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Life after death……or in Buffalo’s case, life after Drury and Briere, is it time for fans to prepare for what seems now to be our inevitable fate?

Like an Atheist afraid of death Buffalo Sabres fans must now seriously ponder what the world will look like if the two captains leave. As was reported on TSN.ca earlier today Briere looks to be gone. Combine the fact that Drury can likely fetch 7 million on the open market and objective opinion does not side with Buffalo chances at retaining either of the highly coveted centers. So what do the Sabres look like without Briere and Drury? Here are my lines without them to give an over-view of the situation.

Line 1 = Vanek, Roy, Stafford
Line 2 = Kotalik, Connolly, Afinogenov
Line 3 = Pomminville, MacArthur, Hecht
Line 4 = Paille, Guastad, Mair

So, to me we still maintain two solid offensive lines. No need to panic yet. To be honest I like these lines if it means bringing in some serious help on the back end. If we lose both Drury and Briere nothing short of Hannan and Sarich on the back end will be acceptable. We will have 8 million dollars freed up from the loss of the co-captains and that is easily enough to make strong pushes for the two mentioned free agents.

Another factor will be our young players. Can Paille and MacArthur step up full time next season? I think they can, I doubt MacArthur will get anywhere near 70 points but a solid 50 point campaign will be music to my ears. Now the tricky part, can Dan Paille become the player he was for Canada at the World Juniors. Is he another Mike Fisher in waiting or does he play himself into the AHL for the remainder of his career? I like Paille a lot, more than most and think he can come in and provide the defensive spirit that Drury brought game in and out. I do not think he can replace Drury’s goal production or face-off numbers, but in terms of being a spark plug who pesters the opposing teams elite players Paille looks more that capable.

So, is it the end of the world? No! Will we win the presidents trophy next year? Probably not. I still think even without the co-captains we can be extremely competitive. It is just a matter of Dracy grabbing the help we need on D if our offense suffers. Last year we tried to win on skill alone, perhaps a more balanced team will have more success.
Filed Under:   Drury   briere   Sabres   gone   leaving   not coming back!  
June 29, 2007 9:16 PM ET | Delete
I would be shocked if the Sabres don't replace their two top centers with at least one lesser center. Zubrus would be a very nice cheaper addition. The management has a lot to spend if they stick to their statement of having a higher payroll this year.
June 29, 2007 11:04 PM ET | Delete
It's quite sad to see Briere turn his back on the club that really turned his career around, his career was dwildling into nothing then he got to Buffalo and flourished not only because of the new rules but he was put into a situation where he could succeed. Some team out there is going to grossly over pay this guy.Drury on the other hand was always going to be a star regardless of the club that he was on, he will be a solid addition to any club.
June 29, 2007 11:12 PM ET | Delete
Briere turn his back? He offered to sign a contract almost identical to the deal the Sabres offered him in the past few days last summer. Kind of hard to say yes to $5mm a year when somebody is going to hand you $7mm or more.
June 30, 2007 7:24 AM ET | Delete
Faced with the same situation most of us would take the extra 2mil per year. That being said I think they are leaving a great situation that is only going to get better in Buffalo. Wherever they sign they will be no closer to winning the cup and won't have the same fan support!!
June 30, 2007 3:39 PM ET | Delete
Both Drury and Briere are pieces of a Stanley Cup contender not the reason for a team being a Stanley Cup contender. CrashDavis said it best wherever these two sign will not be as good a situation as they had in Buffalo. The rumors of them going to LA together...if that happens LA will be much better but not a contender. If Drury heads back to Colorado well Colorado will be much bette probably a contender and if Briere heads to Philly, the Flyers will improve...slightly. Briere only wanted $5 mill/5yrs last year so if he signs this year for the same money he is getting the deal he wanted last year. Yeah he put up great numbers but I don't think he is a guy that can carry a team to the Cup on his own...the Drury/Briere combo combined with the nucleus that the Sabres have could take the Sabres to the promise land. The best situation for both players is to suck up the and take the $5 million; go back to Buffalo and take care of some unfinished business.
June 30, 2007 3:56 PM ET | Delete
drury doesn't speak much, but a year ago last january, he asked publicly for help while on a west coast road trip. he has never gotten it, and his buddy was let go. zubrus' play was a fluke, since he has been a fringe, soft player for 10 years in the league. every player brought up from roch. was tossed immediately on drury's line. plus, the number one reason the sabres went home early was the soft back end. if you're drury, do you stay?
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