Darcy Regier and the Buffalo Sabres: Cowards, or the Smartest Team in the NHL Today?!?

Well, that was a bust.

Or was it?

The first day of free agent availability in the NHL came and went with a consistent stream of news and Tweets involving pretty much every team outside of the 716.

Meanwhile, fans of the Buffalo Sabres who were expecting General Manager Darcy Regier to do ANYTHING – to land even ONE free agent – were sadly disappointed on Friday, due to the absolute lack of activity on the part of the Sabres.  And when I say “lack of activity,” I’m not talking about the Sabres quietly signing one or two of the less-coveted free agents on the market; I’m talking no activity at all, to the point where I have to wonder if the Sabres organization didn’t give everyone the day off today, due to a comedy of errors that resulted in the wrong date for free agency being printed on all of the calendars in the First Niagara Center.

By my count, 27 out of the 30 teams that make up the NHL acquired a new player in this latest round of free agent insanity, leaving only the Winnipeg Jets, the Washington Capitals, and the Buffalo Sabres as teams who added no new players yesterday. Despite the fact that this wasn’t a particularly strong crop of free agents, many Sabres fans took to Twitter, the phone lines, and all available telegraphs to lambast Darcy Regier and the Sabres organization for being either lazy, incompetent, afraid, incompetent, too despised for any team to want to deal with, incompetent – you get the picture, yes?  The bottom line: Sabres fans wanted to see the organization go out and get SOMEONE they could cheer for, someone who might help speed up the rebuilding process. More importantly, those fans simply wanted to see the Buffalo Sabres act as if they actually gave a crap about the fans who were told not too long ago that they would be suffering a 3-4 year rebuilding process.

For those fans, no free agent acquisitions is unacceptable.  I would argue a different point: the Buffalo Sabres actually did themselves a favor by not being sucked into the free agent free-for-all.  (Notice: I am only discussing free agency here, not trades.  I am less forgiving when it comes to trade activity – hold that thought for now).

For starters, I know many of you would have liked to see Mike Ribeiro sign with the Sabres – but he clearly wasn’t interested.  Even if he had been offered five boatloads of cash by Terry “Deep Pockets”  Pegula, and had signed, would you really want him playing in Buffalo solely because he received a king’s ransom?   Don’t you want players who respect the franchise, admire the history, and truly want to help build something great?

Besides, the Sabres would have been forced to shell out a disproportionate amount of money to lure a quality free agent into the fold.  Did you check out some of the contracts?  Valtteri Filppula to Tampa Bay for 5 years and $25 million?  Ryane Clowe – he of 3 total goals last season – to New Jersey for 5 years and $24.25 million?  Nathan Horton to the Columbus Blue Jackets for 7 years and $37.1 million?  None of those guys did anything to earn those contracts.  Good players they may be (with Clowe getting the “highly overrated” tag in my book) – but not that good.  Would you really have wanted the Sabres trying to get in a bidding war with those sorts of numbers being tossed around?

I’m disappointed this morning – but with the market, not with the Sabres’ unwillingness to play with Monopoly money.  It’s your call now – how do you feel about it?

Were the Sabres smart shoppers yesterday, or spineless cowards?

View Results

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Nhl Free Agency

  • Garrett Kenney

    Personally…I think it was smart, when looking at the players on the market, nothing screams out at me as “This guy will save the franchise!!” Or a guy to put butts in the seats. When you look at a free agents next year…it’s worth the wait, even though we will suffer this year

    • Timothy Redinger

      Not looking for someone to save the franchise, but help change the cutlure.

  • hawks96

    My issue isn’t so much that they didn’t chase the big ticket FAs. How does Ottawa get a deal done for Ryan in a matter of hours? That rumor has been floating with Buffalo for quite some time, and Regier not only fails to pull the trigger but allows Ryan to end up in the division? As how do solid role player/locker room guys like Bolland get traded in without any competing offer from Buffalo? Regier is a joke, and that Pegula defends him is pathetic.

    • Richard Spalding

      I’m working on a trade-related piece right now – I am not happy with their inability to work the trade lines. Don’t you worry – I’m going to take them to task over that issue!

      • Matt Nolan

        Your the sabres police

        • Richard Spalding

          I cheer when they deserve it, too!

  • davidmuscalo

    None of the free-agent candidates were a must have for me. I like Ribeiro and perhaps Briere although he does seem injury prone. Montreal was stupid to give Briere $8 million for two years and Ribeiro isn’t worth $5.5 million a year.

    All in all, I think we can do much better trading than in the free-agent market.

    • Richard Spalding

      Agreed. So Regier starts trading . . . ? I can be patient, but his movable parts are losing value quickly.

