The Buffalo Sabres only pulled off one major trade on deadline day, much to the chagrin of their fanbase – many whom were expecting multiple deals that would reshape the Sabres. Instead we have only one major move to talk about, and thats the trading of Jason Pominville and a fourth round pick to the Minnesota Wild for a first round pick, a second round pick, Matt Hackett, and Johan Larsson.
I was excited about the trade at first – because I figured there would be something that followed. The Drew Stafford to the Washington Capitals drama that unfolded late in the day had my heart pumping that the Buffalo Sabres were really trying to shape the future now. When I saw the news that Darcy Regier was heading out of his office to address the media, I figured the day was complete. I was still plenty excited with the trades, we moved up in the draft from the fourth position, and got two depth players. Here are some thoughts of the staff here at the Sabrenoise.com on the departure of the Buffalo Sabres Captain:
Andew is more than fine with the trade – it also sounds like he is comfortable with a long term rebuilding process.
The ‘core’ and their surrounding cast, for years, showed us that they were never going to win playoff games. They always hung around as a middle-of-the-pack team, nothing more. The hope when Pegula took over, was that they were just a few pieces away (Ehrhoff, Leino, Ott, Regehr, Hodgson) from becoming a contender. We witnessed this year that this was not the case. The energy, effort, and emotion of the team was almost non-existent.
When I sat second row at the Boston Bruins game, and I looked into the eyes of most of the Buffalo Sabres players, they looked tired, bored, and disinterested. This type of a poison is not easy to overcome. The Sabres are better off, in my opinion, to just go into full rebuild mode. One of the pains of this process was getting rid of Pommers. On the bright side, they got a very highly regarded prospect in Larsson – if you read through various Wild fansites, their fans are very high on Larsson, and were disappointed to see him go. On the dark side, this means Vanek and Miller will likely be gone over the summer, as they have indicated little interest in being part of a rebuild. It might also be important to note that Vanek, in 2007, was ready to jump ship to Edmonton at the first chance, and was forced to stay here even though he may not have wanted to.
A rebuild will probably not be fun in terms of watching the Sabres be a losing team for another season or two, but, at least we would be watching a team of hungry young players eager to prove themselves rather than this current lazy mess.
A future with Hodgson, Grigorenko, Larsson, and Girgensons at the pivots is a great start. Sprinkle in players like Armia, Foligno, Tropp, Ennis, a few top picks, and Ott as your captain, and that future could be bright. Develop D-men like Myers, Pysyk, McNabb, and McCabe properly, and the blueline could be excellent.
Personally, I think we are closer to a competitive team than Andrew thinks – I don’t think it is long before the Buffalo Sabres put a contender on the ice, but I also don’t think that the Sabres should rebuild with all internal prospects – you need someone who has been through the trenches, gone through the long haul – and battled for and won the Stanley Cup.
AJ Haller is ready for a rebuild as well, as he is looking at the fact that Darcy Regier had to make the tough call to get rid of the captain of the team in an effort to rebuild for the future. The problem with the trade in AJ’s eyes – is you got rid of one of your leading point getters for no immediate return. There were plenty of other players on this team that should have gone before Pommers.
I have to agree with AJ – there were plenty of pieces that could have been moved before Pominville – but he was a part of the core that needs to go. What will be interesting to see now is how negotiations with Thomas Vanek pan out at this point now. Vanek liked playing with Pominville, and may try to get Minnesota to sign him after next year – a return to his “home” state as well as a way to play with Pommers again.
CC was sad to see the captain go, but understood that it had to happen. She likes the fact that Larsson has been compared to Pominville and Cody Hodgson type players, with the ability to get more physical than Pominville ever even thought off. It is a huge sign of the rebuild process – and she is happy with the Darcy move.
Happy with the Darcy move? I am hardly in the same boat. I am disappointed that this is all he managed to do, despite the number of scouts following his team, and the overall interest most of the league had in players on this team. The fact that the Pominville deal came later in the day was a bad omen. Get the deal done earlier in the day and you might have a chance at moving more pieces around.
Rich chimed in and said he was glad the Sabres didn’t just settle for picks! Did some reading up on Larsson: good sized kid, know initially for being a defensive-minded forward who is starting to develop some offense, too. Seems to have not progressed as well as the Wild had hoped, however, but he did play in the AHL this year and put up 15 goals and 22 assists. He won’t be much of an offensive boost, but he sounds like a nice two-way player who could strengthen the third, maybe eventually second, line.
Hackett sounds like he was being primed to take over the no. 1 goalie spot for the Wild, but this year in Houston his numbers – 19-20-3 with a GAA of 2.66 and save percentage of .907 – are not spectacular. Is Houston terrible, though? They are only two points back of where David Leggio has the Rochester Americans are in the race for the Calder Cup race. Leggio has a 2.53 and a .924.
What are your thoughts on the deal after having it settle on the brain for a day?
Bottom line: who the hell knows if this is a win for Buffalo! Looking at some of the comments on the Wild forum, there’s a good number of Minnesota fans who fear they may have paid too high a price to get Pominville, which bodes well for Buffalo. The picks don’t hurt, either. I would have rather seen at least one established players in the deal, so color me a bit skeptical for now.