The July 1st Free Agency deadline usually sees players leaving Buffalo in exodus; this year, there are not any major players that fans could probably live without. To start our post season report cards, were going to take a look at the guys who have to resubmit their resumes to the Buffalo Sabres:
Adam Mair (age 31 – $775,000). 2009-2010 Grade: C. I am no Adam Mair hater, but it might be just time for this Sabre to hang up his blue and gold. After bing drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs (1997), he only played 52 games across four seasons in Toronto and Los Angeles before flying cross country to join the Buffalo Sabres in the 2002-2003 season. Never hitting the 10 goal mark, and never more than 20 points, Mair was a consistent fourth line energy player, a locker room leader. If I were Adam Mair, I would question the organizations faith in my game, after having been placed on waivers this season. Despite an uptick in his energy after that point, it was short lived.
Raffi Torres (age 27, $2,750,000). 2009-2010 Grade: F. It looked at first as though Darcy Regier hit the hammer on the head with a trade deadline acquisition. Dead weight was more like it. Torres came to Buffalo from the Columbus Blue Jackets like he had been using the Olympic break to lounge and party as opposed to gearing up for a Stanley Cup run. His lack of production (5 Assists, 5 points in 14 games) in Buffalo could be tied to his lack of conditioning, or from his lack of wanting to be in Buffalo. Rumors swirled around stating that Torres was biding his time before making a leap to Toronto this off season. Not the type of player the Sabres want to keep around. We need to trim the dead weight and bring in guys who want to win, and win in Buffalo.
Mike Grier (Age 34, $1,200,000) 2009-2010 Grade: B+
Probably the biggest acquisition of the year, Mike Grier returning to Buffalo. Grier to a fantastic job this year on the PK, bringing energy into the games, and bringing some leadership into a locker room that needed it. Still not sure what the stint in San Jose was about – but his return was a welcomed site. Hopefully Mike sticks around this time, and the Sabres should be doing what they can to keep him in Blue and Gold, since they couldn’t keep him in red and black.
Henrik Tallinder (Age 30, $3,250,000) 2009-2010 Grade: B
The presence of Tyler Myers on the Buffalo Sabres blue line not only helped the team shut down some of the top offensive talents in the league, but it did wonders to help improve the play of his defensive partner Henrik Tallinder. Drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 1997, the winger has only played for one NHL team. His career has followed the ups and downs of the franchise in the last 13 years, and the Sabres would do well to keep him on the blue line, at least for one more year to help Tyler Myers mature a little more.
Toni Lydman (age 31, $3,150,000) 2009-2010 Grad: C.
Once part of the Sabres great shutdown pair of Lydman/Tallinder, now it could appear to be the end of the road for Lydman. Brought it to bolster the blue line after the lockout season, Lydman has never matched the numbers he put up in Calgary, although coming close. If your going to look at one of the Sabres free agents and point to where the coach’s message might be falling on deaf ears, Lydman would be the biggest winner.
Patrick Lalime (age 33, $1,000,000) 2009-2010 Grade: F Patrick Lalime is not a bad goaltender. He is not great, but he’s not bad. He doesn’t fit with the Buffalo Sabres though. The Sabres need a back up goaltender that can come in and win a game cold. In the Buffalo system, over the two years he spent here, Lalime went 9-21. Not bad when the second year of the deal you were on a division championship team. There are plenty of goaltenders on the market this year, and the Sabres could have any number of them for cheaper – hell if your going to get the same results anyways you might as well save money while doing it.
The Sabres should be working on resigning Henrik Tallinder and Mike Grier. The only men should be shown the door, thanked for their great service to this organization – the open roster spots could be used by bringing in new talent, or paving the way for the younger generation of Sabres who are begging for a chance to play in the bigs.