It is speculation season around these parts, with Buffalo Sabres fans looking at what the team is going to do for the rebuild, and what is still taking place on the ice between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
Do the Buffalo Sabres have what it takes to compete in the post season with the likes of any of the teams that were reduced to golfers by the Bruins or Blackhawks – or is the post season a mere pipe dream for several more years to come.
The Buffalo Sabres have not made the playoffs since 2010-2011, and have not won a playoff series since 2006-2007.
Hell – its not an emergence, he was a key special teams player for the Boston Bruins on the 2011 Stanley Cup team as well. His regular season performance – just so-so, a typical third-fourth line player. His value in the Stanley Cup playoffs? Just ask the Boston Bruins who are up 2-1 over the Chicago Blackhawks, thanks to his game winning/opening goal last night and the overtime winner in game two.
What does this mean for the Buffalo Sabres? Well for one, and I have been doing this a lot lately, he lends to the fact that Darcy Regier makes trades sometimes that cost the Buffalo Sabres. Lindy Ruff is already gone – but he was always faulted for holding players back.
Paille’s two full seasons in Buffalo came at a time when they missed the post season – if he is a playoff performer, the Buffalo Sabres organization never got the chance to see Paille in his element.
You don’t always get a second chance at a player like that, and over paid or not – the Buffalo Sabres have this type of player on their roster. Ville Leino was signed fresh off the Philadelphia Flyers post season in the year that they dumped the Buffalo Sabres off rudely in the first round. Care of Ville Leino himself.
In 228 NHL games across the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres he has 40 goals and 106 points, but in the post season he has 10 goals and 28 points in just 37 games – all with Philly.
Buying out Ville Leino would appease the masses and get rid of a player that has drawn the ire of many in Sabres Nation – but he hasn’t really had the chance to prove his playoff performance.
If the Buffalo Sabres are looking to get back in the playoff hunt sooner than later, they might want to keep the salary of Ville Leino on the books, as it stands right now he is the only forward on the Buffalo Sabres roster with a contract that extends beyond 2015.
Sure, Dan Paille is only making 1.3 million dollars – thats 3.2 million less than Ville Leino, but the Buffalo Sabres are a team that have to overpay for talent on the free agent market in order to get players to come to Buffalo.
Ville Leino may never work out as a solid performer in the regular season, but his value in the post season might be 4.5 million. Of course, if the Buffalo Sabres aren’t looking at the playoffs before 2016 – then Ville Leino needs to be bought out.