Is Danny Briere Right For the Buffalo Sabres? (Part One)

With a new year comes a whole load of new rumours and speculation in the hockey world. Right now on twitter everything from the Olympics to upcoming trades and news of hirings are swirling around, but there is one rumour that has caught the attention of us here at SabreNoise. There is some talk that the Buffalo Sabres- despite not having a General Manager- are in talks with the Montreal Canadiens over a former Buffalo Sabre by the name of Danny Briere.

We won’t talk about the names that are being thrown around, *cough* Steve Ott and Drew Stafford *cough* but we will talk about the possibility of Briere coming back to Buffalo.


There has been a lot of talk that Daniel Briere is not happy in Montreal and is looking for a trade out of town, but would coming back to the Buffalo Sabres make sense for either party?

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Briere was drafted 26th overall in the 1996 draft by Winnipeg Jets and was acquired by the Buffalo Sabres in 2003 after a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes. With the Sabres Briere overcame his small stature as he continued to develop and was eventually named the captain of the Buffalo Sabres.

During his time with the Sabres Briere became a legend of sorts. He was beloved by the fans- myself included and helped lead the Buffalo Sabres to the conference finals in both 2005 and 2006. He earned the nickname captain clutch and had a special way of setting HSBC Arena- at the time- a buzz. His most impressive performance in his three and a half season’s with the Sabres was the 2007 season in which he racked up 95 points, no Sabres player has come close to that mark since he left.

But as much as his strong play united Sabres fans, when he left town on July 1st, 2007 it left a sour taste in the mouths of many fans, and for that exact reason the Sabres should not trade for him. It may be poetic justice for him to end his career in Buffalo, but after he stuck the team and sent them into this tail spin, why should the Sabres take a much less dominate player back?

While Briere can still put up around 50 points a season, the rough and tumble game has begun to take a toll on his 5 foot 10, 36 year old body and he has not played a full season since his days with the Sabres. Since leaving Buffalo he started a history with concussions and as a result has scored 30 goals just once in the last 5 season’s.

What do the Buffalo Sabres need? They need, strong, tough forwards, who can score at least 30 goals and are willing to stay with the Sabres through the rebuild- that is not Briere. There’s a strong chance Briere won’t score much more than Cody Hodgson or Drew Stafford and there’s a strong chance he will once again bolt from the Sabres once his contract is up. Does Danny Briere want to come back to Buffalo? The town he once called home to finish his career? Who know’s, but he is not what the Buffalo Sabres need going forward.

Danny Briere is not the same player he once was when he don the blue and gold, he’s older, become more  sustainable to injuries and will not score at the rate the Sabres need going forward. The Sabres need young players with bright NHL future’s willing to work hard for a rebuilding team, not a guy rolling back into town to write a wrong before he rides off into the sunset.

Stay tuned for Tim’s take on the matter and let us know in the comments whether you would welcome Briere back to town or not.

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Danny Briere, Rumours, Steve Ott

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  • Jes


    Briere wouldn’t even be useful at all. The guy is no longer even half the player he once was with the Sabres. And throwing our captain out of town in a retarded deal like Stafford and Ott for Briere, Emelin and a pick is absolutely ludicrous. I’d rather sign Ott to a multi year deal and keep Stafford for the rest of his contract then bring Briere back. This is absolutely ridiculous if it goes through CC. Hope that guys source is wrong.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I’m on the same boat as you Jes, heck no to this deal. Briere is not the same guy he once was and I’d rather keep Otter

  • Jes

    Oh and Briere will tally much less then Hodgson.

  • Dano

    What do I think of this? One small statement..

    ” Id be happier with Grigorenko starting as center on the first line! ”

    Sums it all up.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      hahah well there was once a time we hoped that Grigorenko would be starting on the first line…

      • Dano

        You may have hoped. ;)

        I honestly dont see Grigorenko making it in the Sabres Org. He plays russian style hockey. Stick checking, doesnt really use his body, tries to finess the puck.. Then along comes a North American Player and takes the puck away.

        He has his way of playing hockey. He is quite good at playing his way. Problem is you cannot have a whole team conform to one style when the majority grew up and have played the game differently most of their lives.

        I could see Grigorenko ‘ fitting in ‘ with the Habs. Not excelling to any potential though. Shop Grigorenko to the Caps or Detroit where he can play a more Euro-type game and the kid will do quite well. He has ability and talent.

        All that said, Id rather the Russian then Briere at this point in his tenure.

      • Eric Gambon

        He is only 19, let him develop.

  • Ludz

    In the right deal I would take a chance on Briere. He might not be a superstar center anymore but he could be a nice veteran center for our guys to play with and learn from.

    Our 4 centers tonight are Ennis, Flynn, Larsson, Ellis. I think Ennis is decent but the other three are not going to make their wingers better at this point. Briere could be an effective second line guy maybe help showcase Leino or Stafford

    • Caitlin Campbell

      well when healthy our centre’s are Ennis, Hodgson and Flynn/Larsson… the Sabres do need to acquire a true number one centre but I don’t think Briere is that guy. 2nd line maybe, but you don’t want to break up the Girgensons- Ennis- Moulson line and you need a place for Hodgson

  • Guest

    I see this as more of a move to cover some of the cap space needed to
    make the minimum next year while bringing in a veteran to help some of
    the younger guys out. We will
    have a ton of cap to cover if Miller and/or Moulson are gone and I have
    been hoping they would take on some cap space from players they want as opposed to overpaying free agents to cover it. Ideally I would like to see them bring in older veteran players from teams that need the cap room and receive picks in return. Somewhat like the Regehr-Kotalik Trade did. We got a good player and took on some salary with basically sending back very little in return. I also remember that Briere wanted to re-sign and can recall an article where it said one of the reasons that Drury left was because they had not even talked to Briere about extending his contract. It think the Buffalo fan base would welcome him back and I would be all in if its the right price.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I honestly wouldn’t mind him coming back but it has to be at the right price, the draw back is that it isn’t a real move for the future. Do we need veterans yes, but we also need a number one centre who is willing to stay and grow with the Sabres long-term and Briere isn’t that guy

      • Ray Rome

        We could get that number one center in Sam Reinhart this year. I love that we have improved the team but I think we still need an entire top line. The 3 first round picks we hold for this year and next will most likely all be top 10 and are the best chances we are going get to draft a premium top line. Heres to hitting on every single one of them!

