The buffalo sabres entered this off season with two goals, strengthening our defense, and finding a first line centre. I think Darcy did an excellent job at building us one of the best D collections in the league. Regher and Ehrhoff along with Leopold and Myers will without a doubt make Ryan Millers job a lot easier. But as happy as I am about our defence being strengthened I can't help but be disappointed that we are still without a first line centre. I also think that Darcy, Terry and the rest of Buffalos front office is a bit dissapointed and don't think they will be done this off season without trying to bring that center in. It will be tough since we missed Brad Richards but I believe Darcy is one of the most under esetimated GMs in the NHL and I have a feeling we will have this center before the puck drops in October.
Now in terms of who will fill this first line center spot? I have heard Chris Drury being thrown around a bit to much for my liking. Yes, Drury used to be a great player but I doubt he will ever get back to that level, and even if he somehow did find a spark in Buffalo I don't think he is the guy were looking for. When Chris Drury was playing his best hockey he was a goal scorer and as nice as it would be to have another player who can put up 30 goals I think we need a center man that can put up 50 plus assist, and Chris Drury, even if he miraculously found his game, is not that guy.
With this being said this means we must aquire our first line center via trade. In terms of who this guy we wanna get is, there are a few names being thrown around. Personally the first name that came to mind for me was Joe Thornton, with San Jose promising to remodel there franchise. Since than I have heard two centers beining thrown around in trade talks, Jason Spezza and Paul Stastny. Jason Spezza is a player that can pass the puck around but also bury it. If we got a good season out of him he could get that 50 assists and also put up 30 goals of his own but I think we'd have to give up a lot more for spezza than we would stastny. Stastny is a first line center that the avalanche don't really need with matt duchene being in the lime light. Paul stastny doesn't quite have the scoring touch that spezza does but he will put up 20 goals and if we get him with vanek and drew I think he can put up 60 assists easily. Having him could also get vanek back to the 40 goal scorer we know he can be and I think drew ould put together another 30 goal season. Now as great as this sounds who would we have to give up for a player like Stastny? Well as much as I love derek Roy and would love to keep him he may have to be dealt for a player like stastny, I think Roy is one of the best 2nd line centers in the league and that is exactly what he would be in Colorado. It would be nice to throw hecht into the deal and rumour has it that the avs are interested in the goose which has me worried since hes one of myfavourite players. But anyways I'm sure Darcy can figure something out that keeps us under the cap(hecht or kotalik would be very helpful with that)
So lets say we deal Roy and Hecht to Colorado for Stastny, I think we could figure it out without roy now that Leino can play cener and I believe Ennis has played their before too. Anyways I think our lines could look something like this
I think a cup could come to buffalo with lines like that and I believe Darcy can make it happen and our only real obstacle will be the cap.