Sabres' Defensive Injury Woes Continue, Recall Gragnani

Brandon K.Correspondent IJanuary 27, 2009

Tonight, the Buffalo Sabres will face-off against the Edmonton Oilers without three of their top six defensemen.

Andrej Sekera, Teppo Numminen and Henrik Tallinder will all sit out the next four games on Buffalo's west coast trip due to injury.

Chris Butler and Nathan Paetsch have already filled the voids left by Sekera and Numminen. Now with Tallinder out with a bum shoulder, general manager Darcy Regier will look to a rather unfamiliar face to replace the injured defenseman.

Marc-Andre Gragnani is the most recent call-up from the Sabres' AHL affiliate Portland Pirates. The 21-year-old from Montreal led all Portland defensemen with 30 points (5G-26A) which ranks him fifth overall on the team.

Gragnani played two games for the Sabres last season, but not at his normal position on the blue line. Coach Lindy Ruff had the youngster playing forward, which is a compliment to the kind of player Gragnani is.

Gragnani is a offensive defenseman that can surely contribute in the scoring department for the Sabres. Last year, for the former Sabres' AHL affiliate, Rochester Americans, Gragnani recorded 52 points in 78 games.

Not only are three of the Sabres top seven defensemen on the injury list, but Mike Card, Michael Funk and Mike Weber have also been bitten by the injury bug recently.

Weber, who has already played two games this season for the Sabres and 16 for them in a short stint last season, would have been the obvious replacement for Tallinder. But Weber could miss another one to three weeks with a knee injury.

Local sports radio, WGR550 in Buffalo reports Gragnani will be paired alongside Paetsch tonight in Edmonton.