Who Now Becomes The Seventh Defenseman?

I can imagine that the articles about Tyler Myers are starting to get old.  Hence, why this one will be the last one.  When Toni Lydman and Andrej Sekera come back from their injuries, the Sabres will face another conundrum on their defense.  They will have seven defensemen and will have to sit one of them.  

Must Plays

Tyler Myers


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Tyler Myers 9 2 3 5 8 2 0 0 0 0 10 20.0

This doesn't need to be said but we will anyways.  The Sabres are keeping him up and therefore will be playing in most of the games this season.  He is a rookie and he will hit a wall at some point this season.  At that point, he should be a scratch so that he isn't burnt out at the end of the season and hopefully the playoffs.  At this point in his career though, he should be playing.  The Sabres are doing just that with him, he is averaging twenty minutes a game which is third on the team.  He is seeing 2:43/game on the power play and 1:59/game shorthanded.  He is a +8 which is second only to his linemate Henrik Tallinder and he is leading the defensemen in points. 

Henrik Tallinder


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Henrik Tallinder 9 0 3 3 9 12 0 0 0 0 3 0.0

Many have derided Tallinder in the past two seasons as his play had really not lived up to the $2.65 million cap hit.  Last year, Tallinder had twelve points and was -2 in 66 games.  This year, Tallinder already has three assists and is a +9.  His defensive game has been aided with Myers on the opposite side but he is playing to prove that he should live up to the contract he signed.  It is also a contract year for Tallinder.  Therefore, he is going to play out of his mind to try and earn the next big payday.  Tallinder is playing well with Myers and should not come out of the lineup at this point

Craig Rivet


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Craig Rivet 9 0 4 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 14 0.0

Rivet is the captain and the lifeblood of the team.  As long as he is wearing the C, he will be in the lineup.  Rivet has had a quiet season thus far, which for a defenseman is not necessarily a bad thing.  He is second on the team in time on ice/game at 21:39/game and has four assists on the season.  Rivet has played with sophomore sensation Chris Butler this season and both have played a quiet shutdown type of game.

Chris Butler


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Chris Butler 9 0 4 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 14 0.0

As I said about Rivet, the same principle applies to Butler.  Lost in the fray of all of the Tyler Myers coverage is the stellar play of Chris Butler this season.  Butler leads the team in total time on ice and time on ice per game.  He also leads the team in shorthanded time on ice and is second in powerplay time on ice.  The coaching staff has placed faith in this kid's play and he is responding with four assists, three on the powerplay. 

Steve Montador


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Steve Montador 9 0 3 3 1 10 0 0 0 0 15 0.0

Montador is not coming out of the lineup just due to the fact that he really has not played bad all season.  He only has three assists on the season, but he wasn't acquired for his offensive prowess.  He is teaching and playing a good game on the blueline and really is no doubt that he would come out of the lineup.

Questionables


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Toni Lydman 4 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 6 0.0


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Andrej Sekera 3 0 0 0 -1 2 0 0 0 0 3 0.0

This leaves two players left where one of them will have to sit.  Toni Lydman has played four out of a possible nine games this season, he missed the first three due to a hand injury and the last two due to a groin injury.  In those four games, Lydman is a +1 and has no points.  Andrej Sekera has only played three games this season and has struggled slightly this season.  While his play has not dropped off, it really does not bump another player out of the lineup and it won't bump Lydman to the press box just due to the fact that Lydman would be another veteran presence in the lineup.   

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