Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Cowboys. But do put them on the path to becoming a right-shot NHL defenseman. The Buffalo Sabres would appreciate it.
It feels as if every team in the NHL is looking for a right-shot D Man. There’s definitely a shortage.
Clearly, some defensemen are comfortable playing either side. Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power are both left-shot defensemen who are listed as being able to play either side.
But most NHL coaches will say that in a perfect world they would prefer to have three left-shot defensemen and three right-shot defensemen.
The Sabres, with $16.9 million in cap space, could use a veteran right-shot defenseman to play in their top four.
It’s unknown how aggressive the Sabres will be, but here is a list of right-shot defensemen who are pending unrestricted free agents:
Matt Dumba (Minnesota Wild)
At 28, he’s in the prime of his career. He’s a two-way defender who will post 100+ blocked shots and hits every season. He averaged 21:17 of playing time for a hard-nosed Minnesota Wild. There is some inconsistency in his game. But teams will put up with more to get a right shot D man. He should have multiple suitors.
Scott Mayfield (New York Islanders)
It’s hard to imagine that Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello won’t do everything in his power to persuade Mayfield to stay on the Island. He’s a dependable defender. Plus, he’s 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. Mayfield blocked 168 shots this season. Wouldn’t he fit nicely with Power, Dahlin and Mattias Samuelsson
Radko Gudas (Florida Panthers)
When it comes to defense, Gudas, 32, is like an ogre guarding the castle. He is 208 pounds of misery for opposing forwards. He posted 308 hits this season.. The Panthers would like to keep him, but their salary cap situation makes that dicey. He’s another player who will be popular in the marketplace.
Damon Severson (New Jersey Devils)
Severson, 30, is a nine-year veteran. He’s a quality offensive contributor, capable of putting up 30 to 40 points. The Devils played him three minutes less this season and he was +8.
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John Klingberg (Minnesota Wild)
Has offensive ability. He isn’t a physical player or a shot blocker. His stock has dropped over the past couple of seasons.
Kevin Shattenkirk (Anaheim Ducks)
The plus for Shattenkirk is that he has 891 games of NHL experience. He’s known more for offense than defense. He was -20 last season for a poor Ducks team. He will be 35 in January.
Travis Hamonic (Ottawa Senators)
Feels like he’s been around forever, but he’s only 32. He played effectively for the Senators this season. Not an game-changer, but can be an effective player
Connor Clifton (Boston Bruins)
Plenty of room on the bandwagon for those who like Clifton. He’s a decent offensive player and he posted 208 hits this season. Clifton is 28. The problem is the Bruins like him too and probably will get creative to get him signed.