The Buffalo Sabres made a minor move Sunday, acquiring defenceman Henrik Tallinder from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for minor-league forward Riley Boychuk.
Or rather, reacquiring. From the Sabres:
Tallinder (6'4", 215 lbs., 1/10/79) began his NHL career in Buffalo after the Sabres selected him in the second round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, spending parts of eight seasons with the Sabres from 2001-02 to 2009-10. He has spent the last three seasons with the Devils, recording 26 points (6+20) and 66 penalty minutes in 146 games.
"We are excited to have Henrik back in the mix on our blue line," said Regier. "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."
One such younger defenceman that might benefit from the return of Henrik Tallinder: Tyler Myers, Tallinder's partner during his 48-point, Calder trophy-winning rookie season in 2009-10.
It was a breakout year for both defenders, and both parlayed it into spiffy new contracts.
Unfortunately, neither wound up living up to them. In the first year of his massive extension, a year in which he was paid $12 flipping million, Myers was inconsistent and, at one point in the season, a healthy scratch.
Meanwhile, over in New Jersey, where Tallinder was on year three of a four-year, $13.5 million deal, the blueliner was in and out of the lineup as well.
Finally, the Devils gave up on him and sent him back from whence he came.
“This was done to clear a spot for a young defenseman, who we feel are ready to play – one of them is,” Lou Lamoriello said. “Which one I couldn’t tell you right now, but they’re all close. That’s basically what it is. It also moves money.”
But one man's trash is another man's treasure. While the Devils are happy to be rid of Tallinder, the Sabres are happy to have him back. They know what he can be, and they've seen what Myers can be when the two are together. This is a low-risk gamble -- all it will cost them is money, in effect -- with a very high potential reward: a top pairing, something they haven't had since Tallinder left them three years ago.