This off-season is like shooting fish in a barrel. Plain and simple. There is a lot of great potential, and some of them could potentially land right into Buffalo’s laps.
Restating, the best thing that this team needs is defense. By signing Mike Weber, the organization is definitely showing the interest in keeping some core players in the mix, but the key would to bring in a veteran blue-liner who can either be a huge scoring threat or be able to contribute to the penalty kill/power play that has been the plague to us.
As a whole, the team needs a strong defenseman who can also put the puck in the net. Out of the 118 goals, the defense scored only 15 goals. That left the offense to score 103 goals. That is a hefty job for even an offense to score.
My choice on defense, Ryan Whitney. He may not be the answer to the teams prayers for a scoring defense, only putting away 50 goals in his career, but there is one stat that does stick out, 209 assists. I have seen Ray Whitney play, he takes a massive amount of shots, and something that any Buffalo fan is quite sure of, the Sabres lack the shot from the point quite often.
So how would his presence at our blue line help us in any way? Think about it. Put him on our power play. Up one man, he is placed on the point, catch any team off guard and he can release a shot. So what if it doesn’t go in, if the shot gets through, someone can tip it or gather a rebound and easily put the puck in the net. Not to mention that he is also a very talented defenseman who can blossom inside our system.
For that matter, if we are to be looking for a scoring defense, who else would help out?
The answer may not lie in the free agency, Darcy will have to shop with tact and talk to a lot of players and teams to secure even one player. The league leader last season in points was P.K. Subban. Cross him right off the list since everyone was aware of the contract dispute that occurred with him and Montreal, which landed him a two-year deal. I think Buffalo can wait another few seasons before looking at him.
The next best choice, in my opinion, could very well be Kris Letang, who has already been making a splash in the rumor bin.
All that comes into play when talking about Letang, what is Ray Shero’s price?
Rumors that I have heard is that it’ll take a roster player, a prospect, and a potential first rounder. Buffalo, being that they choose at the 8th and 16th spot, could offer the Penguins a deal that may be worth it. Pittsburgh has no picks within the first round, so anything in that spot is better than nothing. They could even potentially crack the top 20, maybe the top 10 should Buffalo choose to go with the 8th pick instead of the 16th.
So what about Letang makes him a worthy choice?
He is the same as Whitney, he may not score a lot, but he get’s the puck to the net. He is also a lot like Ville Leino by means of come the postseason, he is a weapon that just opens fire. His game is the playoffs.
Going with the old saying “Offense wins games, defense wins championships,” the Sabres are looking for scorers, but why not have the best of both worlds in players just like Whitney or Letang.
If Terry Pegula’s want to bring a championship to the Queen City, then the money should be put into building the defense, and these are two of the players to start with.