Those who have known me for a while know that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Sabres GM Darcy Regehr. If you had asked me last season what I’d want the Sabres to do, firing Darcy would of most likely been near the top of my list. However this season has led me to reconsider after evaluating Darcy under the Terry Pegularegime. How accurate is the idea that Darcy was handcuffed by Golisano all of those years?
The first move Darcy made may be the least popular among fans, trading for Brad Boyes from the St. Louis Blues. Boyes hasn’t exactly panned out as planned, however his acquisition marked a changing in the philosophical approach of the Buffalo Sabres. During the Golisano era they wouldn’t of brought in a player at the deadline who makes 4 million a year and had an extra year on his current deal. It was a risk, and honestly one that didn’t lead to us losing all that much. How many of you cry yourselves to sleep at night because we didn’t have that second round pick?
This summer was when the heavy lifting started, with Buffalo’s big trades and signings. First, as most of you know, they traded Paul Byron and Chris Butler to Calgary in exchange for Robyn Regehr and Ales Kotalik. Last season people were calling for Butler’s head, and this year he had an average season scoring 2 goals and 13 assists in 68 games. Byron had three goals and two assists in 22 games. Regehr was one of the Sabres most sound defenseman this year, playing for the most part with Tyler Myers. His point totals weren’t great, but that wasn’t surprising. He’s a shut down defensive defenseman. He did his duties. Kotalik is playing in Europe, not to many’s surprise. He most likely was a chip necessary to land Regehr.
Ehrhoff was another nice move as well. Over the course of the season he established himself as a very solid defenseman. It was noticeable when he was out of the lineup. He didn’t come close to his totals from last season, but his 32 points led all Sabres defenseman. The Leino signing didn’t really turn out too well this season, but he did start to develop chemistry as the season went along and just had trouble finishing. He has five more years on his contract, he has time to grow.
And then there’s the moves made at the Trade Deadline this year, both of which I am a huge fan of. Getting a first round pick for Gaustad was great, even though its going to be a later first round pick. I have been one of the biggest supporters of the Hodgson trade, seeing that he drastically out totaled Kassian. Gragnani was a defensive liability that was hurting this team as much as he was helping it. Not only that, but it also brought in Sulzer who looked much better than expected. I expect him to resign and build on his already brilliant chemistry with Ehrhoff.
Even though some of Darcy’s moves haven’t worked out yet, you can’t say he isn’t trying. These are all big moves made over the course of two seasons under Pegula, moves that involve incredible amounts of money to top notch players. Just based on the Trade Deadline alone Darcy gets off the hook for me. At least…. for now.