The Sabres find themselves in a reasonable position for making the playoffs this year, but an injury to one of the team's top defensemen may put a lot of their successes in doubt for the rest of the year. It was announced, prior to the Sabres' game against the Devils, that the Sabres are now expecting to be without Jordan Leopold for an indefinite period of time with a broken hand. Leopold reportedly suffered the hand injury on Friday night against the Panthers and I would say, through previous broken hands this season, that he should be expecting to miss anywhere between 4-to-8 weeks, depending on which bone was broken.
With only two full weeks left in the season, that doesn't look positive for the playoffs, especially since the Sabres will likely face one of the division winners in the first round. The outside shot would possibly see Leopold back for the second round of the playoffs, but that's a pretty big if.
It's definitely a tough finish to a pretty decent season for Leopold, as he's having one of his best seasons in the league, period. In 71 games played, Leopold has 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points, setting career-highs in both goals and points this year. Unofficially, after Saturday's games, Leopold is ranked 210th in pool scoring, 27th among all defensemen, so I would say that is a pretty good year for him. I think that will get him some pretty good consideration at the draft next year.
In the draft this year, Leopold was taken 279th overall, the second-to-last pick in the opening draft, in the 14th round by Wayne H.. He definitely turned out to be quite the bargain in the end, certainly one of the reasons why Wayne has a defense corps that is just a shade above average in the pool, after Saturday night. Unfortunately for Wayne, his defense has taken some pretty big hits, as two of them, including Leopold, won't see another game in two weeks and a third has been a healthy scratch way too often.
Leopold was also set to be in the playoff pool this year, but you should be avoiding his name, if at all possible. Even if the Sabres are to make it through to the second round by upsetting a favourite, the chances of him coming back are not very good.
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