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Preview: Buffalo Sabres

Posted 2:02 PM ET | Comments 0
Primary Staff: Darcy Regier (GM) Lindy Ruff (Head Coach)
2009-10 Stats: 82GP 45W 27L 10OTL 100PTS
Place: 1st Northeast, 3rd East, 11th NHL
Top Scorer: Derek Roy – 80GP 26G 43A 69P
Captains: Craig Rivet (C)



Henrik Tallinder (Signed with New Jersey)
Toni Lydman (Signed with Anaheim)
Tim Kennedy (Signed with NY Rangers)
Raffi Torres (Signed with Vancouver)


Jordan Leopold (Free Agent)
Rob Niedermayer (Free Agent)
Tim Conboy (Free Agent)
Colin Stuart (Free Agent)

The Buffalo Sabres had a difficult off-season. Faced with a weak free agency talent pool and the loss of two defenceman who log serious minutes, which included Toni Lydman who spent the year grooming Calder winner Tyler Myers in his first NHL season, the Sabres had to find a way to replace their depth while keeping the core of the club intact. They were not nearly as successful as they had hoped. Jordan Leopold, while an excellent depth defenceman to any team, was simply not enough to off-set the loss of Henrik Tallinder and Lydman. While they did add some leadership value to the club with Rob Nidermayer, the bottom six performer won’t be putting up similar totals to Raffi Torres.

Overall, the team got weaker down the depth chart, but their top line of Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Jason Pominville remains complete, so the club won’t be lacking any scoring power. It’s the defence that will be bothering most fans. Craig Rivet’s decline in stats over the last three seasons is a significant issue that needs to be fixed. If this captain cannot lead by example, or play a sound defensive game, the team will certainly struggle. While Tyler Myers is a force on the back end, his supporting cast is abysmal.

If the team cannot execute a strong defensive game to accommodate for their lack of depth on the back-end they will certainly struggle to make the playoffs this season. While Ryan Miller is among the best goaltenders in the league, it will be extremely difficult for him to off-set the lack of help that is provided in front of him.

Prediction: 4th Northeast, 9th East


Thomas Vanek – Derek Roy – Jason Pominville
Jochen Hecht – Tim Connolly – Mike Grier
Tyler Ennis – Paul Gaustad – Patrick Kaleta
Nathan Gerbe – Rob Niedermayer – Drew Stafford
Cody McCormick
Mark Mancari

Tyler Myers – Jordan Leopold
Steve Montador – Craig Rivet
Andrej Sekera – Shaone Morrisonn
Chris Butler – Mike Weber
Tim Conboy

Ryan Miller
Patrick Lalime

For more articles by Micheal Aldred, visit http://www.thecheckingline.com
Filed Under:   buffalo sabres   preview   myers   connolly   vanek   miller  
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