Let's re-enact the plot from the seminal classic "Trading Places" with Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd. I have a full day ahead of me as the Sabres new head honcho and while the very confused Darcy Regier spends the next 8 hours trying to find my car keys and navigate the rough and tumble Jersey neighborhoods, I have some phone calls to make.
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8am- I just entered the office after a coffee stop at Tim Hortons, there aren't any Timmy's down in Jersey so I couldn't resist. First order of business, figuring out Darcy's password to his computer. Channeling another great 80's classic I enter "1,2,3,4,5" and voila! It's not luggage, but it worked. A quick scan of Darcy's contacts and I have the phone #'s I'll need for the day but let's do a little cyber snooping while I have the chance. Hmmm...browser history...whoa...if you think the Dominator was flexible, you should see his better half. Ok enough distractions, let's get down to brass tacks.
9am-I dial the number for Phoenix General Manager Don Maloney but he doesn't answer. So of course, I continue to hit redial until he does. Finally 17 calls in I get a response: "Damn it Darcy, it's 6 in the morning what the hell is so important."
"Oh Sorry Don, it's interim Sabres GM Brandon Hess here, I didn't realize it was so early out west. But you'll be glad you answered the phone because I have a deal here that will knock your proverbial socks off...maybe literally too Don so make sure you put your slippers on."
"No Brandon, I've already told Darcy a million times I'm not trading Doan for Kaleta!"
"Trust me Don, I'm not that dumb. Ok here's the deal, you need some help putting pucks in the net, and we need help down the middle up front. Kyle Turris is not even active on your roster, so he's essentially dead weight. Why don't I help you alleviate some of that weight. I'll send you Tyler Ennis, and offensive minded D-man M.A. Gragnani in exchange for Kyle Turris's rights and defenseman David Schlemko."
Recap: It's a trade that truly helps both teams. Ennis gives Phoenix immediate scoring depth without losing anyone they currently have in the top 6 because Turris isn't on the active roster. The Sabres need more size and grit on the back end, but have puck movers to spare. Gragnani can help Phoenix get the puck up the ice, and David Schlemko can help Buffalo be tougher to play against on a nightly basis.
Numbers: To PHX: 1.425mil
Numbers: To BUF: .550mil (Turris needs to be signed, probably around 2.25mil)
Ok it's around 10am and I've made the team better already, maybe T-Pegs will erect a bust of me outside the arena. Hmm...speaking of which I've got another call to make.
10:30AM-"Good morning Dom how are you doing it's Brandon Hess the interim GM for the Buffalo Sabres"
"Well Brandon it's actually 5pm here in the Czech Republic."
"Oh sorry about that. (Man I can't get this time thing down!). Here's the deal, T-Pegs is flying you out here for the next game so we can retire your jersey already. It's long overdue and frankly I'm embarrassed on behalf of the organization that it's taken this long"
"That sounds great, can we invite John Muckler and Ted Nolan to the ceremony too and then when they arrive at the arena inform them they aren't allowed in?"
"Sure thing Doms, in fact I'll make sure we tell Nolan that he should have made reservations...haha...get it, because Teddy is a native..."
"Yeah I get it...uh...ok I guess I'll see you then"
Hahaha (evil laughter) little does Dom know I never even ran this by Pegula or Ted Black, but I do have an expense account, so I better get busy.
12 noon- "Yeah that's 20 hot, and 20 with sauce on the side for Rob Ray, yeah that Rob Ray, haha yea I know he's such a girl when it comes to spicy food...ok...thanks" Sorry but I can't get good wings in Jersey either so I had to give the Duff's on Sheridan Dr. in Amherst a call. Go ahead and rip me but I'm the GM and i'll get wings where I bloody please.
1pm-Ok time to make another trade and get this team primed for a championship. I'm a firm believer in having veterans with cup experience on your team. Look at the leadership a guy like Mark Recchi provided to last years Bruins team. This Sabres team has nobody with a ring, Regehr, Leopold, Leino, and Ehrhoff have all come close, but all they amount to is 4 guys who have lost. There is no one for the young guys to look up to as someone who knows what it takes to get to the top of the mountain, and someone to stabilize the team when they go through rough stretches...until now.
1:20pm-"Yeah hello is this Bob Murray? Great hey Bobby how ya doin it's Brandon Hess here the interim GM for the Buffalo Sabres. Look your team (ANA Ducks) needs a shake-up, things aren't going well early on and you guys have too much talent to be in the western conference cellar. We need someone with some veteran leadership who has a ring. That's why I have an offer for you that you can't refuse (in my marlon brando voice). We'll trade you Brad Boyes, straight up for Francois Beauchemin. The salaries are nearly equal and both players are in the last year of their contracts. It's a match made in hockey heaven."
Recap: Francois Beauchemin won a stanley cup with Anaheim in 06-07, and has been a steady force on the Ducks backend year in and year out. He'll add more size and grit to our now extraordinarily deep back-end. They get Brad Boyes to help ignite their offense, and both players are UFA's at the end of this season.
Numbers: To ANA: 4.0mil
Numbers: To BUF: 3.8mil
Ok it's almost 2 in the afternoon and I've pretty much locked up the Stanley Cup for this team so In typical Darcy fashion I'm going to go home early for the day. Boy won't Darcy's family be surprised when I walk in and go "Honey I'm home".
The Sabres add Kyle Turris (C), David Schlemko (D), and Francois Beauchemin (D) for a total of 4.35mil (Turris needs to sign a deal) and lose Tyler Ennis, Marc Andre Gragnani, and Brad Boyes for a total subtraction of 5.2mil. This leaves the Sabres with just under 3mil to sign Kyle Turris. David Schlemko would play as the 7th Defenseman and Beauchemin would be added to the top 6.
With the addition of Turris the Sabres could line their centers up with Adam, Roy, Turris, and Gaustad. This would also allow either a permanent spot for Corey Tropp or Zack Kassian on the roster this season. Oh and I got Hasek's jersey retired...something that needed to happen yesterday.
Follow me on Twitter @SabreHess
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