June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announces a trade between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the eighth overall pick at the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Buffalo Sabres "Picking" the Right Approach?

With two more days of swirling trade rumors and players packing their belongings as they get shipped off to distant locations ahead of us, it’s become clear that the Buffalo Sabres are selling off unwanted parts in an effort to stockpile draft picks.  Sabres’ GM Darcy Regier has gone public, saying



While it is good to know which side of the buy/sell fence the Sabres are sitting on as the trade deadline fast approaches, I am not so sure that stockpiling draft picks is the best way to go about improving the team.   Is the goal to use all of these picks in order to draft talented prospects, or to use these picks as currency in order to make some aggressive moves in the offseason?

So far, the Sabres have not dealt any of their big guns to other teams.  Trading T.J. Brennan, Jordan Leopold, and Robyn Regehr for picks is understandable – even if I feel the Sabres settled for less than what Brennan was worth – but how will Sabres’ fans react if captain Jason Pominville and the face of the franchise, Ryan Miller himself, are swapped for picks – doesn’t that amount to selling your livestock for a handful of magic beans?  Drafting early and often can be a hit-or-miss approach; just look at Zach Boychuk of the Carolina Hurricanes.  He was drafted 14th in the 2008 NHL draft and has put up tantalizing numbers during his time in the NHL . . . but this year alone he was placed on waiver by the Hurricanes, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Nashville Predators.  Whether his value was over-estimated, or he just hasn’t found a system that is helping him develop his game well enough, either way, he is currently considered a “miss,” and he is but one example I could direct your attention to today.

The other pitfall to relying on draft picks to build your team is that you are putting your fanbase on notice: “This will take time.  Don’t expect us to be where you want us to be next year.”  That’s expecting a lot of your fans, especially since your franchise has little recent post-season success of which to speak.

Clearly, the Sabres are not designed to succeed this year, so making a bunch of last-gasp moves in order to make a final push for the playoffs would not be wise.   Looking ahead to next season is what the organization feels is in its best interest, and I imagine most fans are okay with that.  I am very curious to see how many of these draft picks that the Sabres are hoarding right now will be used in upcoming drafts, and how many will be packaged along with other players in order to land some big names.  Jonathan Bernier?  Mike Smith?  Paul Stastny?  Hmmm.   Darcy Regier is hoping fans of the blue and gold will trust him to make the right decision . . . and that’s probably why I am not sure how I feel about all of this!

Should the Sabres choose to draft Pominville, Miller, or both, for picks?  Or should they try to use their best players as leverage to bring in a proven, top-tier player?  Leave any comments below, or fire them off to @theamazingMrs!

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Trades

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