Jochen Hecht isn’t getting any younger. His best days in the National Hockey League are behind. For the first time this season, and possibly ever – he was a healthy scratch, watching the game from the press box, unable to do anything while his team drops a 2-0 lead and losing in overtime.
What could Jochen Hecht have done to say last nights game? Nothing probably. In twenty-four games this season, Hecht has only found the scoresheet six times, one goal and five assists.
He hasn’t been a liability on the ice, being one of the few Buffalo Sabres to have a positive +/- rating. (His is a plus 2, only six players on the team including Hecht are seeing positive numbers).
Jochen Hecht was brought back by the Buffalo Sabres this year for what reason? To give them depth at the center position? To give the guy one last shot at the National Hockey League – to end his career on a high note?
Jochen is obviously out of the Lindy Ruff good old boy network – his being brought back by this regime, and his ice time reduction since the start of the Ron Rolston era is proof of that.
Was it necessary to bench Jochen Hecht after he scored his only goal of the season? Sure the tempo of the game against New Jersey last week made it a necessity to get a tougher lineup on the ice this time around – with Patrick Kaleta on the suspension sheet – Hecht wasn’t really bringing anything to the table.
The Buffalo Sarbes need an epic run to the end of the season, and a ton of help from their opponents schedules to even think about the playoffs. So where does Jochen Hecht fall in the grand scheme of things for the Buffalo Sabres?
Trade Deadline Fodder
If a team that has a serious shot at contending for the Stanley Cup – the Buffalo Sabres could easily trade Jochen Hecht. He could be a part of a package deal that brings in hope for the future; or they could get as much as they can for him (maybe a third or fourth round pick) out of a team that is just looking to add depth for the playoffs, in the hopes that Hecht can end his career by lifting the Stanley Cup and going home a champion.
Press Box Warmer
If there is no hope of trading Jochen prior to the April 3rd deadline – Hecht may be relinquished to fourth line minutes and rotations into the press box. It almost seems that Ron Rolston is content filling the rank and file of the team with players out of Rochester. That trend can continue and even get worse as the American Hockey League season comes to a close. Currently the Amerks are on the outside looking in.
Any way you look at it, the end is near for Jochen Hecht. His lack of production on the ice, coupled with his concussion history – will make it very difficult for a team to justify a million dollar salary for a player that won’t contribute or be injured.
I was happy to see Jochen Hecht back in a Buffalo Sabres sweater – but at what cost to him? He is treated like a King in his home town – and has a great thing going with his home town hockey team Adler Mannheim.