1. Connor Clifton, Buffalo Sabres
Connor Clifton's first year in Buffalo hasn't gotten off to the start that the blueliner likely would've hoped for. After five seasons in Boston, including a run to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the Quinnipiac product left this summer to join the Sabres on a 3-year, $9.99 million dollar deal.
In 78 games last season in black and gold, Clifton recorded a plus/minus of 20. Through 25 games with the Sabres this season, Clifton is a dash 4. In his defense, team performance can undoubtedly skew plus/minus, and Buffalo is tied for the third-lowest point total in the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately for Clifton, his struggles haven't stopped with plus/minus. He has only put up four points (all assists). Every Boston defenseman who has suited up for at least 20 games this season has four or more points. His average time on ice would also be the second-lowest of his career, and it's not a good sign when you're scraping for minutes on a struggling team.
For good measure, Clifton has also already managed to set a career high in penalty minutes through only 25 games, spending 44 minutes in the sin bin. His penalty minute total was also exacerbated when he received a match penalty in October for an illegal check to the head on New Jersey captain Nico Hischier, and was ultimately handed a two-game suspension. Clifton's PIM would be the highest on the Bruins by ten minutes.
It looks like the Bruins' brass got this one right.
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