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Jordan Leopold: Should Sabres keep or move him?

Thursday, 03.21.2013 / 10:26 AM / 2013 Trade Deadline

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Jordan Leopold: Should Sabres keep or move him?
NHL.com examines the pros and cons to the Sabres making Leopold available to move prior to the April 3 NHL Trade Deadline.

Defenseman Jordan Leopold had been a solid contributor in his first seven NHL seasons, but hit a new gear when he signed with the Buffalo Sabres in July 2010.

Never a big offensive performer previously, he had 13 goals in 2010-11 and followed that with 10 goals last season.

However, injuries and a coaching change have limited Leopold's opportunities this season. Could it be time for the Sabres to find a new home for Leopold?

NHL.com examines the pros and cons to the Sabres making Leopold available to move prior to the April 3, 2013 NHL Trade Deadline:

JORDAN LEOPOLD

Position: Defenseman

Age: 32

Statistics: 20 games, 1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points, minus-6

Salary status: Leopold is in the final season of a three-year, $9 million contract and can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Keep him: This season's Sabres have the look of the Montreal Canadiens of last season -- a team hurt by injuries and down seasons from a number of key performers. The Canadiens have rebounded this season to become a contender for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and Sabres general manager Darcy Regier could hope his team has the same bounce-back next season. In addition to having important core players Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller, Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis locked in long-term, keeping high-quality complementary parts like Leopold only will assist in the turnaround.

Move him: With the Sabres mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, it could be time for a full-scale overhaul. When that scenario arrives, the first players usually dealt are the ones approaching free agency. If the Sabres don't envision Leopold as part of their future, the time has come to make a deal and get something in return for a player who could help a number of teams as a second- or third-pair blueliner.

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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff