The Buffalo Sabres made big moves in the first day of free agency, sending a second round pick in 2016 to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Josh Gorges, in a move that would see him stop a trade to another team, only to waive his limited no-trade clause to be pick up by Buffalo minutes after the free agency was open.
With Buffalo in a rebuild, and well under the cap floor, it was time that they looked towards the available players, finding the defenseman who was newly open to becoming a Buffalo Sabre.
Originally, Gorges didn’t have Buffalo on his list of teams he was willing to be dealt to, but after a second look, he felt a sense of want to heading towards Buffalo. With a last-minute add, Tim Murray was waiting to give him a call. And with a team of rookies and players who haven’t been in a leadership role or any major role, Gorges had a perfect answer to what role he was expected to play with his new team.
“My job is to go in there and play like I have been playing,” Gorges commented
Since he has been with the Habs, Gorges is familiar with the type of team that Buffalo has been, and the type of team that they will be.
“I think just from playing against them, I know that they’re a tough team, they come at you and it’s always a tough game,” he said of the team that he has been playing and the organization.” They’re committed, with some of the guys they have brought in, I think now it’s our job to steer us in the right direction. The coaching staff, the management and the organization is a great fit to get right to work.”
Of course, this deal also came with another news headline. With a limited no-trade clause, having Buffalo rival the Toronto Maple Leafs on the “no-trade list” that still didn’t stop the Leafs from trying to sign him, a deal that he himself turned down. Earning a bigger fan base even before he has donned a Buffalo Sabres jersey just because he told them a simple “no” and instead went to the team that has been notorious for having issues with Toronto. If that doesn’t get you a bigger fan base and more twitter followers, I don’t know what will.
I know that Buffalo and Toronto aren’t far away from each other,” Gorges said, “It’s a good rivalry there and it won’t take me long to get into it. I’ve been in this division and rivalry for a number of years now.”
Another big naming of the day, among the tons of others leading the news, was the announcement of bringing fellow teammate and Rochester-born Brian Gionta to add some veteran leadership to the team. Wondering if that had anything to do with him adding Buffalo to his list, Gorges quickly denied that.
“It’s funny because I had already added Buffalo to trade list before I knew anything about Gionta being signed,” Gorges noted. “But it make things easier, he has been a good friend and mentor to me over past 5 years. It’s a comforting feeling for my wife and I, knowing him and being able to come down here together.”
Now not having any worries about what team he will sign with, taken on the first possible day he could have, he know has the offseason to refocus and collect himself. But he knows one thing coming into Buffalo, who we hope he can blossom with.
Tim Murray, whatever you are doing, keep doing it.