16 February 2007

ouch, Buffalo

Out at least six weeks with a broken wrist:

The Sabres have good enough depth that they should be able to get through this and hang on to the #1 or #2 spot in the east. If Max does come back for the playoffs, this could actually strengthen the overall club by giving younger players some experience.

(although wouldn't it be more Buffalo-like to have Max get hurt the week before the playoffs?)

It'll be interesting to see the effect this has on Thomas Vanek - he has been meshed very well with Afinogenov in this breakout year for him. I'm expecting his line (along with Derek Roy) will have to take on a more responsible role, something Vanek had a lot of trouble with last year, leading to his eventual benching during the playoff run.

top candidates to take spots of Afinogenov and Jiri Novotny (also injured in the game last night):

- Drew Stafford - their top prospect, and one who had a nice taste of the bigs earlier in the season with 19 games in Buffalo.

- Clarke MacArthur - another hard-nosed winger who probably has a top end of 15-25 goals at the NHL level.

- Marek Zagrapan - a center - is their most offensively gifted prospect down in Rochester although has been having quite the down year for him w/ only 11 goals so far. I don't expect to see him.

Neither Stafford nor MacArthur will obviously bring what Max brings to the Sabres' offence as they both play more of a physical 2-way game. I'm pretty confident we won't be seeing any of this type of goal:

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