Not only does he have to help Lindy Ruff, Ted Black and Terry Pegula be successful in a shortened season, but he has to be the hockey smart behind retooling a team that will need to fit under the new salary cap, remain competitive – and have quite a few of his “core” players contracts expire after next season.
First order of business for Darcy is going to be a trade. The Buffalo Sabres need a center to round out their roster. Prior to the lockout, using free agency and the draft, Darcy was able to get the Buffalo Sabres some depth at center and some size to protect the talent on the team.
His goal in the coming week of training camp, will be to figure out which pieces stay where, and who gets traded.
I am not talking about a trade that will blow up in the organizations face. Darcy Regier has a fair number of those under his belt.
What the Buffalo Sabres need – pretty early in this shortened season, is one of those deals that make you go -WTF did Darcy just get for shipping out that?! I am talking a blockbuster deal, the likes of which brought Drury and Briere to the team. This is not going to be a rant on why or how we should get one of those two back – so please keep reading.
In 2002-2003, Darcy Regier shipped Chris Gratton and a 4th round pick to the Pheonix Coyotes for Daniel Briere and a 3rd round pick (both picks in the 2004 draft). We essentially traded up in the draft, and gave the Pheonix Coyotes a utility player that, despite hanging in the league for a few more years, didn’t have a decent season again until he hit the Florida Panthers.
In 2003-2004 Darcy was able to convince the Calgary Flames to part ways with Chris Drury and Steve Begin for Rhett Warrener and Steve Reinprecht. Begin never worked out and the Sabres eventually let him walk away from the team with nothing in return, but even taking him out of the equation, I would trade a Warrener and and a Reinprecht for a Drury every day of the year.
Whatever Regier does to convince his peers to give up gems for coal – he needs to do it again this year. With an overstocked blue line, and a need for a pivot man – now is the time to shed some unwanted players – lower the salary cap number in Buffalo – and put a winning team on the ice immediately.
I am tired of NHL lockouts, and I refuse to give him an entire season of hockey to build me a championship contender. He has had an extended off season to game plan and devise a scheme to make it happen, now I just want to see him pull the trigger.