Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula went on the air today on the radio show that he funds, and told the employees of his organization and the fans that he wants Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek back in Buffalo. He also says he fully backs Darcy Regier in the process of running hockey operations. Did Terry Pegula show his cards and basically tell us that Darcy Regier has been instructed to do what it takes to make sure that Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek are happy and will remain on the Buffalo Sabres for the foreseeable future; or has the Buffalo Sabres owner let his fandom show through more than his urge to build a winning championship?
Sure – the Buffalo Sabres are better with Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek in the fold. Is it worth the dissention in the locker room if they are only hear because the price is right? Thomas Vanek was very clear that he doesn’t want to sit through a long rebuild – which started, wait -when did it start? At the end of the season press conference, Darcy Regier back pedaled and said the rebuild started with the Paul Gausted trade to the Nashville Predators.
Neither Vanek or Miller are easily replaced on this roster. There is no goalie in the Buffalo Sabres organization that is going to stand up to a full season and contest the likes of Tuukka Rask or Corey Crawford. Jhonas Enroth is supposed to be Ryan Miller’s heir apparent – but can he shoulder an NHL franchise through a grueling 82 game schedule and then 16 more wins for a Stanley Cup? You don’t really know what you have in goaltending until they get into the spotlight – and we have seen what Jhonas Enroth can do at the NHL level. He has had a great stretch of hockey, and a miserable stretch. David Leggio is in the organization, but he has done little than help the Rochester Americans into the Calder Cup playoffs, but hasn’t won a playoff round. Matt Hackett has seen NHL action and could stand in – but is he the goalie of the future? Andrey Makarov is playing in the CHL and could be the goalie of the future, with Hackett and Enroth sharing the crease in the interim.
A look at the Buffalo Sabres depth chart on Hockey Futures lists the Buffalo Sabres goaltending with a probability of success at a C or D. Ryan Miller was a gem found in the 5th round of a draft. Do the Sabres have another diamond in the rough waiting to emerge as an elite goaltender that can steal games?
The wing looks slightly better in success with the emergence of Corey Tropp – the addition of Joel Armia. Marcus Foligno took a step back last year, but stands to be a force on the Buffalo Sabres front end.
Terry Pegula trust in Darcy Regier. Do you? For every good trade that Darcy Regier makes – there are more on the strikeout side. Think Daniel Paille – a former first round pick of the Buffalo Sabres that was dealt off for a third and a conditional fourth. The third round pick netted the Buffalo Sabres Kevin Sundher from the WHL.
If Ryan Miller doesn’t stay – that might set the rebuild back even further as the Buffalo Sabres look for the right goaltender. If Vanek doesn’t re-up this season to see how things play out – the Buffalo Sabres could end up seeing him walk away for nothing in free agency next season.