“It’s a long process”, “It takes time and patience” are phrases that Buffalo Sabres fans’ are getting tired of hearing. Year after year it seems like the same story, and after today’s season ending press conference it appears the fans are now going to have to endure some suffering with that waiting.
One of things that Darcy Regier has always preached is living by the draft. In order to re-build or a build a championship calibre team you must draft great young players. But in order to draft those great young players you must suffer through some pretty painful seasons and continually finish near the bottom. Sure that’s worked for Pittsburgh and Chicago but it takes a lot of patience and the chances of you finding a Sidney Crosby or Patrick Kane or Alex Ovechkin are pretty slim.
Either way Darcy Regier seems perfectly content with using the draft to build his “Stanley Cup contending” hockey team of the future. Only problem is that means it’s going to be a few more long seasons for the Buffalo Sabres.
“You could go to the bottom of the League for five years and hope you land on a Crosby or a Malkin, or the franchise can find something “in between” tanking and rebuilding on the fly. It may require some suffering”
After today’s press conference, it’s apparent that Regier will stick to the draft in order to build or re-build the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately, building a team through the draft takes time and a little luck. Look at the Edmonton Oilers, they’ve had three straight overall picks and still can’t break into the playoff picture.
The thing that made the most impact for me during the press conference was how Ted Black and Darcy Regier talked about the Los Angeles Kings model. The Kings used their picks to get solid prospects like Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds and then flipped those prospects for proven veterans in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Darcy Regier seemed to be really impressed by the Kings way of re-building on the fly, and mentioned that he may try to re-build on that way. I wouldn’t be surprised if Regier decides to trade a couple of the Sabres top prospects to bring in some veteran talent in an attempt to do what the Kings did.
The Sabres got two solid players in last years draft with Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons. The also have Joel Armia and
several other top prospects developing. The future of the team looks good from the prospective of the young players and with the 8th pick (at least right now) in a very deep draft this year things can only get better.
Ted Black also pointed out that the Sabres have at least 15 top 50 draft picks between now and 2015. Those picks provide a lot of options for moving up in drafts or helping in trade scenarios. Here’s a scenario that Sabres fans’ need to keep in mind. Since Regier loves to use the draft to develop his team and is hinting at striking lucky like Pittsburgh, the 2015 draft is going to be key.
There’s a player who is the projected first overall pick who is already being compared to Sidney Crosby, that player is 16 year old Connor McDavid. I’ve had the opportunity to watch him play and he’s an incredible hockey player who is only going to get better with age, maturity and growing bigger. McDavid is the type of player who can turn around a hockey team, the thing that Regier seems to be looking for.
In order for the Sabres to lay claim to McDavid they’d have to “suffer” through two more rough seasons. Those season would have to be even worse than this past season. But if they can manage to get McDavid he’d be hitting the roster right when Grigorenko, Girgensons, Hodgson, Armia, Ennis and Foligno are all hitting their prime and that’s a pretty dangerous looking offence.
Whether fans like it or not the Sabres will be relying on the draft to bring in new talent during the re-build. If the Sabres can draft smart and suffer patiently through two more rough seasons, it may be worth it.