Who's holding their breath 'till noon? Well, breathe...

This has, for obvious reasons, been an exciting week for Buffalo Sabres fans. First, acquiring the toll taker of the “Death Tunnel”, and today the signing of  possibly the top defenseman set to hit the free agent market. A top four of  Tyler Myers, Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff and Jordan Leopold looks quite formidable, even quite intimidating. We are the talk of the league.

The team’s next move would logically be to go after that centerman they are lacking. As Irishmeg stated, the Sabres have a great number two in Roy, and a great number four (who could slide up to three if necessary) in Gaustad. The only centerman considered a game-changer in free agency this year is Brad Richards. There will be no less than a dozen teams sending Richards serious offers at high noon, and he will reportedly narrow that down to 3 or 4 teams. He may then decide to sleep on it, hoping for some clarity. So, my fine Sabres fans who have had their hopes pumped way the hell up this week, consider this a friendly warning: go into tomorrow, the opening of free agency, with optimism, but be cautious.

Terry Pegula has made us believe the unbelievable, that anything is possible, that no one is untouchable. Heck, I’m a believer. But, there is only so much to go around, and there are 29 other teams in the league. Brad Richards may very well consider the Sabres a very real option, but may ultimately decide to go elsewhere. He may be lured to the bright lights of NYC, or the warmth of a southern climate, or to the hockey epicenter, Toronto. This is not a slam dunk, even with T Pegs and his persuasive henchmen seemingly scooping up every worthwhile hockey player in site.

There will be movement tomorrow. There will be activity, and free agent signings across the league. There will be some good secondary players available but, beyond Richards, there are no offensive studs. We all may go to bed tomorrow disappointed that we didn’t land the big fish. After the week we’ve had, I think that Sabres fans are now expecting something big. We very well may end up with nothing tomorrow, and disappointed. That doesn’t mean that summer’s over, though. There still could be trades to make. The team that lands Richards may all of the sudden find themselves deep at center, and may want to move out a centerman. The Rangers, for instance, have Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Boyle as their top centers. Add Richards to the mix, and it looks like a center could be had from the blueshirts.

Brad Richards would be the icing on the cake for the Sabres this off-season, but he just may end up being the first domino towards landing the Sabres their top line pivot. We may have to wait into late July or August for conclusion to our search for said player. I’m confident Darcy Regier has a secondary plan to complete this roster if Richards, or whoever else they have their radar set on, isn’t available.  It may be a blessing in disguise if we do not sign Richards. There may be better options in the trade market, and trades take time.

Tomorrow may be the day where we wipe July 1st, 2007 from our psyches. Tomorrow may be a big let down after the week we’ve all had. Either way, Sabres fans, be hopeful but not presumptuous.



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