  • gbutters19

    In all honesty, Regier did come out and say that the Sabres wouldn’t be very active. Everyone knows this, but then when he sticks to the plan, he gets ripped apart. Most of the veteran leaders that Darcy was talking about should be available for a while anyways. I’m on the fence with Darcy most of the time, and right now it seems that the fan base is being a little unfair. I guess what I’m trying to say is that its refreshing to read a level-headed, justified argument like the one you’ve written here. Thanks!

    • Richard Spalding

      No problem – thanks for the read! I’ll be tough on the Sabres when I think they have earned it, but I’m not trying to dwell on the negative. I think this year’s free agents were so over-priced, it is hilarious to see so many of them work they deal they got. The Sabres were pretty smart yesterday.

      • qwicwted

        Sabres traded for Hennrik Tillender – wonder if Tillender will help straighten Tyler Myers out and mentor our youth. Also wonder if a big trade is brewing – maybe Miller and one of our d-men to St. Louis?

    • Timothy Redinger

      I can see your point to a fault. I think Darcy tipped his hand when he said we wont be doing anything. In that manner, if he did something, he looks like the hero by landing someone on a good deal. If he doesn’t do anything, its I told you so. When 27 of 30 teams, now 28 since Winnipeg has gotten on the FA bandwagon – all doing deals while Buffalo sits idly by; that is unacceptable.

      • Richard Spalding

        I don’t mind the free agent inactivity – honestly, too many so-so guys getting that kind of money? Nah. But I seriously mind letting Bobby Ryan go to Ottawa – the trade end of this is what I’m angry about.

        • qwicwted

          Hey Rich – What Anaheim got in return for Ryan was two young players for $2M salary and a 1st round draft pick. Both Silfverberg and Noesen have a lot of upside and potential to be top 6 forwards. Vanek on the other hand would have cost Anaheim $7M and that was for one year. Even if Darcy had offered a 1st rounder – Ottawa made a better offer, one that was affordable for Anaheim, especially in lieu of the fact that they still have other players to sign. I can’t say whether Darcy tried to do a deal or not, but I can understand why it didn’t swing our way.

          • Richard Spalding

            Yeah, I saw that. Still – even if the Sabres don’t offer Vanek, they sure could have offered something along the lines of what Ottawa offered. I get the feeling Darcy just didn’t try to do much beyond the Miller to St. Louis trade we’ve all heard about.

  • qwicwted

    I wasn’t too impressed with this years free agents. Briere would have been a nice pickup to mentor our youth, but I wouldn’t have paid him $5M to come back nor would I have paid Iginla $6M. I’m glad Darcy didn’t get into the frenzy and there are a few players that might be worthwhile to think about signing – Morrow, Cleary and maybe Brunner. Darcy said he would be interested in character guys – well Morrow and Cleary are both known for their work ethic and leadership. Brunner, he will get in front of the net and he has some speed – but for the most part, I want to see our youth develop and play.

    I’d rather see Girgensons, Armia, Grigorenko cutting their teeth in the NHL and playing full shifts. I’d also like to see either Stafford step up or traded for a draft pick or something. Hell, I’m surprised we couldn’t have swapped him for Setoguchi or some other underperforming player.
    I think Darcy will get something for Vanek and Miller, just not now. There really isn’t too many places for Miller to go and I think Vanek’s stock will go up when the season starts. While some may blame Darcy for the lack of trades for Vanek and Miller – but I think they both also hurt their chances for a trade – hurt their value through their lack of leadership and their desire to “jump ship”. Says something about their character or lack thereof and some teams might have thought Darcy would just do a trade to grant their wishes.
    If Miller wants to leave – then give Darcy the 8 teams you don’t want to go to, play your ass off and then see what happens – either you’ll be gone this season or for sure next. Same with Vanek.

    • Richard Spalding

      Yeah, I’d like to see a lot of the young guys get major playing time next season, It’s the only way they’ll learn how to play at the NHL level. As for the trades – I don’t know about waiting until the season starts. Slumps, injuries – too many things can go wrong that would affect their value negatively. I would try to move them now – but I’ll save a little of my two cents for my next post.

  • qwicwted

    Hummm, St. Louis signs Roy for $4M. I have heard a rumor that there is a trade that could happen – Miller and maybe a d-man (the reason for signing Sulzer) for Oshie and Halak. I read that while Halak and Elliott are good goalies, neither of them could get St. Louis through the 1st round and that there has been interest in Miller. While I understand what Hawk says about missing out on Bolland or Ryan, I just don’t think Darcy wanted to give up any of our picks for 2013 and I really like the players picked – the d-men and the local boys. I also don’t think Anaheim wanted a $7M player as they were close to the cap and still have players to sign. Essentially, Anaheim got more bang for their buck.