Defensive Battle

With just two days to go until camp officially opens for the Buffalo Sabres, the defensive outlook position looks to be where the most battles for a roster spot will take place.  Heres a quick look at the Sabres defensive players and prosepcts, and who might get themselves a line up spot on opening night, and who might be making the trip to Portland. 

Its not hard to say that Jordan Leopold and Shaone Morrisonn are going to be in the lineup on opening night, brought into fill the gaps left by Tallinder and Lydman leaving, its nice to see some fresh faces on the blue line. 

Steve Montador and Tyler Myers are back in the lineup again, Montador was a stable last year in the lineup, despite the fact that I was fairly down on him coming to town in the first place.  I wouldn’t say he stood out last year (for the most part), but his play was well enough to warrant another shot at it.  Tyler Myers is well, the reigning Calder winner, and we all keep our fingers crossed that he doesn’t fall into a sophmore slump.  He had something to prove last year, lets hope the kid gets better, instead of getting comfortable and complacent. 

Despite having a relatively sluggish season, Craig Rivet is back, and is still listed on the teams website as the Captain.  Lindy Ruff was not willing to bench, nor remove the C from him during last season, lets see if any on ice leadership changes are made headed into or out of camp. 

That leaves one spot in the top six, and the seventh devensemen spot open for battle.  Carry overs from last season, Andrej Sekera and Chris Butler are in camp looking for retribution for seasons that didn’t really pan out.  Sekera had a strong Olympic showing which never translated into his NHL game upon return from the games.  Chris Butler seemed not to have his head in the game for much of the time he spent in a Buffalo uniform. 

Also sitting on the outside looking in at one of those two prime defensemen spots are Mike Weber and Marc Andre Gragnani.  According to the Buffalo News, Weber has to clear waivers in order to be demoted to Portland, I am not sure about Gragnani.  Given that, I think with a strong camp, Weber could find himself in that seventh spot. 

I wasn’t thrilled with Butler, and I think Sekera could rebound the easiest of the two.  I’d be much more upset if Weber left due to waivers than Butler. 

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Tags: Craig Rivet Defense Jordan Leopold Marc-andre Gragnani Mike Weber Shaone Morrisson

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