Picking a player on the Buffalo Sabres‘ roster who is underperforming this season isn’t easy. Team-leading scorer Thomas Vanek has been inconsistent, star goaltender Ryan Miller has struggled and defenseman Tyler Myers got off to a career-worst start. One of the biggest disappointments for the Sabres this season has been the lack of a contribution from Nathan Gerbe, a former top prospect who is continuing to regress for a second-straight season.
Gerbe was a fifth-round pick of the Sabres in 2005, and he saw full-time duty with the Sabres during the 2010-11 season. While his 16 goals and 31 points weren’t all-star caliber numbers, they did put him in the team’s top ten and made him look like a reliable third-liner. Last season he managed only six goals but still had 25 points, a drop-off but not cause for a lot of concern. This season has seen Gerbe demoted to the fourth line, buried on the depth chart behind Vanek, Steve Ott and Marcus Foligno.
Gerbe has three goals and six points through 27 games, spending a few nights in the press box as a healthy scratch. After struggling to contribute just two goals and four points in February (and those two goals came in the same game), he has one goal and two points in March. As the Sabres try and get things back on track they will need a contribution from everyone, especially their third and fourth lines. Gerbe’s lack of production isn’t helping keep him in the lineup every night, and makes him look like one of the Sabres’ most overpaid players.