Originally written on Buffalo Wins  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Ottawa_senators_v_83cd
We know that Thomas Vanek leaves this weekend with an NHL leading 19 points, that news has been well covered.  He has carried this team on his back, in a year where the rest of the team, sans Pominville, is struggling to find their offense.  This isn’t unusual for Vanek.  He is notoriously a fast starter.  In fact, over his career, he has more than a point per game average in the first 10 games that he plays in each season.  In the 78 games that fit that category, he has scored 43 goals and has 45 assists for 88 points.  All of those averages are well above his career averages. But let’s take a look at how this year’s start compares to those of Sabres greats, past and present.  Unfortunately, game logs for the NHL are only available starting in the 1987-88 season.  That excludes the entire French Connection, Danny Gare, Don Luce, and some of Mike Foligno, Phil Housley, and Dave Andreychuk’s seasons.  If anyone knows where I can find game logs for seasons prior to 87-88, please let me know and I’ll be happy to run those comparisons too.  On to the action… Below are the top two season starts (through 8 games played) for 16 of the best to wear the blue and gold (or black and red) sweaters in the last 25 years, ordered by career goals scored for the Sabres.  Please note, these numbers are based on the player’s first 8 games, not necessarily the team’s first 8. Player Season Goals Assists Points Dave Andreychuk 92-93 8 7 15   88-89 8 4 12 Mike Foligno 88-89 5 3 8   89-90 3 3 6 Thomas Vanek 2013             8           11           19   06-07 5 7 12 Miroslav Satan 02-03 4 4 8   01-02 3 3 6   98-99 0 6 6 Alexander Mogilny 92-93 8 6 14   93-94 8 6 14 Jason Pominville 2013 5 7 12   11-12 2 8 10 Phil Housley 87-88 6 4 10   88-89 2 6 8 Donald Audette 95-96 9 6 15   90-91 4 3 7 Derek Roy 07-08 5 4 9   10-11 5 2 7   06-07 2 5 7   09-10 0 7 7 Pat LaFontaine 92-93 7 14 21   95-96 1 10 11 Maxim Afinogenov 06-07 5 9 14   99-00 4 4 8 Pierre Turgeon 89-90 4 9 13   90-91 4 6 10 Dale Hawerchuk 93-94 4 3 7   91-92 3 4 7   92-93 1 6 7 Michael Peca 97-98 3 4 7   98-99 2 3 5 Daniel Briere 06-07 2 9 11   05-06 7 2 9 Chris Drury 06-07 9 3 12   03-04 1 7 8 As you can see, Vanek’s start to this season has very few equals.  Only hockey Hall of Famer Pat Lafontaine’s incredible start to the 1992-93 season surpasses it.  That year Pat had 16 points through the first 7 games (same as Vanek) but then erupted with 5 points (2G, 3A) against San Jose in the 8th game.  Vanek could manage only 3 points in his 8th game.  What a bum!  LaFontaine went on to score 53 goals and have a Franchise record 148 points that season.  He was joined on that team by a pretty good cast of characters that included Alexander Mogilny (76 goals and 127 points) and Dale Hawerchuk (96 points).  Vanek doesn’t exactly have that type of company. Chris Drury and the diminutive Donald Audette (9 goals each) had more goals scored than anyone over the first 8 games but Vanek’s 8 markers ranks right up there too.  Chris Drury went on to score 37 goals in 06-07 and Audette netted 12 in an injury shortened season that only allowed him to play 23 games. Bottom line:  Thomas Vanek is off to one of the best starts in recent Sabres memory.  Most Sabres fans don’t realize how good this guy really is.  Forget Drury and Briere, Vanek is the best skater the Sabres have had in the last decade plus.  He continues to climb up the franchise leaderboards.  He’s now 10th all time in points with 466, 7th in goals with 238, 4th in powerplay goals with 99, and 4th in game winning goals with 39.  In fact, his career goal scoring averages are right there with some of the all time greats to play in Buffalo.  Franchise goals leader, Gilbert Perreault, has a career goals per game of .430.  Thomas Vanek’s career goals per game is .429.   If he continues the good start he’s had this season, he could finish the year as high as 5th in franchise goals.  He trails Mike Foligno for 6th by 9 goals and Craig Ramsay for 5th by 14 goals. While Vanek is doing his part to help the team succeed, unfortunately, the majority of the team is still in lockout mode and they currently find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture.  It seems like a broken record that has been played each year since the Presidents Cup team in 06-07 rolled a balanced scoring attack, but if Buffalo can find some secondary scoring, they could show some promise in a shortened season.  Clearly the top line is doing their part, now it’s up to the rest of the team to pull their weight.  That of course leads us to the most important stat of all.  The team has only 7 points (3-5-1) through their first 9 games.  That’s not going to cut it.  Time for guys like Stafford, Ennis, and Ott to step up and be counted.  For more Sabres stats nuggets in 140 characters or less, follow me on Twitter (@SabresStats). LET’S GO BUFFALO!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate during presser

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

Wade Phillips is the best coordinator hire this offseason

Bill Belichick gives understated scouting report of Tom Brady

Five teams that failed to improve this offseason

Steelers fans were more profane on social media

Seahawks praise Tom Brady's trash-talking ability

Ranking the repeat Super Bowl champions

Eric Decker to Sherman: Time your conception a little better

Could Katy Perry and Russell Wilson be dating?

The Media isn't the villain we deserve, but it's the one we need

Are LeBron and the Cavs ready to make a run?

The Super Bowl and the things that can't be controlled

DeMarcus Cousins calls out writer for five-year-old tweet

What if Drew Bledsoe didn't get injured in 2001?

Who should make up the 2015 Hall of Fame class

WATCH: Porn sounds played during Predators broadcast

Five worst teams to win a Super Bowl

Matt Damon, Ben Affleck defend Patriots on Kimmel

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Rex Ryan has advice for Seahawks

Super Bowl: Things you can't control

LeBron and the Cavs are ready to make a run

Cousins calls out writer's old tweet

Seahawks praise Brady's trash-talk

Who should be in 2015 HOF class

Rex Ryan downplays Deflategate

Brady hopes Manning comes back

The worst Super Bowl commercials of all-time

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.