Sabres ink a Niedermayer, Re-sign a pair

In an unexpected move by GM Darcy Regier, the Buffalo Sabres have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with unrestricted free agent center Rob Niedermayer.  The deal is worth $1.150 million and playoff bonuses.  Niedermayer, the 5th overall pick in the 1993 draft, brings 16 years of NHL experience and veteran leadership whom won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.

Niedermayer has played 1082 games (Florida, Calgary, Anaheim, New Jersey) and has 450 points (181 goals, 269 assists).  Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff was an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers when Niedermayer and the Panthers went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996.  Ruff and Sabres management love the experience and leadership in which Niedermayer immediately brings to the locker room.

Sabres GM Darcy Regier on Rob Niedermayer: “The experience of knowing how to win, the experience of knowing how to play in critical situations defensively really is what Rob can bring… I’ll look at Mike Grier and what he has done for this hockey club and I think Rob will fit in that kind of an area.”

With the signing, I believe the Sabres have their 3rd and 4th lines complete:

Hecht-Niedermayer-Grier                                                                                                                                    McCormick-Gaustad-Kaleta

The Niedermayer signing and the re-signing of Cody McCormick tells me that the organization is making strides into turning into a team that can no longer be pushed around at will.  McCormicks’ short stint in the playoffs proved to the Sabres brass that McCormick will stick up for his teammates and will not allow anyone to touch goaltender Ryan Miller.  Niedermayer fits in that role as well.

However, with the Niedermayer signing, I believe it is fair to say that Adam Mair will be playing else where next season as the team now has too many forwards and there isn’t room for Mair on the roster.

Weber signs qualifying offer:

The Sabres also announced that D Mike Weber has signed his qualifying offer and will be returning to the team for at least one more season.  Many say Weber is ready for an NHL roster spot and he will have that opportunity in camp to prove that he is.

In 80 games with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, Weber had 21 points (5 goals, 6 assists) and had a team-high plus/minus rating of +18.

With the loss of Tallinder and Lydman, and the fact the Sabres only replaced one of them with the signing of Jordan Leopold, Weber will have a legitimate shot at making the big club this year in camp.

Sabres re-sign Lalime:

A third move was made today by the Sabres as back up goaltender Patrick Lalime has re-signed with the team on a one-year contract worth $600k.  Lalime, who turned 36 today, became close friends with Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller within the last two seasons and has helped Miller bring his game to where it is today.

The 200 game-winner posted a 4-8-1 record this past season with a 2.81 GAA.  Although the numbers aren’t impressive, neither was the teams’ performance in front of Lalime.  Ryan Miller started 68 games last season and I expect that to be around the same this up coming season.     

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About the Author: Sabres Hockey blogger, Passionate fan of all Hockey, Sport Management major, Buffalo Bills fan/season ticket holder, father of my beautiful daughter.

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