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Final Grade: Kurt Sauer

Final Grade: B

Midseason Grade: INC

Season Stats: 48 GP, 0 G, 6 A, 6 Pt, -3, 29 shots

Minutes: 878 total (6th out of 10 D), EV 15:39, PP 0:04, PK 2:35, ATOI 18:18



1st Half: 8 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pt, +1. 3 shots

2nd Half: 40 GP, 0 G, 6 A, 6 Pt, -4, 26 shots

Linemates: Clark (20 GP), Liles (10), Cumiskey (9), Leopold (8), Brisebois (1)

Career: Sauer's 6 assists were a career best, and his 6 points matched a career high set in 2004.

Report: Sauer finally managed to crawl out of his two-year stay in coach Quenneville's doghouse...Was a scratch for all but 3 of the first 36 games...Got a chance when Leopold and Brisebois both went down over a 7-game stretch and made the most of his opportunity...Only was scratched once in the last 46 games...He played solid, consistent hockey and was with Clark as the top pair over the last 20 games...Oh, by the way, the Avs were 15-3-2 in that span...He made several key improvements in his game...First, he cut down on puckhandling errors when he was pinching in – no more high-profile breakways in the other direction to raise the ire of the coaching staff...Second, he started blocking shots – 76 this year, up from just 27 the previous season...Finally, he stopped wasting his size and started hitting...His hits increased from 12 (!) to 52 this year...Sauer is not fast, but plays the angles well...He excels at taking away pucks in front of the net...Also very good at making sure that the pucks he gets his stick on get out of the zone...Isn't flashy, and doesn't line up for the big hit, which may explain why he isn't appreciated by fans as much as he should be...Although his penalty minutes were unchanged from the previous season, he seems to have cut down on "bad" penalties...Offensively? Not pretty...He has the coolest accent on the club.

Fast Fact: Sauer was a healthy scratch in 77 of his first 111 games under Quenneville.

2007-2007 Salary: $685,000

2007-2008 Status: RFA (needs a QO of $719,250)

Outlook: Sauer improved by leaps and bounds this year, and finally seems to have earned some trust, appearing on the top pairing and in key defensive situations towards the end of the season. He's just 26 years old, and should still have some potential to grow into. He was paired all season long with offensive-minded partners, and did a great job holding down the fort in his own end. He needs to be back with the club next year.