Flash back to the summer of 2009. July 1, and Buffalonians are clamoring for help on the blue line since Jaroslav Spacek looks to be headed out of town. GM Darcy Regier responds by signing...Steve Montador? Ok, not the guy you wanted, but solid nonetheless. Some time passes without any news from HSBC, and everyone starts to get antsy. Bloggers, fans and columnists call for Darcy's head for not signing their guy, and stormclouds build over the Sabres season. Then, a ray of light pierces the clouds - the return of fan favorite Mike Grier. A tough, two-way veteran to anchor the bottom six.
And that's where we ended up at the start of the season. The two free agent acquisitions were a solid-but-unspectacular defenseman, and an aging veteran forward looking to bring some leadership and experience to Buffalo. Fast forward to the summer of 2010 and what do we have so far? Another solid-but-unspectacular defenseman and another aging veteran forward who should bring some leadership and toughness to the bottom six. It may be uncreative, but it worked last off-season pretty well. Let's take a look at the newest and hardest-to-spell Sabre, Rob Niedermayer, after the break.
2010 Stats: 10G, 12A, 22P, +3, 45 PIM
Many of you might remember Rob Niedermyer as the Stanley Cup winner from the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. As Eric from 3rd Man In stated on Twitter, the 35-year old Niedermayer now has more Cup rings than the rest of the team combined. He has been to the Finals a total of three times, twice with Anaheim and once with Florida.
His stats are fairly pedestrian, as he's never been a huge points guy - his career high was 61 points all the way back in 1995-96. He can put in goals, having been a 20-goal scorer in the past, but usually settles in around 10-15. Niedermayer's strength comes from his toughness and leadership. He's a pretty big boy at 6-2, knows how to use his body, and will anchor one of Buffalo's bottom two lines, most likely the third with Gaustad centering the fourth - however, he's versatile enough to play either wing if necessary.
As Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com pointed out, Niedermayer chose Buffalo over both Pittsburgh and Edmonton, his hometown. His contract is for one year at $1.150 million with playoff bonuses, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. So Sabres fans, what do you think of the team's newest addition- like it, hate it, or somewhere in the middle?