Let’s Dance! Three Realistic Trading Partners for the Buffalo Sabres

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Feb 19, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) stops a shot by Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler (26) as left wing Thomas Vanek (26) defends during the second period at the First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

With free agency set to begin at noon today, it’s tempting to hold out hope that the Buffalo Sabres will dip their toes into the water and miraculously pull out a desirable free agent such as Nathan Horton, Valtteri Filppula, or Mike Ribeiro.

Sabres fans, that just ain’t going to happen.

For starters, General Manager Darcy Regier has already taken the pains of heading you optimists off at the pass, saying,

“The focus is going to be on supporting this younger group, this younger core group.  Certainly, you want good players, but you want players who are committed to being professionals, being examples, being contributors. Those are the most important characteristics and the most important things we can do organizationally to make sure we progress in the direction we need to go.” (Courtesy of Sabres Edge)

Being professionals, being examples, being contributors . . . hmmm, that sounds an awful lot like “role players” to me.  No guts, no glory this year.

That’s okay, though, because the other reason you should not hold your breath and wait for the Sabres to fare well in the free agent market: they are a franchise embarking on a 3-4 year rebuilding process.  Everyone in the NHL knows that, and if you are a highly sought-after free agent, you are in no hurry to settle for a team that has virtually no chance of making the playoffs in the foreseeable future.  I don’t care how deep Terry Pegula’s pockets are; if you are a wanted man, better teams can offer you not just the cash, but the chance to win.

The Sabres are destined to be minor-league players in the free agent game, then . . . but that should not mean that Regier and company need to set their sights low when it comes to the trade market.  With players such as Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford, and Ryan Miller to offer, there is zero reason why our beloved (cough) GM should be bored at work.  As the Dallas Stars proved yesterday, you don’t need to go at it alone in the NHL.  Sometimes, picking up the phone and initiating a dialogue can lead to a situation wherein two teams help each other out.  The Sabres may be in a rebuilding phase, but there is some young talent out there that Buffalo should attempt to acquire in order to give fans a reason to cheer, as well as to speed up the process.

Let’s look at three realistic dancing partners for the Buffalo Sabres, starting with the one I am currently hearing the most chatter about.

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres

  • Robert Patrick Moscato

    Since you are talking Ducks and Kings and its widely kown Ryan Miler wants to be in the same time zone as his wife, Why would you even suggest a team on the East Coast to send Ryan to?? My money’s on Miller going to Anaheim if the Ducks are interested. Maybe Darcy could package Miller and Vanek for players and/or draft picks.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      You have to read the other article I wrote to understand. There’s almost no west coast teams that need him, and rumor has it the fact that Miller prefers to go west is making it a bit difficult to trade him. Anaheim’s goalie situation is good, so they would not be interested in Miller, Anyway, that other article focused on Miller, this one, more on Vanek.

  • J Knight

    Robert Patrick Moscato Miller doesn’t have a full no trade clause. He can only pick 8 teams he won’t go to. So, he really doesn’t have a say whether he goes to an East Coast team or not.

    I think it’s going to be very hard to trade Miller with that contract, his age, his subpar play the last few seasons and the cap going down. I really don’t think you are going to get all that much for him. I’m sure Darcy would have traded him to the Devils for the 9th pick. I don’t think the Devils were interested. I think a lot of Sabres fans think he is better than he is. Other than the 2009-2010 season his play has been slightly above average when you compare what he has done to other goaltenders in the league. When we went to back to back Conference finals his numbers were not all that good. Even when you take into consideration the new rules after the lockout those two seasons his numbers put him below the middle of the pack. Those teams won with offense. He had one great season, a bunch of slightly above average ones with a couple of below average ones sprinkled in. Like I said, he’s slightly above average.

    I also think the Sabres really, really want to Keep Vanek, but won’t be able to convince him to stay.

    My prediction is Darcy hangs onto both as long as he can and he ends up getting relatively little in return. He could have gotten the most return at this past trade deadline. He could have gotten something decent before or during the draft. Now he’s going to have to wait until after free agency and deal with the teams that lost out on the big free agents. Even then he won’t get as much as he could have earlier. If he waits until the season starts or next trade deadline he’s going to get almost nothing compared to what he could have gotten a year earlier. Rent-a-players don’t get you as much as a player with a year left on their contracts like Pommenville had. He won’t get anywhere near what he got for Pommers if he continues to wait.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Good points! I agree that Vanek has more worth, and while it pains me to say we should ship our best scorer out, I have already argued that he doesn’t seem interested in being here any more. The Sabres would be wise to get something for him while they can.

    • qwicwted

      I agree with a lot of what you say – thing is, there are a limited number of teams that might have interest in Miller – Edmonton, maybe St. Louis, maybe CO, Florida, Philly and the Islanders. Since Ryan has been vocal about heading west – you probably really only have one or two teams to talk to. I have heard rumors of Miller/Stafford for Oshi and Halek. I don’t mind this deal and I think it gives us pretty good value. Although I think a good trade would be Duchene and Downie for Miller and Staff.

      With Vanek, trading for Ryan would be a good move, although I think a better move would be to try to get Pavelski.

      Anyway, I don’t see them signing a big name UFA – but there are a couple of them out there that for a reasonable price might be worthwhile signing for their leadership and mentoring capabilities – like Morrowor Clowe.

  • Kevin

    yeah, if we could get Tifolli from LA that would be an excellent trade.

  • davidmuscalo

    I would only agree to trading Vanek if he definitely wants to leave. If he does want to leave then Regier has to trade him and get the best deal that he can get. If Vanek walks next summer because Regier was too timid or to obstinate to trade him, he should be fired on the spot.