We’ll know more at noon, but it looks like Adam Mair’s tenure with the Sabres is about to come to an end.
When GMDR placed Mair on waivers yesterday, it really shouldn’t have come as a shock to anyone. Maybe the timing was a little surprising, but Mair really was the odd man out.
With Mair, the Sabres had 21 skaters. They already traded Dan Paille to free up some roster space, and we thought that would solve the problems for the forwards.
Coming into the season, it looked like Nathan Paetsch and Henrik Tallinder were the most likely candidates to go on the chopping block.
But Tallinder has played well (being paired with Tyler Myers certainly doesn’t hurt) and Paetsch can play both offense and defense.
Paetsch’s versatility certainly helped his case as did Tallinder’s $3.25 million salary.
So why not Matt Ellis? Well, because he’s been in the lineup. Lindy Ruff is obviously a fan and Ellis has been playing well. He’s also healthier than Mair has been.
Now if Mair clears waivers, the Sabres have a lot more flexibility. Mair could stay up with the team as a reserve (he’s still a better option as the 13th forward than Paetsch) or be sent to Portland and be recalled at will.
Waiving him now means the Sabres are actually planning for the team to be healthy again. When both Lydman and Patrick Lalime are back, a move like waiving Mair won’t seem like a desperate, knee-jerk reaction.
Now I wouldn’t be surprised if a defenseman was traded down the road, but for now, this move gives the Sabres some options.
I won’t write Mair’s eulogy now as there’s still a chance he could be a Sabres by lunch today.
But as the second-longest tenured Sabre (behind Tim Connolly), he’s gained a lot of fans because of his hard-nosed style on teams that lacked the grit necessary to be successful.
Sure he took dumb penalties from time to time, but what other Sabre would have the balls to call Dany Heatley a murderer on the ice and nearly get in a locker room brawl with the Senators?
Looking back, he’s a part of one of Regier’s best trades. And it’s mostly because he’s not Erik Rasmussen.
UPDATE: Mair has cleared waivers and will remain in Buffalo as the 13th forward.