The Buffalo Sabres have only seven games left until their offseason begins, and what an offseason it promises to be. The Sabres are either going to draft a ton of new talent, or they are going to use the pieces that that they have (Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford, and a bucket-load of draft picks) in order to wheel and deal their way into becoming a playoff-bound team.
In anticipation of these changes, I have started to compile a wish list of players around the NHL who I would love to see the Sabres acquire. This may be a wish list, but it is not simply an exercise in futility; I have refrained from discussing obvious choices, super stars such as Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, P.K. Subban, Anze Kopitar, etc., who are unattainable. No, my list is made up of very good players who would make an immediate impact and who could be gotten if the price was right. A wish list does you no good if what you are wishing for is impossible, after all, and since I sincerely hope that some of the Buffalo Sabres’ front office will consider these posts a source of inspiration in the upcoming months (hell, they should be reading me already!), I will keep my dreams grounded in reality.
Allow me to begin sharing this wish list with you, then, by using the remaining games on the Sabres’ schedule to highlight an opposing player who I would love to see wearing blue and gold next year. My first player on the wish list, then?
Wayne Simmonds, Right Wing
All year long, I listened as Buffalo Sabres complained that Jason Pominville was the perfect example of what was wrong with franchise. He was a talented player, sure, and he seemed like a nice guy and a good solider who followed orders without question, but he wasn’t much of a defender and he certainly was not a hard-nosed guy willing to throw his body around once in a while or get his hands dirty fighting for the puck on the boards.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Wayne Simmonds:
That video gives you a pretty good glimpse at what he brings to the table. Exhibit A: Simmonds takes a run at Paul Martin of the Pittsburgh Penguins along the board, causing Martin to rush to get rid of the puck. Simmonds immediately goes to the net and is rewarded for his physical play with a great scoring opportunity, which he finishes off with a goal.
Exhibit B: Simmonds challenges Tanner Glass, then drops the gloves and gets down to work. Out of the first 20 videos listed after my YouTube search for “Wayne Simmonds,” 12 involved fighting. Simmonds’ is as likely to avoid physical play as I am to passing up one of the free boxes of popcorn that’s always available in the press box following a Sabres game. Not. Gonna. Happen.
Exhibit C: Simmonds single-handedly creates Jakub Voracek‘s goal, getting to the loose puck behind the net to keep the play alive, and then battling in front of the net, creating the rebound that Voracek promptly puts into the back of the net.
In short, this dude is the epitome of what it means to be a power forward in the NHL. Some may argue that Scott Hartnell, Simmonds’ teammate, is a better example, but I wouldn’t take Hartnell if he signed for a dollar AND provided me with a lifetime supply of Movie Theater popcorn, to boot. (You can tell I’m writing this late at night, which is prime popcorn time in my house!) To me, Hartnell is a punk, a dirty, cheap-shot artist with terrible hair. Simmonds plays hard, but I don’t feel he is as dirty as Hartnell, and he doesn’t remind me of a caveman like his teammate does, which is no small factor in this decision!
I really enjoy watching Wayne Simmonds play, and why wouldn’t I? He scores goals, he creates opportunities for his teammates, and he sacrifices his body to make all of these things happen. He’s an intimidating presence in many ways, and he would instantly make the Buffalo Sabres a better team. If I could encourage the Sabres to try and trade for someone currently on the Flyers roster, then, it would be this guy.
Tomorrow: which member of the Tampa Bay Lightning would I like to see the Sabres try to get? Why, it’s . . . .
I’d love to have you chime in with your own wish list as I move from team to team, so leave your comments below, or hit me up @theamazingMrS!