Recently The Hockey News had a poll, asking readers who the best player in the NHL is. Now, while it’s no surprise that no Buffalo Sabres players were on that list, it did get me thinking of the past five Stanley Cup winners, and how many of these players did/do these champions possess. So, after the jump, let’s look at that list and gawk with jealousy, shall we?
This is The Hockey News list:
Now let’s look at the last five Stanley Cup winners, and the following players these teams possess from the list above:
Boston Bruins: Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara
Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews
Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby
Detroit Red Wings: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk
Anaheim Ducks: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry
See a pattern here? Each of these teams have at least one or two dominant players, players considered superstars by league standards. Every one of these players, except for the two Bruins, were drafted by each of these clubs. Toews, Malkin, and Crosby were all top-5 picks in their respective draft years, while Getzlaf and Perry were lower first-round picks.
Looking again at that list, would you, as a Buffalo Sabres fan, take anyone from the current roster and insert him in with that bunch? Two years ago, Ryan Miller would have already been included. Not anymore. Thomas Vanek? Maybe top-50. Jason Pominville? Perhaps if it were a top-100 list. Tyler Myers? Once he starts to show some real consistency, perhaps.
What the Sabres need is a bona-fide superstar. Whether it’s through a trade, free-agent signing or the draft, Buffalo is in short supply of being able to dress any one player on a nightly basis that scares the bejeezuz out of their opposition. Imagine the game-planning that would have to go on if you added, say, a Toews, a Sedin or a Malkin to the Sabres lineup.
Zach Parise is an unrestricted free-agent this summer, and he would seriously add an element of scoring and competitiveness to Buffalo’s roster (and perhaps allow them to move a winger – Vanek, perhaps – to acquire that ever-elusive number one centerman this team is lacking), but there will be 29 other teams lining up to procure his services.
So, with that in mind, would it be such a bad thing if the Sabres were to finish in the bottom five in the league, heading into the 2012 NHL Entry Draft? One, the team would be guaranteed a chance in the NHL Draft Lottery, putting them in the running for the number one pick overall. Two, any team picking in the top-five usually drafts a potentially great player, if not an impact player. Three, if the Sabres were actually picking a top two or three player, many times that player steps right into the NHL lineup in the upcoming season, and many do have an immediate impact. The top prospects eligible for the 2012 draft can be viewed here, and there are more than a handful of top-end studs to be had.
Obviously, if this year’s Sabres team has any form of competitive spirit (which is still up for debate), they are going to fight until the bitter end. There’s no guarantee where they’ll finish in the standings, and if they keep playing with the same urgency and intensity as they have displayed as of late, they may very well drop out of the top-five – or even top-ten – when it comes to seeding the teams on draft day.
As Sabres fans, we all want to cheer them to victory.
But, would it be such a bad thing if they started to slip again, and ended up with the chance to draft a superstar? It seems to me, if the organization truly does have dreams of winning “multiple Cups”, it’s better if they lose more than they win from here on out.
I’m only thinking of them.
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