Beautiful Disaster?: The Sabres re-organization plan
Its been five games into the Sabres 2014-2015 campaign and Sabres fans and people around the league are talking. Many people are saying "I told you so". Others are surprised at how similar the Sabres resemble last years historically bad squad. For me this begs the question, is Tim Murray is in control of this rebuild(tank) as he appears to be?
There is no doubt that Tim Murray picked up where Darcy Regeir left off, getting large returns for players that were once staples of the roster. He wasted no time buying out players who weren't going to put in an honest days effort in Leino and Erhoff. Then in a slightly less expected turn he brought in 6 free agents (Strachan, Gionta, Mezaros, Gorges, Moulson, Benoit. Add in Chris Stewart, who after trade played only 1.5 games, them was lost for the season. Not superstars on anyone's radar, but respectable, experienced, grown men here to play hockey. Remember last season when the Sabres began the season with the most teenagers on any roster since the mid 90's? Yeah, the results were as expected.
It would appear that in the least, the Sabres would be a more experienced, harder working, and possibly better than a dead last team in the NHL. 5 games into the season, a 1-4 start, allowing 3.6 goals per game, cutting ruts to the penalty box and being brutally out-possessed and outshot, the Sabres might be worse than last season(if that is at all possible). The Sabres only win so far came against and unbelievably shorthanded(and not very good to begin with) Canes team. Next closest game, last nights pitiful effort losing to Florida 1-0 at home.
One contingent of fans says, "What's wrong with that? Sounds like they are executing the plan pefectly". That plan being to land one of this years draft darlings and WNY household names Connor Mcdavid or Jack Eichel. The other half says, "Look at Edmonton, tanking doesn't work and you end up with a team of baby face kids who can't teach each other to play".
Both arguments have valid points, and none of us have a crystal ball. To me what is most evident and most concerning, is the teams effort. There seems to be no sense of urgency or purpose in their play. Ted Nolan, so far is not been able to cut through the zeitgeist that is the state of affairs in the Buffalo organization. While Murray has a plan to build a team that is his and that he expects to be a winner in the future. Nolan has to coach the team that is now. Talk about being in between a rock and a hard place. If Nolan fails, long term the GM and fans of Buffalo are likely to get a superstar, franchise player. Nolan is then most likely going to replaced and will never reap the rewards of coaching future stars. If Nolan somehow gets through to these guys and gets them to play to their potential(for which I believe there is some potential there), then there will be no "generational talents" brought to Buffalo via this years draft. And then apparently we will have suffered for little reward.
Ted Nolan stands little chance to be the coach of the future in Buffalo. Therefore Sabres fans should continue to expect sweeping changes to the organization.
Tim Murray might be a genius. Problem is the "might" part. No one can tell if he was legitimately trying to tank this season or of he was actually trying to be a legit NHL team. Because if so, he is failing, and that's not a good sign.