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Sabres Make multiple moves as the deadline closes

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04-08-2013, 08:44 AM
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Sabres Make multiple moves as the deadline closes

The franchise that has long been the measuring stick of the east has seen slightly leaner times of late. The squad is still very strong, but the pick/prospect cupboard has slowly become more bare year by year in a gradual quest at chasing the cup...its only been some savvy late round drafting of goalies and a few good picks at the top of the draft in recent years that have kept the prospect list from looking anything but embarrassing.

So with the Sabres wanting to add talent at the deadline, but not wanting to part with either their first this year, or names like Poulliot, Mrazek, Murphy and Namestnikov, there was never going to be a star player coming in.

That said, they've managed to add a group of additions that should help this team advance well into the playoffs in the east.

On the way out, Jan Hejda and Keith Ballard became casualties to free up cap space to make moves, whilst Anders Lindback was a sacrificial lamb to add talent up front...but if any position has long term hope in the organisation and can afford to lose younger talent, its in goal. Blueline prospects Stefan Elliott and Mark Barbario were moved along with forward Bill Arnold, and the team gave up their 2nd and 4th round picks.

So what did all that amount to? Rostislav Klesla was brought in to replace Hejda, and should be a minor upgrade if his DU doesnt hurt him. Mike Weaver gives the team a quality stay at home no-nonsense shut down type on a great contract. Nik Antropov adds a nice versatile 2nd/3rd line forward, and pushes Boyd Gordon to 4th line and defensive specialist duties, and Ryan Clowe should be a ranother nice crash and bang winger to compliment a few gifted scorers.

The big benefit for the Sabres is their versatility. Nobody on their likely 11 man forward group is below a 70 DF rating up front and only Ladd (68) and Gordon (60) have less than a 70 CHK. Positionally, only Chimera, Weiss and Fisher play one position out of their top 9, meaning the possible options are endless. Balancing the likes of Ovechkin and Marleau with a speedy checking winger like Chimera are an option, as is going strong with either Weiss at C or Brown on a wing to pair with the star duo to make an elite line. The same goes for the rest of the group. A checking line of Chimera-Fisher-Brown is another possibility, which would likely leave by default a trio of Clowe-Antropov-Ladd.

Defensively its not fancy, and the team could have probably used another puck handler, but the group has size, solid mobility, defensive awareness, and isn't without the odd skilled D-man. Mark Fayne will likely play as an excellent 7th D-man/injury cover.

But in goal the Sabres have a real edge. Roberto Luongo has lead an ordinary HFNHL team to a cup before and now has a pretty good group in front of him. He will need to fire come playoff time, but if he does, this could be a really tricky team to play against.

Thats all...for now

Buffalo Bill
Hockey Editor for The Buffalo News

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