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Sabres Preview #1 – The Defensemen September 3, 2010

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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I’m starting my Sabres season preview with the defensemen. Why? Because I like defensemen. I’ve just taken a look at the roster posted at Sabres.com, and there are a million names on it. I won’t cover all of them, because, frankly, I’m not familiar with all of them since some are still prospects. Without further ado, here are the others:

TJ Brennan: I went to prospect camp for about 20 minutes this summer. Don’t ask why it was only 20 minutes. Anyway, what I saw of Brennan in that 20 minutes looked pretty good to me, and I heard he did well. I’ve got high hopes for him but he will need more seasoning. Maybe one more year will serve him well and he’ll be ready for prime time.

Chris Butler: Butler was much-maligned last year, and to tell you the truth, I’m not sure why. Craig Rivet struggled for much of the season, and Butler was his partner for most of it, so was he covering for Rivet’s mistakes? Maybe, maybe not, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Remember, folks, he’s still only turning 24 this fall – plenty of time to mature as a defenseman.

Jordan Leopold: I’ve been watching Leopold’s career from afar and I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. I’m curious to see what he can do within “The System”. I’ve heard they may pair him with Myers, which would be interesting. I’m not sure who shoots right and who shoots left, so I don’t know who else they could pair him with, but considering Rivet’s going to be out for a while w/ the shoulder surgery, why not try him w/Butler or Sekera? After all, he’s a veteran. Give him a chance to mentor one of the younger guys. Let me clarify that: let him mentor one of the younger guys who may be struggling more than Myers is.

Steve Montador: I’ve been a Steve Montador fan for years. No, he’s not a great d-man, but he’s a WYSIWYG, and that’s fine with me. The other day I caught wind of a potential Shaone Morrisonn/Montador d-man pairing and all I could think was “It’ll be like bowling out there! Opponents will be flying off the ice like pins! It’ll be great!” It was the most excited I’ve been about hockey in weeks.

Shaone Morrisonn: Now that I’ve got the spelling and pronunciation of his name right (I think), let’s get down to brass tacks: any d-man who can make Mike Green look AT ALL COMPETENT deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, in my opinion. I am not worried about Morrisonn’s defensive skill, and I’m certainly not worried about his size. In fact, his size makes me a little giddy.  I don’t think he’s particularly fleet of foot, but not all defensemen need to be, especially if they stay in their own zone while other offensive-minded guys rush the puck up the ice like it’s on fire (I’m looking at you, Myers, Butler, and Sekera – get your asses moving!).

Tyler Myers: I know his nickname is “The Big Easy” (that’s what she said – ba-da-bump), but my nickname for him – besides The Jolly Blue Giant, is The Revelation. HOWEVER, let’s not put too much pressure on the kid. He looks like he can handle it, but remember – he’s only 20. Kid can’t even drink – legally – until February first of next year. So before you throw the mantle of franchise player on the guy, let him breathe a little. Let’s see how he handles the loss of his surrogate father, Hank, before we get too excited.

Craig Rivet: This pains me to say, because I think he’s a great guy and a good leader, and because I could be wrong, but I think it’s time for Rivet to hang up the skates. I fear that trying to come back from this major shoulder surgery may put him in the category of “staying too long at the party”. We’ll see what happens. Maybe that’s one reason Darcy stocked up on d-men. Who knows? Feel free to throw (hopefully not rotten) fruit at me if you disagree. Or just leave a comment.

Drew Schiestel: I am inordinately proud of myself for spelling that right on the first try. Schiestel is another player who I think will benefit greatly from a year in the AHL, logging a ton of minutes and learning from Kevin Dineen and his staff. He’s got a ton of talent and a ton of time to harvest it. Maybe we’ll see him in a call-up situation this year, though judging by the 37 d-men on the current roster that seems unlikely.

Andrej Sekera: Another guy who got ridden pretty hard last year, and again, I’m not sure why. He’s a little older than Butler, so maybe he should know better than to make some of the mistakes he’s making, but really, compared to some of the defensive performances I saw last year from opponents, the dude was practically rock-solid. I fear that the “Lindy Treatment” might have permanently eroded his self-confidence, but I hope not. I think he’s still got a lot of upward potential in his game.

So there you have it. I’ll deal with the forwards and the goaltenders in upcoming posts. Feel free to disagree with my assessments in the comments section. I can’t promise I’ll agree with your disagreement but I’ll listen to reason. If you’re a jerk, though, I’ll dismiss you and assume I’m right. Fair warning.

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Comments»

1. Kathleen - September 3, 2010

I agree – I think Darcy might have loaded up on D-men at least in part to hedge against Rivet coming back late or out of condition. He’s such a Captain Dad that I hope he gets a change to mentor the kids this year, even if his playing time in down.

I’m not anxious to be rid of Butler, but I wouldn’t blame everything on Rivet. He seemed to have problems no matter who he was paired with. And of course towards the end, Lindy would do anything rather than let Butler & Sekera in the same game. If I had to choose, though, I’d take Sekera (more mobile). I don’t really thing of Butler as an offensive-defenseman, but I well might be missing something.

I was pretty bummed that we had to lose both Tallinder & Lydman, especially after what we saw of the Tally-JBG tandem last year. But now I’m positively giddy about our blue line. I think the Morrisonn signing was the turning point for me, though it’s not just about him. (But I imagine that any team skating against him and Myers together would be scared out of their minds. Whee!!!) And let’s not forget that Mike Green is going to look terrible without him this year, which is a bonus.

I’m glad to see you back, Amanda! You always have an interesting analysis.

manda903 - September 4, 2010

Thanks Kathleen – it’s good to be back!

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