The Buffalo Sabres are not known for their tendency to bring in a big name free agent, or even land that deal that makes everyone go – “wow – the Buffalo Sabres just picked up so and so, we need to game plan a little differently.”
When it came time for the free agent period this summer, the Buffalo Sabres probably paid more than they had to in order to lure Christian Erhoff and Ville Leino to play for the Blue and Gold instead of opting to go somewhere else to play for similar or less money.
In order for Darcy Regier to make a trade that is going to help this team in the near future, he is going to have to overpay to get it done. It seems that almost everyone on the roster in Anaheim with just a couple of exceptions are for sale – an organizations management team tired with the malcontent of their players looking for something better. This after they made a coaching change to try and spark their suffering season. Anaheim is not interested in draft picks. They want young, established players – or NHL ready prospects in order to compete now.
Anaheim GM Brian Murray has stated in an interview there are GMs that he will not work with in this league because of their past dealings. Makes you wonder what kind of behind closed doors feelings are harbored for long time Sabres GM Darcy Regier.
If Darcy is going to try and bring in an NHL ready player to help this team surge int he second half of the season, he may have to part with some of the prospects that Sabres fans have instantly fallen in love with because of their recent play during the injury plague. (Might that be a curse from the Hockey gods? I can just see them ruling the hockey world going “How dare they call themselves Hockey Heaven!”)
Brayden McNabb, Zach Kassian, Luke Adam, TJ Brennan, Marcus Foligno, Colin Stuart, Paul Szczechura, Corey Tropp have all stepped into NHL roles – and performed well for the parent club. Many are NHL ready – and are just not able to crack the big club lineup due to the “core” guys that have a special place in the hearts of Sabres coaches and management. Parting with many of these good prospects might be the only way for Darcy to entice another GM to release a good NHL player to the Blue and Gold. At the same time a deal has to be done – the deal has to be done right and it has to impact the team immediately, or the discord amongst fans will only grow. Other teams know the problems that come with forwards like Derek Roy, and the streaky-ness of Drew Stafford, and the oft injured and aging Jochen Hecht. Trading trash and streaky is only going to get you the same in return.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done to transform this hockey club into a Stanley Cup contender. Much consideration on trades been the norm lately, thinking that the current players cannot get the job done. The Buffalo Sabres have had good coaches and GMs in the past that have failed to win with more talent. When those management positions failed to meet the standards of owners – they found themselves working in other NHL cities. The most famous one that comes to mind is bench boss Scotty Bowman. Bowman could have probably brought a Stanley Cup to the city of Buffalo, but the team never wanted him to be coach and GM.
As long as this current “core” of coaches and managers clings to the hopes that their core guys who have played and not won together at the NHL level – this team will continue to live up to substandard efforts and subpar performances.
While the buzzword around Buffalo has been patience and injury, the buzzword needs to be change and winning.