The Buffalo Sabres have talented players on their roster. Many of them are home grown prospects that were drafted by the organization and brought up in the Buffalo Sabres farm system between Rochester Americans and Portland Pirates.
The core of the team is made up of a group of guys that have played in those systems together. Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Jason Pominville, Ryan Miller. It has been the same group of guys on each team – and they have never collectively won anything together. Not saying that the potential for these guys to be inscribed on the same piece of metal at the same time – they just can’t do it alone. The guys like Ennis, Gerbe, Adam and other up and comers are going to need help if the hope is to lift the Stanley Cup in the relative near future.
Previous regimes of management in the Buffalo Sabres have not been able to entice free agents or land the trade that puts the team over the top, keeping them in the pretender category, and not the contender category.
Could this be the off season in which something is done about that?
Shane Doan could be testing the free agent market, and the last remaining original Winnipeg Jet could end his tenure with the Phoenix Coyotes by testing the free agent market. The Buffalo Sabres have plenty of wingers, but bringing in Doan on July 1 gives you a strong veteran presence and it frees up some more tradeable players. Currently holding down the right side of the ice you have Pominville, Stafford, Kaleta, Tropp, and Boyes. Boyes will most likely not be on the training camp roster for the Buffalo Sabres, so that leaves you with four guys on the right side. Would I like the top three right wings in this organization to be Pominville – Doan – Stafford. Sure as hell would sign up for that. Kaleta can man the fourth line, and Tropp makes for one hell of a prospect call up if he is needed and can fill the need on the third and fourth line if you lose a guy during the season.
The Buffalo Sabres drafted a sick amount of centers this year, filling the holes in their organizational depth chart. While Grigorenko and Girgensons could maek the team out of training camp if signed – the Sabres could still use a solid veteran center to help out. Steve Ott could be the man to fill the hole at center. He’s under contract for the next two seasons, and there are no issues when it comes to no movement clauses to worry about, so trading for him is merely making a phone call to the Dallas Stars to see if they were willing to dance with you. Dallas would be looking for players/prospects in return, this could be the opportunity to rid the locker room of Derek Roy, if you could package him with a defensive prospect and throw in a strong prospect to sweeten the deal. Couple of names that come to mind are Tropp, Adam, Whitmore, and Stuart. While Tropp and Adam might be the closest to NHL ready, all four performed good enough in their call up roll that any team in the NHL should be giving them a look.
The Bobby Ryan rumors won’t go away until Anaheim pulls the plug on any possible deal, or he lands on a new team. Bringing Ryan on doesn’t solve your need at center, but who could pass up on adding a 30 goal scorer to your lineup. The last Buffalo Sabres player to hit 30 goals in back to back seasons? Thomas Vanek did it in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.
Rick Nash is on the table as well – although if I had to pick between Rick Nash and Steve Ott at this point, Ott saves me money and gives me something that I don’t currently have, and thats a nasty streak.
July 1st is right around the corner and there are several centers available in free agency. Jiri Hudler and Olli Jokinen will be available as well as Jason Arnott, but at age 38 might be too much of a gamble and Jokinen just had abdominal surgery.