Much to my dismay, the Buffalo Sabres resigned backup goaltender Patrick Lalime to a one year deal this off season. I am still thinking what the hell was that move all about.
The move is even more puzzling given the fact that instead of calling up Jhonas Enroth to warm the bench while Lalime fills in for the ailing Ryan Miller – he is ruling the crease, while Patrick Lalime continues to collect a paycheck from the absent-minded professors that run the show in Buffalo.
If you take a look at the big picture, Enroth should be kept in Buffalo for the remainder of the season – and this is true for several reasons.
1. Portland won’t miss him. The Pirates are the best team in the Atlantic Division (seven point lead over Manchester), best team in the Eastern Conference (three point lead over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) and the best team in the American Hockey League (two points over Western Conference division leaders Abbotsford Heat and San Antonio Rampage). The Pirates also have a feel good goaltender story to wrap themselves around this year, as their hot start is primarily because of Williamsville Native, David Leggio.
2. Buffalo management should care about winning in Buffalo, not in Portland. Enroth has outgrow his AHL uniform, and has proven that he can win at the NHL level, and can handle the back up duties behind Ryan Miller. I don’t think he is ready to carry the weight of the NHL for a full year as a starter – but he is NHL ready.
3. He can’t be worse than Lalime. Enroth’s GAA is slightly higher than Lalime, but Lalimes save percentage is slightly better – but where it counts when your looking at a backup goaltender is in the wins column, and Enroth is on pace to match Lalime’s wins in Buffalo over three seasons in just one year.
4. He’s cheaper. If the Sabres want to make a move to get better or even shake the roster up – you waive Lalime in the hopes that someone picks him up and his salary. If not, bam he’s AHL bound and off your salary cap hit.
He’s well liked in the locker room, and that might just be shakeup required (although I would much rather see them just buyout Tim Connolly (go ahead and click on his name for a summation of what remains of his hockey career), because frankly, Tim Connolly’s game has gotten so bad that if he was a couch placed at the curb, at this point in his miserable career – the homeless would avoid sleeping on him because it would be more comfortable to lay in the street; and who would want to trade for him. (Quick someone call Lou in New Jersey, maybe we can convince him that Connolly can save his offense!)