Buffalo Sabres Don’t Deserve McEichel


So normally I don’t pick apart the work of another hockey writer, because well, the fact of the matter is, if your a hockey writer, odds are you have written one hell of a nasty piece that no one likes, and that you regret horribly.  I have done it a couple of times in the past five years writing about the Buffalo Sabres.  But you see, I am a fan first, and a writer second, I do this because I enjoy the game of hockey and I love the fact that I can share my opinions on the game, whether you agree with them or not.

But then someone goes ahead and lays a turd out there for the internet universe to see and its just too easy not to pick it apart and poke fun at it.  And of course I am talking about the Yahoo Sports article written by Josh Cooper.

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Cooper provides further proof that just because you watch hockey and have a keyboard, not everyone should be allowed to write for a blog; and more importantly that not everything you read on the internet is true.

The simple fact that he points out that the Buffalo Sabres don’t deserve a generational players solely on the fact that the team won an expansion draft lottery for the rights to Gilbert Perreault?  That happened almost 50 years ago at this point, not to make fun of the guy, but lets compare apples to oranges why don’t we.  Mr. Cooper is probably the same type of person that will tell a Montreal Canadians fan that 87 percent (not a true stat, but yes, many of their Cups came before expansion) of their Stanley Cups don’t count because there were only six teams in the league and they got first crack at the best French Canadien players of the day.

Did Pittsburgh deserve to draft Malkin after it already had Sidney Crosby?

So now, I digress back to the point of the article, that the Arizona Coyotes and the Carolina Hurricanes should be the NHL’s first choice for who gets the top draft picks in the NHL.

I can’t disagree with him there, because just the other night several of us had that conversation.  Think about what the NHL has done.  It has expanded into non-traditional markets.  It would make perfect sense for the NHL to want those teams to do well; but lets look at some simple facts of the teams.

If the Arizona Coyotes do well, they still have a problem putting fans in the seats.  Team’s like the Buffalo Sabres attract a following even when they are bad because fans still love their hockey – and if what we are being told is true – there is a plan in place to make the team a contender again.

As many pundits and commenters on this site and many others have pointed out, you don’t need to draft high all the time to build a winner.  Look at the way the Los Angeles Kings have built their team.  They acquired players via trade, they drafted smart, they won two Stanley Cups.

Maybe the Chicago Blackhawks should have never been allowed to draft Patrick Kane because they already had Jonathan Toews.  That sparked them to winning two Stanley Cups.

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Winning hockey games isn’t just about drafting high draft picks.  You have to have the complete package.  The right combination of players, the right system, the right coaches.  There is also a fair amount of luck involved.  Physics is a bitch and sometimes that puck is going to come off the boards funny and make a goalie look silly.

And it isn’t like the Coyotes don’t have a top prospect in their system to build around.  Max Domi is coming up through the ranks and once the Coyotes figure out how to get him on their NHL roster (the impending fire sale in the desert is going to help that case) – they have something to build with.

Sure the comparisons are there that the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers are historically bad franchises.  Drafting high has not helped the Edmonton Oilers come out of the slump.  The Buffalo Sabres have stockpiled prospects and draft picks over the last few years of “suffering” – and hopefully will be on the verge of turning it around in the next couple of seasons when the likes of Sam Reinhart, Nikita Zadorov, and Zemgus Girgensons are all playing regular shifts and guys like Drew Stafford are no longer on the team.

Sure maybe the Buffalo Sabres don’t deserve to draft a guy like Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.  Because you know, we had Gilbert Perreault – a guy that every Sabres fan knows the name of, but a good chunk of Buffalo Sabres fans have never seen play.

Maybe Jack Cooper watches hockey like an ostrich with his head in the sand, but that’s like saying that any team that has won the Stanley Cup doesn’t deserve to win another one because they had their chance.

It isn’t about being fair and giving other teams a shot at great hockey players.

Now if we could only get Perreault to come out of retirement because apparently, he is our only chance.

Next: Are The Buffalo Sabres Problems Getting Worse?