with Lindy to 2.3 in Rolston’s 23 games.
As far as special teams go, the power play is just as bad now as it was before. The conversion rate was 12% for Ruff and 11% for Rolston. The penalty kill has slipped a bit. Buffalo has killed off penalties at a 75% rate under Rolston but it was 80% with Ruff.
One of the biggest areas of improvement with Rolston in charge is the Sabres ability to win close games. They are 7-3-5 in one goal games so they got 19 of a possible 30 points which is 63%. Under Ruff, the Sabres were 3-5-1 in on goal decisions which was 38% of the points.
Home fans may be booing just as much if not more but they are seeing their team win more at First Niagara Center since the coaching change. Ruff’s record at home was 3-5-1 while Rolston’s is 5-2-2.