For the fourth article of series we will be breaking down the Buffalo Sabres of the Northeast Division.
Buffalo added some new players who should prove useful in defenseman Craig Rivet and goalie Patrick Lalime.
Rivet was aquired in a trade that saw Buffalo send two second-round draft picks to San Jose. Rivet played in 74 games last season while posting 35 points for the Sharks.
Lalime, meanwhile, played 33 games for the Chicago Blackhawks with a 16-12-2 record. The 34-year-old posted had a save percentage of .890 and a goals-against average of 2.82. He will take on the role of Ryan Miller's backup.
The road out of Buffalo was taken by the likes of Steve Bernier, Jocelyn Thibault and Dmitri Kalinen.
Buffalo dealt Bernier in a surprise trade to Vancouver and only recieved a package of a second- and third-round draft pick in return. Bernier spilt time between San Jose and Buffalo last season, recording 32 points in 76 games.
Also gone is backup goalie Jocelyn Thibault, who has yet to sign with another team. Jocelyn played between the pipes for Buffalo in 12 games last year with a 3-4-2 record.
Defenseman Dmitri Kalinen, a first-round draft pick of Buffalo in 1998, inked a one-year deal with The Rangers. Kalinen played in 46 games last season with only eight points and a plus/minus rating of minus-seven.
Buffalo has depth at forward, so the majority of its scoring this year will need to come off of the sticks of Maxim Afinogenov, Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Jochen Hecht, Paul Gaustad, Thomas Vanek, Ales Kotalik, and Tim Connolly (if he stays healthy). Also, young players like Drew Stafford and Daniel Paille need to step up and show they can compete at the NHL level.
The defense of the Sabres should include:
And also Mike Webber and Andrej Sekera should step in if there are any injuries.
Ryan Miller will undoubtedly hold the starting job, and Patrick Lalime should be an upgrade over Jocelyn Thibault at the backup position.
Captain: Jason Pominville
Alternates: Teppo Numminen, Jochen Hecht, and Derek Roy
General Manager: Darcy Regier
Head Coach: Lindy Ruff
Assistant Coaches: Brain McCutcheon and James Patrick
Goaltending Coach: Jim Corsi
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Doug McKenney
Head Athletic Trainer: Tim Macre