Who the hell is going to wear #44 for the Sabres?

Well, Sabres fans can’t say Darcy didn’t sign anybody. But, he really has yet to make a major impact in free agency. On the bright side, he didn’t just sign Bob Corkum.

The Sabres signed Rob Nidermayer to a one-year deal today. According to TSN, the deal is worth $1 million for the 2010-11 season.

Rob Niedermayer (left) scored 10 goals for New Jersey last year.

I definitely don’t hate this signing. But, I definitely don’t love it either. I have to assume that Regier was in the running for Matt Cullen, Matt Lombardi and, possibly, Saku Koivu. None of those guys fill the role that Niedermayer fills, or vice-versa. However, Niedermayer will certainly add veteran leadership and grit to a locker room that desperately needs it.

At this point two summers ago, the Sabres barely had any long-tenured NHL veterans. Then they brought in Craig Rivet, Patrick Lalime, Steve Montador, Mike Grier and now Niedermayer and Jordan Leopold. This will hopefully add some accountability to a room that fans feel are more concerned with scoring on Chippewa than in the playoffs.

Niedermayer, along with Leopold offer Stanley Cup Final experience. Hopefully that added presence is enough to get the Sabres over the first-round hump this season.

Expect to see him playing on the third or fourth line where Matt Ellis and Adam Mair played last year. This adds the luxury of keeping Tim Kennedy on the wing, along with Cody McCormick. Both of these players are more effective in that role.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of this signing is that the Sabres now have three players on the roster who wear, or have worn, #44 during their careers. Leopold, Niedermayer and Andrej Sekera all have sported double fours at one point or another. I would think Niedermayer would get his choice, given that he is the oldest of the group. That, plus Sekera is a bender. Leopold will be the odd man out and his other number of choice (#4) is worn by Steve Montador.

Not that it truly matters, but some poor sap is going to buy this guy’s uniform and have #72 Rob Neidermayer jersey from the one year he played in Buffalo.

For my money I hope he gets a renewal after the season and sticks around a bit longer, sort of like Grier did this season.

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