After three seasons with the New Jersey Devils, defenseman Henrik Tallinder was sent back from whence he came, to the Buffalo Sabres. Clearly, it was desired by both the Devils and Tallinder. The Swedish defenseman opened up about being unhappy with the Devils coaching staff, particularly head coach Pete DeBoer.
Tallinder told Bill Hoppe of Buffalo Hockey Beat that he spoke to Devils President/GM Lou Lamoriello during the offseason and asked to be traded. "I had a long conversation with [Lamoriello] after the season," he said. "We both made it pretty clear what we wanted." Lamoriello sent Tallinder to Buffalo in exchange for minor league winger Riley Boychuck in early July.
The 34-year-old Swedish defenseman says that, while he got along with Jacques Lemaire during his first season with the club, he and DeBoer "didn't create positive images for each other." He credited Lemaire for playing him like a number one defenseman, while with DeBoer he was often a healthy scratch.
"I'm excited definitely to get away from New Jersey; not the organization, but a couple of individuals over there on the coaching side," Tallinder said. "So every time I get to a new place I get excited."
After signing a 4-year, $13.5 million contract with New Jersey, he played all 82 games with the team in 2010-11, playing on the first Devils team to miss the playoffs since 1996. He missed five months of the 2011-12 season after suffering a blood clot. He came back in time for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, and played in the final three games of that series. He participated in 25 games last season, scoring a goal and three assists.
Tallinder returns to Buffalo, where he was drafted in 1997. He spent his first seven seasons with the club, turning into one of the team's best defensemen. He has also been credited with helping Tyler Myers develop during his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season.