Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sending Stafford to minors would be easy subtraction

It doesn't take a math major to look around the halls of HSBC Arena, count the players and come up with 24. The roster limit is 23. The Sabres will have one too many once Jochen Hecht is activated from injured reserve Friday. So who goes? There are three skaters who can be sent outright to the minor leagues: defenseman Andrej Sekera and forwards Drew Stafford and Patrick Kaleta. Sekera is part of the lockdown defensive duo and the first power-play unit. He's going nowhere. Kaleta brings a ruggedness that is otherwise lacking. Stafford is slumping. He was dropped from the first line and has just three points, including none in the past five games. He has played less than 10 minutes in three of the past four. Three recent scratches could be sent to the minors but would have to clear waivers: Nathan Paetsch, Andrew Peters and Matt Ellis. Paetsch would certainly be claimed. Peters is highly admired in the dressing room, and coach Lindy Ruff likes having an enforcer on the roster. The Sabres claimed Ellis off waivers just before the season opener. He was scratched the past three games but was solid in the seven prior. He would probably draw interest if he made the wire again. Tim Connolly is nicked up (again!), and he could be placed on IR so no one has to leave town. But my choice would be Stafford. He's done little on the ice. He seems to lack passion for hockey off it. Send him to Portland. ---John VoglSource

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