After watching from the press box for 15 games, Mike Weber looked as if he had finally worked his way back to a regular spot in the lineup.
Weber played key minutes against Montreal and was one of Buffalo’s most effective defensemen in that game. However, Weber experienced somewhat of a backslide yesterday against New Jersey; it appears as if an injury may be responsible for that. According to The Buffalo News, Weber is going to miss some time with an injury. Lindy Ruff said the injury “will take some time”. Weber joins Ryan Miller and Cody McCormick on the shelf with extended injuries.
It seems as if the Sabres will call up T.J. Brennan to fill the void left by Weber. Now, this could be a simple insurance policy to provide a seventh defenseman while Marc-Andre Gragnani is reinserted into the line up. However, it would seem silly not to give Brennan at least one game on the weekend to see how he responds in his first NHL call-up.
Brennan is, at best a two-way defenseman. However, he seems like much more of a puck mover than anything else. Just what Buffalo needed, to put another puck mover on the ice.
Still, Brennan was a high selection (picked with the 2nd round selection received from Philly in the Biron trade) and has shown that he is on the cusp of breaking into the show. Corey Tropp got his first NHL action this season and has responded well. There is no reason to think that Brennan won’t play to his absolute best in his NHL debut.
The trade of Brennan for Weber isn’t as detrimental on an individual level as it is to the Sabres as a whole. Weber brought quite a bit of stability and toughness, something that has been lacking for much of the season. Without him in the lineup the Sabres defense is reverted to a soft, puck-moving set of five with Robyn Regehr left to fill the toughness quotient.
Now, Tyler Myers look rejuvenated after taking a much deserved seat in the press box on Monday. He played aggressive and physical – two traits he needs to continually develop. Perhaps benching Christian Ehrhoff is in order, especially considering how poorly he has played already this year. I think a one game reprieve may wake up the high-priced acquisition.
TBN also reports that Jochen Hecht and Tyler Ennis have not only been skating, but are nearing a return. Ruf went so far as to say one may play on the weekend. This is all fine and dandy, but it Ennis is the one to return, where does he play? I firmly believe that the best place for Ville Leino to play is on the wing with Drew Stafford and Derek Roy. If Brad Boyes is to play center for that line, so be it. But there is no better place for Leino to play (aside from opposite Vanek). If Leino were to be moved again his confidence would be shattered and you will be starting from scratch all over again. The points aren’t there just yet, but I’m confident they will come.
If either of the two were to come back, Hecht would offer the greatest benefit to the team. He is a responsible center/wing who controls the puck. He would work wonderfully centering Boyes/McCormick/Tropp and whoever else may be bumped to the fourth line. I hope that doesn’t include Luke Adam, but who knows.
Frankly, Ennis doesn’t have a place on this roster. Not right now, at least. He is a flashy, offensive threat. However, there are few spots to insert him. Short of creating a “fourth line” with Ennis (or Leino) centered by Hecht with Boyes on the wing, you really can’t cook up a good position for him at this time.
I wouldn’t necessarily say he is trade bait, but I’m not sure the Sabres would be well suited to put him in the lineup.