Yesterday we took a look at the Forwards and I have to say that I am surprised at how many people feel that Nathan Gerbe should make the team this season. I think he is at least a year away from being a NHL player. Anyway today we look at the Sabres Defense. The Defense was a point of emphasis last season and they didn't fare well. They made a few changes to the blue-line in order to help out goalie Ryan Miller.
- Henrik Tallinder- Big Hank will continue to be the Sabres best defenseman. He has struggled with consistency over the past year but overall he is pretty steady and can dominate the opposition.
- Toni Lydman- Expect Lydman to begin the season as the defensive partner of Tallinder but if he struggles like he did last season he will be a third or fourth defenseman.
- Jaro Spacek- Spacek was a huge disappointment in 2006-2007, the same year he signed a three-year free agent contract with Buffalo. However, he rebounded nicley last season and became a go-to guy for the Sabres. Spacek is especially valuable on the power play.
- Craig Rivet- Rivet was the Sabres most importnat acquisition of the off-season. He should help this team immensely, both on and off the ice. Rivet is even more valuable because he can play on both the power play and the penalty kill.
- Teppo Numminen- Numminen was missed more than anyone wanted to admit last season. The organization received criticism for the way he was treated after his heart surgery but they put that aside and brought him back. There are questions as to how he will do after missing most of last season but expect him to be solid again this season.
On the Bubble
- Nathan Paetsch- Two seasons ago Nathan Paetsch seemed to have a promising career ahead of him but he has regressed. After a couple of subpar seasons there are questions as to whether or not Paetsch makes this team.
- Andrej Sekera- Sekera seems to ahve the inside track to making the Sabres roster. He is a young promising defenseman that could someday be a superstar. He finished last season with the Sabres due to injuries and he seemed to fit in nicely.
- Mike Weber- Like Sekera, Weber finished last season playing with the Sabres. He put up incredible plus/minus numbers and seemed to be comfortable playing in the NHL. He brings a more physical game than most of the Sabres D-men which could give hime the upper hand on making the team.
Not yet ready for Primetime
- Chris Butler- Butler is another guy that has a lot of promise but making the jump from the NCAA to the NHL is a difficult one. One season of polishing in the AHL will be good for Butler although he can probably step in and perform admirably if the Sabres suffer injuries to their blue-line.
- Mike Funk- Funk has played some games in the NHL and at times he has looked good. He still needs a little bit more seasoning but he will someday be a fifth or sixth defenseman.