The Buffalo Sabres' 2008-09 season has been filled with an equal amount of highs and lows, whether it be the streaky play of their goaltender, or their sputtering, talented offense, there's awards all around, including some wacky ones.
Best Offensive Player: No. 26 Thomas Vanek
With 27 goals, Vanek is second in the league in that category, and has earned a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Stars team. He's finally playing at a level to the amount of the contract tendered to him two years ago.
Best Defensive Player: No. 5 Toni Lydman
Although his defensive partner, Henrik Tallinder, was taken away from him this season, Lydman's play has only gotten even better. He checks hard, and is always defensive in front of his net, and never seems to skip a beat.
Most Consistent Player: No. 9 Derek Roy
Aside from a stretch in which Roy struggled at the beginning of the season, Derek Roy has surely come into his own. At this point, he leads the team with 40 points this season, and it doesn't seem like he'll be letting up any time soon.
Most Surprising Player: No. 34 Chris Butler
Chris Butler has recently brought a "problem" to Buffalo. He is forcing coach Lindy Ruff to put the Sabres defense into a rotation. Simply said, Ruff just can't keep this rookie out of the lineup, and the regulars now have to pay for it.
Biggest Disappointment: No. 61 Maxim Afinogenov
Poor Max. He skates so fast, probably too fast, though. Max is a blur, sure, but sloppy play and bad giveaways have led Max to a minus-14 and a few trips to the press box. Hopefully, all Max needs is a change of scenery. I hear Colorado may be nice for him, especially a Western Conference who is not used to his speed.
Streakiest Player: No. 30 Ryan Miller
There's times where Miller seems to be unbeatable, the franchise goalie the Sabres signed to a long, expensive contract over the summer. Then there's other times where he's just the guy that earns a small contract this year and is playing to that standard.
And now, for some fun...
Player Most Likely To Get A Small Village Named After Him: No. 29 Jason Pominville
I shouldn't have to explain this one. Jason has been average this season, certainly nothing like the player he will be paid for next year.
Player Opponents Just Want To Sink Their Teeth Into: No. 76 Andrew Peters
When in doubt, if you can't take crap from this guy, a good biting should get him kicking and screaming.
Player Who Requires A Bubble To Play In: No. 19 Tim Connolly
Seriously, a nice bubble should do the trick for a guy that hasn't seemed to stay off the IR ever since that one series against Ottawa.
Player Who Deserves A Lot More Credit: No. 40 Patrick Lalime
The poor guy can't catch a break. He does everything he can, but his team falls asleep in front of him when he's in the net.
There you have it, my mid-season awards. This may be my last article for a little while, as the Spring Semester has started, and I need to focus on my studies.