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Meet the Sabres: Defense Edition

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The Buffalo Sabres made their final cuts on Wednesday and have announced their team for opening night.  This will be part 2 of a three part post entitled Meet the Sabres.  It will basically be a quick guide to every player on the Sabes roster and what I expect from each player this season.  Today we take a look at the Defense that remains on the Sabres roster heading into the season.

Top Four


Craig Rivet

#52 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres

6-2

210

Sep 13, 1974

 

 

 

2008-2009 Stats

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG
64 2 22 24 +4 125 1 0 0 0 80

 

What to Expect:  Rivet was named the team captain last season but never really seemed to take control of that role.  In his second season he should be more comfortable and ready to assume leadership of the team. 

 

Rivet will also be asked to log more minutes this season.  Jaro Spacek was signed by Montreal in the off-season and he was a guy that played 21 minutes.  All of the Sabres defensemen will be asked to help make up for the loss of Spacek.

 

Rivet will be one of the guys that will be asked to play on the power play more this season.  It would not surprise me if he ended up with 5-7 goals this season because of more opportunities.



Toni Lydman

#5 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres

6-1

210

Sep 25, 1977

 

 

 

2008-2009 Stats

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG
80 3 20 23 E 70 0 0 0 0 99

 

What to Expect:  Toni Lydman was the Sabres best defensive player last season.  He is a shot blocking machine and he is great at playing the body in the defensive zone.  The problem with Lydman is being careless with the puck in his own zone.  I expect status quo from Lydman this season.  He will continue to be the Sabres best defensive player but along with that will be some horrible giveaways.  He will continue to be "Toni Turnover".

 



Chris Butler

#34 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres

6-1

203

Oct 27, 1986

 

 

 

2008-2009 Stats

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG
47 2 4 6 +11 18 0 0 1 0 36

 

What to Expect:  Last season Butler was a surprise after being called up from Portland.  I think some Sabres fans thought he would be a good player but nobody expected him to be so good, so quickly.  This season he will be looked upon to contribute even more than he did last season.

 

We got a glimpse of what we could expect in the pre-season.  Butler played in more situations than he did last season, getting time on both the power play and the penalty kill.  He looked much more confident and concluded the pre-season with five assists, more than he had all of last season.

 

I would be surprised if Butler didn't log 20 minutes a game this season.  He plays the type of game that will make him a valuable asset on the Sabres blueline.

 

 



Andrej Sekera

#44 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres

6-0

197

Jun 08, 1986

 

 

 

2008-2009 Stats

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG
69 3 16 19 -11 22 1 0 1 0 84

 

What to Expect:  Like Butler, Sekera will be asked to do more with Spacek gone.  Sekera had one power play goal last season and he will be expected to build upon that number this season.  Sekera is an interesting player because he started his career with huge expectations and early in his career he was living up to those expectations.

 

Sekera suffered an injury that forced him out of the lineup last season.  When he returned from the injury he was not the same player.  He was tentative and it reflected greatly in his play.  After playing poorly for some time he seemed to completely lose confidence in his play.

 

The first couple of games will be really important for Sekera.  If he enjoys success early he will be able to put last season behind him.  If things don't start weel, there is a woryy that he could quickly go downhill.  Of all te guys to watch during the first wee or two, he will be one them.


 

The Rest


Steve Montador

#4 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres

6-0

211

Dec 21, 1979

 

 

 

2008-2009 Stats

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG
78 4 17 21 +17 143 0 0 0 0 117

 

What to Expect:  Steve Montador was brought to Buffalo for one reason, he is tough.  The Sabres were hoping to be a tougher team, a team that wasn't considered a pushover.  Montador will go a long way in making sure other teams fear playing against the Sabres.  Montador isn't afraid to drop the gloves but more importantly, he will beat you up along the wall.

 

Montador was brought here for toughness but ironically enough, his four goals last season are more than any other Sabres defenseman had.  Montador might be asked to provide some offense from the blueline for the Sabres.  During the pre-season he wasn't afraid to pinch in from his point position but his hands were not that of a goal scorer.  He had a couple of opportunities but came away with no points.

 



Tyler Myers

#57 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres

6-8

222

Feb 01, 1990

 

 

 

 

What to Expect:  Nobody really knows what to expect from Myers this season.  He is allowed to stay in Buffalo for nine games before they have to make a decision to keep him or send him back to juniors.  It may be more beneficial for the Sabres to keep him on te roster all season so he can develop as a NHL player.



Henrik Tallinder

#10 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres

6-3

214

Jan 10, 1979

 

 

 

2008-2009 Stats

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG
66 1 11 12 -2 36 0 0 1 0 35

 

What to Expect:  Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of wondering what happened to Hank.  I have never seen a player fall off the radar so quickly.  It's time for Big Hank to step up and earn his contract.  Thsi is the final year of his contract and he has an opportunity to prove to everyone that he belongs in the NHL.

 

Unfortunately, I expect more of the same from Tallinder.  He will start the season in the lineup because of the injury to Lydman but he quickly find himself in the press box.  We all know that Lindy has a quick hook with some players and I expect Tallinder to be this seasons Max Afinogenov.

 



Nathan Paetsch

#38 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres

6-1

198

Mar 30, 1983

 

 

 

2008-2009 Stats

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG
23 2 4 6 +3 25 0 0 0 0 21

 

What to Expect:  Expect another season of Paetsch in the press box.  Lindy Ruff will never send Paetsch down because he is too versatile but he is basically an eighth defenseman and a 14th forward.  Paetsch will not see the ice for more than 25 games this season.  He could be a candidate for a trade as the season goes on.  The Sabres are currently carrying eight defensemen in both Buffalo and Portland.  The numbers show that someone has to go.