There’s a lot of questions facing the Buffalo Sabres this offseason. But before they can answer any of them, they must first decide which direction the team is going. The Sabres made it clear by trading captain Jason Pominville at the trade deadline, that they were officially entering a re-building phase.
While the Sabres have made it clear they’re re-building, the direction of the club is still unclear. Do they ship the last two veterans in Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek out and stock up on draft picks? Or do they convince Vanek to stay? How many players do they keep, do they bring in veterans or just relying on the rookies to gain experience?
Before any of the questions surrounding the team itself can be answered, the Sabres need to make decisions about the management of the team.
At the season ending press conference Ted Black announced that Darcy Regier would be coming back next season. I understand that everyone wants to know what Regier’s future will be, but Black isn’t going to announce he’s not coming back with him sitting right beside him. Ted Black announcing that Darcy Regier will be back means little. A lot can happen in the offseason, decisions can still be made on whether or not Regier will be back.
Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff have been together with the Sabres for 16 years and are virtually attached at the hip. Many thought with Lindy Ruff getting the boot that Regier would follow. If the Sabres are series about entering their rebuild and building a successful championship calibre team, they would be smart to “fully clean” house and get rid of Regier.
Regier has been with the Buffalo Sabres since 1997 and has continually failed to build a championship team. It would seem that in order for Regier to build that championship team he would need to change his management philosophy as his current one isn’t getting the job done. For the Sabres to enter a re-build they must clear house and get rid of Darcy Regier or they will just continue to go in circles like a dog chasing his own tail.
The Sabres need to make the decision on management now and must be prepared to stick with that decision for the foreseeable future. Should the Sabres decide to stick with Regier and let him start the re-build they can’t kick him out in a season or two and expect another GM to come in and pick up the pieces that Regier left behind. The new GM will likely want to build the Sabres in a different way and may take the team and the fans down the road of yet another rebuild.
In addition to deciding on the GM, the Sabres also need to decide on a new head coach. Has Ron Rolston done enough to earn
another year at the helm? Or do the Sabres look for a more experienced coach?
The same way a GM builds a team, the coach also has a profound impact on the team. To build a successful team, which the Sabres brass says is their goal, they must acquire players that fit their coaches system.
The Buffalo Sabres as an organization are entering a crucial time. The Sabres can either make a decision that will benefit them and help propel them back into the playoff picture by committing fully to their rebuild, or continue down the same road with the same management until there is no other option. Either way the Buffalo Sabres need to decide on their management before anything else can happen.