Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Defensive Decisions

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres have some hard decisions to make in the coming days.

With Robyn Regehr and Andrej Sekera nursing injuries that have created more holes on the Buffalo blue line, T.J. Brennan started the season as the team’s seventh man out – and Adam Pardy was recently recalled from the Rochester Americans.

The only problem is, the level and type of depth that the Buffalo Sabres have at the position, could force Lindy Ruff‘s hand on his favorite defenseman, and push Darcy Regier into trading away an asset he might not be comfortable with.

Neither Brennan nor Pardy can return to the Amerks without clearing waivers.

After today’s morning skate, Ruff says that Sekera and Regehr were progressing and might be able to play this weekend.

That will give the Sabres nine healthy defenseman, and not enough roster spots to keep them all up.  Plus do we really want both Pardy and Brennan riding the seventh man roller coaster that Mike Weber is so used to riding?

Helping Darcy make this decision is the fact that the team is in the doldrums with no sign of waking up.  With no signs of a shakeup coming from the owner, Darcy and Lindy are staying – the shakeup may need to come in the form of a roster move, that is both necessary and from a roster and a shakeup move.

The question is how big of a move can the team make that doesn’t kill their chances?

Any trade that the Buffalo Sabres consider, would have to involve more going out than coming in.  The good news is, they have the pieces to play with.

The goal of the off season was to get tougher.  Steve Ott for Derek Roy brought that dream to fruition.  Bringing in John Scott helped.  But adding a goon and a player like Patrick Kaleta is not the only solution.  Look at teams like the Boston Bruins, they are successful because they can score from anywhere on the ice, and punch you in the face at the same time.

Buffalo has a bunch of gnats that run around and piss people off, and a goon that will mop up the mess.  Here are my players that can be packaged and dealt to create more space in the locker room for players who can play the game.

Cody McCormick – your days as a Buffalo Sabres player are numbered.  What exactly have you done for this organization to deserve to be on the payroll for 1.2 million dollars?  In his first

season with the Buffalo Sabres he notched eight goals, and filled a need on a team that was desperate for that type of player.  Now he seems to be overpaid, with only one goal last season, and no shots and a -2 this year, dispensable is the first word that comes to mind when it comes to McCormick.  If John Scott is in the future of this organization as the resident goon, McCormick can be shipped to any team in the West or East for that matter that will burden themselves with that salary for next to zero output. With the emergence of Patrick Kaleta as an all around player – McCormick needs to put the puck in the net a lot more to be useful to the team, if you can’t fill that role – you need to be shown the door. If Patrick Kaleta heals and returns to the team soon, Matt Ellis can be packaged in a trade as well.  Nothing against Matt Ellis, but he is just another name on the list of utility players that serves a role, but has outlived his time in Buffalo.  If we were using him as a veteran presence in Rochester – with the occasional call up, that is one thing, but picking a regular spot on the bench  is killing the growth of this team. From a defensive standpoint, we have to slim down the herd, and the list of eligible partners is not all that long.  Regher’s days might be numbered.  If he cannot stay healthy to play that rugged stay at home style defense that he was brought in for, he is turning into Craig Rivet part 2. Andrej Sekera might flourish in another environment.  Always a stellar standout when he joins his countrymen in international play, it doesn’t give much room to show in a blue and gold sweater.  He might bring your best return.  Despire his output against the Ottawa Senators – Jordan Leopold has been a liability for the team this year.  Maybe Ottawa should look to add him to their roster and get rid of one defenseman in the league that likes to score on them.

Both Leopold and Regehr are unrestricted free agents at the end of this year, so teams looking to add depth for the playoffs are the only teams you are going to get to dance in a shortened season trade.  There is little chance that either of these players will be in high demand on the open market, but will find a home regardless.   If your a GM that is building for the future and you want them to be a part of it, why put the cart before the horse and give up something you don’t have to?

 

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