Sidney Crosby Pavel Datsyuk Claude Giroux Steven Stamkos Jonathan Toews Evgeni Malkin Nicklas Lidstrom Alex Ovechkin Daniel Sedin Zdeno Chara Henrik Sedin Shea Weber Henrik Lundqvist Tim Thomas Martin St-Louis Phil Kessel Pekka Rinne Jaromir Jagr Corey Perry Henrik Zetterberg Nicklas Backstrom Erik Karlsson Drew Doughty Joe Thornton Ryan Getzlaf Jarome Iginla Ilya Kovalchuk Brad Richards Zach Parise Anze Kopitar
Now let’s look at the last five Stanley Cup winners, and the following players these teams possess from the list above:
See a pattern here? Each of these teams have at least one or two dominant players, players considered superstars by league standards. Every one of these players, except for the two Bruins, were drafted by each of these clubs. Toews, Malkin, and Crosby were all top-5 picks in their respective draft years, while Getzlaf and Perry were lower first-round picks.
Looking again at that list, would you, as a Buffalo Sabres fan, take anyone from the current roster and insert him in with that bunch? Two years ago,
would have already been included. Not anymore.
? Maybe top-50.
? Perhaps if it were a top-100 list.
? Once he starts to show some real consistency, perhaps.
What the Sabres need is a bona-fide superstar. Whether it’s through a trade, free-agent signing or the draft, Buffalo is in short supply of being able to dress any one player on a nightly basis that scares the bejeezuz out of their opposition. Imagine the game-planning that would have to go on if you added, say, a Toews, a Sedin or a Malkin to the Sabres lineup.
Zach Parise is an unrestricted free-agent this summer, and he would seriously add an element of scoring and competitiveness to Buffalo’s roster (and perhaps allow them to move a winger – Vanek, perhaps – to acquire that ever-elusive number one centerman this team is lacking), but there will be 29 other teams lining up to procure his services.
So, with that in mind, would it be such a bad thing if the Sabres were to finish in the bottom five in the league, heading into the 2012 NHL Entry Draft? One, the team would be guaranteed a chance in the
NHL Draft Lottery
, putting them in the running for the number one pick overall. Two, any team picking in the top-five usually drafts a potentially great player, if not an impact player. Three, if the Sabres were actually picking a top two or three player, many times that player steps right into the NHL lineup in the upcoming season, and many
have an immediate impact. The top prospects eligible for the 2012 draft can be viewed
, and there are more than a handful of top-end studs to be had.
Obviously, if this year’s Sabres team has any form of competitive spirit (which is still up for debate), they are going to fight until the bitter end. There’s no guarantee where they’ll finish in the standings, and if they keep playing with the same urgency and intensity as they have displayed as of late, they may very well drop out of the top-five – or even top-ten – when it comes to seeding the teams on draft day.
As Sabres fans, we all want to cheer them to victory.
But, would it be such a bad thing if they started to slip again, and ended up with the chance to draft a superstar? It seems to me, if the organization truly
does have dreams of winning “multiple Cups”, it’s better if they lose more than they win from here on out.
only thinking of them.
Don’t forget about the
. All you have to do is register for free, indicate the Sabres as your favorite team, and you are entered to win tickets to the Sabres/
game on April 3rd.
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