www.TSN.ca has named their top 50 current NHL players going into the 2010-11 season.  Ryan Miller is at #12.  http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?id=29790  Tyler Myers also represents the Sabres at #37.  Myers was the 9th defenseman ranked.  The Defensive rankings up to Myers were as follows: 

(5)Duncan Keith

(8)Drew Doughty

(19) Shea Weber

(21) Chris Pronger

(23) Zdeno Chara

(26) Nicklas Lidstrom

(27) Mike Green

(34) Dan Boyle

(37) Tyler Myers

Not surprisingly, Sabre forwards were shut out of the top 50 player rankings.  Chicago Forward Patrick Sharp was #50.  Sidney Crosby narrowly edged out Alexander Ovechkin for the #1 spot.  I hope you enjoy scrolling through the top 50 NHL players.  My first impression is that there would be no Sabres on the list.  But when I got to Ryan Miller at 12, that seemed to be accurate.  When I got to Tyler Myers at 37 I thought that might be a bit high for only having played one season.  However, Myers is the real deal and you don't have to try too hard to believe he'll continue to become more dominant.

Other observations were that Chicago has 2 Defenseman and 2 forwards on the list.  Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharpe, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook.  I wonder how far down Thomas Vanek would have been, had they kept going? 

Speaking of Thomas Vanek, he returned to the ice for the first time since injuring his head against Montreal.  Vanek is expected to play in the season opener Friday against Ottawa.  Backup goalie, Patrick Lalime also returned to the ice from a groin injury.  Craig Rivet was a 3rd Sabre to return from injury, his a neck injury.  Rivet was paired with Mike Weber.

Here are the speculative defensive pairings:

Myers-Morrisonn

Leopold-Montador

Rivet-Weber

Scratches: Sekera, Butler

Matt Ellis was waived yesterday and is believed to have made it through without any team claiming him.  He is eligible now to report to Portland of the AHL.  I assume he'll do so, his other choices being to go play hockey in Russia or work at Wegmans.