Taking a look at the Sabres' D
When the season starts, the Sabres will boast one of the best defensive corps in the NHL. Newcomers Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff will bolster the top two defensive pairings. Defense is at a premium in the "new NHL" and adding players of the caliber of a Regehr or an Ehrhoff will provide immediate dividends. With talents like Tyler Myers, Andrej Sekera, Jordan Leopold and Marc Andre Gragnani already in place, Ryan Miller will feel very secure in net.
With the talent in place on the back end, it creates many options when it comes to defensive pairings. Let's take a look at some likely pairings.
Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff - These two will make an excellent pairing; they both possess good size and play a steady two way game. With Myers and Ehrhoff on the ice, opposing forwards will find it tough to make plays when in the zone. Additionally, both shoot well and make good outlet passes.
Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold - Instead of having two good two-way defensemen, this line features stay-at-home rear guard Robyn Regehr with offensive specialist Jordan Leopold. Leopold is good in his own end, but could lean on Regehr for defensive support. Freshly signed up-and-comer Marc Andre Gragnani could also pair with Regehr.
Mike Weber and Andrej Sekera will likey hold down the bottom pair. They made up the second pair much of last season and given the reduced role, it can be expected that they will excel there.
It was just announced today that Marc Andre Gragnani signed to a one-year contract with the Sabres. Financial terms have yet to be announced. Gragnani really stepped his game up in the playoffs this year. He led the Sabres in points in the playoffs this past year and showed poise, skill, smarts and a strong defensive game. If he can keep up that kind of production, he will be an intregal part of the Sabres' defense for many years to come.
The Sabres' defense will be much improved this year. Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth will be significantly better supported this year in comparison to last season. The combination of an improved defense and already very good goaltending will be difficult for teams to score against.