As die hard Buffalo Sabres fans, we have certainly had to suffer through our share of disappointments. Beyond that, we have also hung on every word of hope sent to us from owners and managers. Who could forget John Rigas standing before a crowd in downtown Buffalo, declaring that he was going to supply the tools to "get the job done" Looking back, I am not quite sure exactly what job he was talking about. If the job was to win the Stanley Cup, why didn't he just say so. Terry Pegula certainly didn't hold back from spelling out the "job". Nor has Ted Black.
Then there was the Golisano regime. With Larry Quinn as his front man, they allowed Danny Briere and Chris Drury to skate out of town. But the crime they committed, the results of which still hover over this roster, was trying to convince the good people of Buffalo that Derek Roy was a number one center. He is at best, with his cool four million dollar annual salary, a third line center.
His ability to score important goals can't be argued. However, what also can't be argued is that he is a liability in a puck possession game in general and on the power play in particular. He insists on coughing up the puck at the worst of times. The careless pass has become his trade mark. While I haven't kept an exact statistic, I have no doubt that for every big goal he score, theres are at least five givaways at the worst of times. Is it any wonder that last years Sabres began their big push to the playoffs after Roy went down with what was for all purposes a season ending injury. At the time of his injury, the Sabres were 14-17-4. After his injury, their record improved to 29-12-6.
It's my belief that the Sabres are not done shaping their team. My conversation with a source high in the organization reported that finding one new center during the off season was one short of their need. While Ville Leino is being considered a top center, he has never player that position for any length of time in the NHL. They need one more center to fill out the roster. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Roy was the bait to make that a reality.
I would welcome him on this roster but only as a third line center. Maybe his half a season in the press box will mature him as a player and a person. From what I have heard there is plenty of room for both.