      • Jerilyn Bachowski

        Right and Ott should not even be in the conversation…..It seems like every time the city starts to love a player, they yank him right out from under us. I would like to have Danny back, but not for Ott.

  • David Clark

    I’ve always been a fan of Briere… but the only way I’d make a deal for him is if Ville Leino was going the other way. Stafford and Ott are both guys worth trading for the right return, but Briere isn’t it… and we definitely don’t need another D-man in Emelin (that part makes even less sense).

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Exactly- I’d be ok trading Ott if it’s for the right piece but Briere isn’t that piece.

  • qwicwted

    I’m not sure how I feel about taking Briere back – perhaps for the right price – Leino. I would rather trade Grigorenko for Kadri. Dano is right, Grigorenko excels at playing a Euro/Russian style of hockey rather than the physical play over here in North America. If a Briere deal factors in Ott or even Stafford – I would have to say no. While Danny would be a good mentor to our youngsters, injuries have taken their toll on him and I think we (the fans) need to realize that he is not the same player that left us years ago. So while he might bring leadership with him, his skills have dimished.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I agree, he’d bring leadership but with injuries and him not producing at a rate the fans would demand it would be a bad situation all around.

  • Eric Gambon

    I’m 95% sure that Briere wasn’t nicknamed Captain Clutch as that was Drury’s tag.

    • Eric Gambon

      Also, are we just in the business of bringing back former team members for closure ? How about a cup.

      • Caitlin Campbell

        Pat LaFontaine seems to be in the business of writing wrongs. Bringing back a former coach who was let go, perhaps bringing back a former scout to GM and now bringing back former players. What’s next Bringing Miller back for his last season once he leaves?

        • Eric Gambon

          Exactly. I’m for bringing Miller back but not at the price he deserves/demands. This team needs a few years of development before its a true contender again. Miller will be 35-36ish before that happens. I hate watching them lose, but using 8m in cap space on Miller isn’t where its needed. We still don’t have a #1 line, we barely have a #2 center. Miller can steal games, he can’t win them. Goal scoring is the #1 problem and has been for the last season or 2.

          • Caitlin Campbell

            So what would you give Miller? I think he should get the money he deserves he is and will continue to be the bacbone of this team

          • Eric Gambon

            Oh I think he deserves the money, but I think he deserves to go to a team that will contend in his career time frame. I think you need to build the team from the 1st line down. My feeling is we are building from the 3rd line out, Miller aside. Don’t get me wrong I hope they sign him, I just hope it doesn’t hinder #1 Center Acquisition.

          • Eric Gambon

            Giergeons (spelling), Ott, Hodgeson are solid 2nd/3rd line players. From a “true” first line stand point we need a center for Moulson (if he stays) and a RW. Stafford is not a 1st line RW’er. Its just a big mess at the top line. I like our bottom 3 lines. whoops off topic.

          • Caitlin Campbell

            I think Girgensons has the potential to play on the top line alongside Moulson- but if not he’d be a solid 2nd line centre. We are in dire need of a number one centre for the future

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I don’t know, I found someone else calling him captain clutch and decided to use it- could be mistaken. I know RJ called him the cookie monster at one point

      • Eric Gambon

        Maybe, I know I have a t-shirt that says “23 is Clutch” from the 2007 season.

      • Jerilyn Bachowski

        Yep, Danny was the cookie monster

    • christopher kapsiak

      Yes it was def drury who was captain clutch not briere

  • Ian Hermansen

    Sorry but Chris Drury earned the headline in the Buffalo News and nickname Captain Clutch, not Danny Briere.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Thanks for letting me know Ian

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  • Ray Rome

    Hey Caitlin, Love your articles. How about doing a piece on the problems we might have next year with the cap and our options. Even if we sign our restricted free agents and Miller to 7 or Moulson to 6 mil we’ll still be around 40 million. 12 million under the cap floor. We could be forced to sign some outrageous free agent contracts if something isnt done, the exact opposite of building through the draft. Hopefully we get a GM that has the foresight to head this off before we get put in that position!

  • Jon

    Who writes these articles? Briere was not acquired in a trade with Phoenix, he was claimed off of waivers. These people need to get their facts straight.

  • christopher kapsiak

    Reason he left was Darcy. Also I would not get rid of ott either. Ott is a keeper imo. But briere is more than a perfect fit here in buffalo again. First buffalo has a ridiculous amount of cap money to send. This also helps land other players this off-season. Not to mention helps with keeping miller and sorry if you don’t think Miller should stay but he needs to! What drove this team when drury and briere where here was their drive and heart. Briere is a great player that would help young players through this rebuild. No one said he’s getting 90 points anymore but he his a great veteran leader for this team.

  • Jerilyn Bachowski

    Chris Drury was Captain Clutch, not Briere……Stafford okay, but they better not trade Ott for him

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