Two in the Mailbox – Potential Lines and Pairings, Risto Workload and Very Bad Trades

Two in the Mailbox, the (sometimes) weekly mailbag on the Sabres, goalie stuff, Buffalo and anything in between, is back. You can submit to the mailbag using #2ITBmailbag on Twitter or emailing 2intheboxbuffalo@gmail.com.

A quick note before we begin this week. Now that the Sabres are completely done and the offseason questions are circling the same topics, the mailbox will probably come out every other week or perhaps even take a brief hiatus as more Sabres-related topics come back into focus once the playoffs wrap up. And now, to the questions. Continue reading

Kaleta suspension creates balance with Sabres lines

Losing Patrick Kaleta did not seem to be the type medicine a slumping Sabres team needed. However, it seems as if the line jumble created after the suspension may have been exactly what the doctor ordered.

Brad Boyes and Nathan Gerbe could be seeing a lot more time together in the future.

Losing Kaleta forced Buffalo to recall Corey Tropp from Rochester and move Brad Boyes to the wing with Nathan Gerbe and Paul Gaustad. Tropp skated with Matt Ellis and Cody McCormick. Tropp was effective in a limited role and should see a few more minutes over the next three games.

Boyes stood out more in his new role than Tropp did. Obviously he is playing in a more prominent role both on the power play and even strength. But he certainly looked right at home with two players who are more offensively gifted than his previous linemates. Continue reading

Finding the right spot for Ville Leino

Of the three off-season acquisitions made by the Buffalo Sabres, Ville Leino was probably the biggest question mark.

Would a move back to wing benefit Ville Leino?

Leino was acquired to play center, despite playing exclusively as a winger in Detroit and Philadelphia. He has proven to be a playoff performer (21 points in 19 games for Philly in 2010) and had a solid 2010-11 season for the Flyers (19+34). For those playing at home, that would have been second-highest on Buffalo’s roster. Leino was dynamic playing a wing/center hybrid for the Flyers alongside Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell.

Darcy Regier and the Sabres were convinced Leino could play center and play center well. Perhaps they reached a bit after losing the Brad Richards sweepstakes, but they identified Leino as an adequate piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle. He was expected to step into Tim Connolly’s role and improve on the shortcomings the oft-injured center had. Continue reading