Leopold Providing Steady Presence
With Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff still sidelined by injuries, expect Jordan Leopold to get plenty of ice time tonight. In fact, he’ll probably log the most minutes amongst the Sabres. He’s not Myers or Ehrhoff but Leopold has provided a steady presence along the blue line down the stretch.
Leopold is 3rd on the team in ice time, averaging a little over 22 minutes a game which leaves him behind only Ehrhoff and Myers. But the 9 year veteran has seen his minutes go up with the injuries on defense. The Minnesota native has recorded at least 25 minutes in each of the last 4 games including 28 in last week’s win at Washington, his 2nd busiest game of the season.
The 9 year NHL veteran came to Buffalo known more as an offensive defenseman but has improved in his own end this season and has been more reliable. Leopold is a plus 5 going into tonight’s game against the Flyers after recording a minus 11 last season. He also leads the team in blocked shots.
As far as his offensive numbers, his 10 goals leads all Sabres defensemen and his 24 points is 2nd behind Ehrhoff. His 77 games played leads all defensemen as well. The crazy goal mouth scramble, game tying goal against Toronto meant back to back double digit goal seasons for the first time in his NHL career.
Leopold has been pretty consistent too. His roughest stretch came during the franchise record 12 game losing streak in December and January. He was a minus 9 over 5 games but had a goal in the streak busting victory at New Jersey.
The one area in which he has been less effective is the power play. Last season he had 5 goals and 6 assists on the power play while this season he has only 1 goal and 4 assists. That drop off is likely due to the presence of Ehrhoff who has been a mainstay on the Sabres power play. Leopold is under contract for one more season at 3 million dollars.