The Sabres started the year with far too many wingers and a plethora of offensive defensemen. While the lack of centers and overabundance of wingers remains a fringe issue, the blueline has gotten a sudden dose of nasty.
In light of Jordan Leopold’s upper body injury, suffered yesterday against the Islanders, the Sabres have called up Joe Finley from the AHL.
Finley was a training camp invitee who had a strong showing in camp before signing a minor-league deal with the Amerks. Since then the former Capitals first round pick (27th overall in the 2005 Crosby draft) has blown up. By all accounts he has been a rock on the blueline and a steady shutdown force. He was rewarded with a two-way deal earlier this week.
Did I mention he is 6’8” and 260 pounds? No? Well now I did.
I was a fan of Finley back when he played at North Dakota. He is a big, nasty guy who is a shutdown defender. Just the type of attitude the Sabres need. Calling him up for Friday is kind of a risky move. The guy has gone through some tough times due to injuries before blossoming with the Sabres organization. I would hate to see him rushed along too fast only to halt the progress he has made to this point.
Considering the impressive NHL debut T.J. Brennan made last week, Finley must be showing considerable promise in the AHL. For a strong-skating big man with a serious mean streak, Finley has promise. He also has yet to see the NHL and has had a tumultuous journey to this point. Finley’s NHL debut shouldn’t be overly scrutinized, just be excited if he shows the ability to fit in at this level.