Although losing four games in a row and finishing a road trip 2-2-3 is normally a bad thing, the last Sabres road trip may not have been too bad as it did prove to be a very significant one.
With only a few days remaining until the final one-month dash to the trade deadline, the Buffalo Sabres management did get a reality check as to what they might have to from now up until the deadline if they want to make the Sabres true contenders.
Just before the road trip began, the general consensus amongst fans was that the Sabres needed another top-six forward. That theory still exists now after the road trip, however the last four games the Buffalo Sabres have played shows fans that acquiring a top-six forward may not be Buffalo's top priority after all.
After this road trip the painful truth was revealed to Sabres fans: this team needs more depth, defensively. While Myers and Tallinder have been solid, there are others who have been less than or close to mediocre.
Here is a look at some players who would be wise to improve their play defensively if they want to stick around in Buffalo.
It's not as if this is all of sudden. If you really think about it Montador hasn't exactly been great for the Sabres. The only reason we over look players like Montador is because of the outstanding performances by players such as Tyler Myers, Tim Connolly, heck even Patrick Kaleta has been doing a nice job.
The problem with Montador is he is acting like a child. Not in a silly goofy way but in a Utopia dreamy type of way. In other words, Montador is trying to play a type of game that he doesn't have the necessary skills to do so.
My only solution for this would be to bench him for a game or two so he finally realizes that he isn't untouchable and that he should improve his game drastically if he wants to stick around.
It isn't as if Lydman has been that bad, however the play of his defensive partner Montador doesn't really help his case. There was once a time where Lydman was considered one of the better defenseman for the Sabres.
However, in light of Montador's mediocre play, Lydman has felt the need to do everything himself and he is trying to do things he is not capable of doing (i.e long range passes, passes through the middle, etc.).
If I were Lindy Ruff I would sit him out for one game and see what his reaction is the next game. I would also consider moving Lydman to a different defensive pairing and see if he still has what it takes to be a decent defenseman or if he is just unnecessary cap space that needs to be unloaded.
The fact that he is fourth on the Sabres in goals yet last in +/- rating (-12) suggests that Clarke Macarthur is the slowest on the backcheck. Although Macarthur has shown a ton of promise, his defensive ability makes him a liability which would prevent Lindy Ruff from giving him too much ice time.
My suggestion, move him. As much as I like Macarthur's offensive ability, the man does not belong on a roster that has been given a reputation of being great defensively.
With Thomas Vanek heating up and looking like he is about to explode any minute, the Sabres might find it to be in their best interest to put the 24 year old on the trade block.
With the Ottawa Senators playing the way they are right now, if the Buffalo Sabres don't fix the areas that need fixing, they might find themselves out of what was once called the clinched north east division.