By Mike Harrington
The Buffalo Sabres have re-acquired an old friend, getting veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder back from the New Jersey Devils for prospect winger Riley Boychuk.
Tallinder, 34, has spent the last three years in New Jersey after leaving Buffalo via free agency in 2010, when he was the rock as Tyler Myers' defense partner during Myers' Calder Trophy season. His career with the Devils never really panned out, as he spent the last two years battling injuries and sitting out as a healthy scratch.
Tallinder played in 25 games last season, posting one goal and three assists with an even rating. He was minus-11 during the 2011-12 season. He will make $3.5 million this year in the final year of his contract with a cap hit of $3.375 million.
Tallinder was Buffalo's No. 2 pick in the 1997 draft and spent parts of eight seasons with the Sabres. He was one of the key members of the defense of the 2006 team that got to the Eastern Conference finals and the broken arm he suffered in Game Four proved to be a major factor in the seven-game loss to Carolina.
"We are excited to have Henrik back in the mix on our blue line," general manager Darcy Regier said in a release from the team. "His experience will be invaluable not only in adding more stability to our back end, but also in the development of some of our younger defensemen."
"He's a regular defenseman and he wasn't playing regularly," Devils GM Lou Lamoriello explained to New Jersey reporters today. "It was a mutual understanding that I would try and do something with him. This will leave room for the kids."
The Devils are also trying to re-sign defenseman Marek Zidlicky and needed to open cap space to do it. The Sabres had more than $13 million in cap space as of this morning, so they have plenty of room for Tallinder. And, of course, they could have much more by the time the season starts if they move Ryan Miller and/or Thomas Vanek.
Tallinder has played 614 career NHL games overall and his 468 with Buffalo rank 11th among all defensemen in franchise history. Of course, that also now ranks him first on Buffalo's youthful blueline.
Boychuk was Buffalo's seventh-round pick in 2010. He spent last year with Fort Worth of the Central League and clearly didn't figure into Buffalo's plans. He played 26 games in Rochester in 2011-12 without scoring a goal.
taggedHenrik Tallinder | New Jersey Devils | Sabres front office