Gragnani en route; Tyler keep your phone on

The Buffalo Sabres have recalled defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani from the Portland Pirates (AHL). In his second professional season, the 6'2 Quebec native has four goals and 26 assists and is +3. This is the second NHL call-up for Gragnani, and his first of the 2008-09 season. A puck moving defenseman drafted in the 3rd round in 2005 (PEI - QMJHL), Gragnani scored 14 goals and 52 total points for Rochester in 2007-08 while playing the majority of his shifts as a forward as the year wore on. In a two-game stint with Buffalo as a left wing, Gragnani was called for a pair of hooking minors. Allowed to focus on just one position this season, Gragnani has settled into a better defensive posture while excelling on the power play. Expect a better player with this visit. Buffalo was forced to make a call after Henrik Tallinder injured his shoulder in a mid-week loss at Tampa. The organizational depth is running on fumes with Andrej Sekera, Teppo Numminen, Mike Weber, and Mike Funk also banged up, and Mike Card ill. First-year man Mike Kostka is the only healthy contract on Portland's blueline at the moment. Aside from Kostka's availability, what would happen if another injury were to take place? I think there are two options to consider. The easy, financially responsible scenario is that, just like Gragnani and Nathan Paetsch, Mark Mancari has some two-way experience and it still shows in his game. Perhaps a hole could be patched on an emergency basis. The other, more intriguing emergency option would be to to call Tyler Myers out of Kelowna (WHL). Yes it is early, but those who don't think he's going to make a push to be in Buffalo next season after another eight months of development would benefit from a mid-season temperature check on his progress. The World Juniors is not the NHL, but his gold-medal showing was a solid step in the right direction, and a brief, well-managed call would be another confidence builder for the 12th overall pick last June. Heck, with a two-game swing through Alberta this week, it'd be a short, familiar trip for the 6'7-1/2 Calgary native.
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