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New York , NY • United States • 30 Years Old • Male
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Sabres Made Right Moves

Posted 12:26 PM ET | Comments 16
A month ago when the Sabres lost Chris Drury, Daniel Briere and Danius Zubrus in the span of about a week Sabres fans wanted someone's head. I think now that they have settled down a bit and took a step back, they have realized, the Sabres aren't all that bad.

The biggest loss of the three is definitely Chris Drury and he will certainly be the hardest to replace. Anyone can replace goal scoring, but with Drury it was the intangibles that made him so attractive. He was the heart and soul of that team and probably would have never gone as far as they did without him. That being said, where did they really go, two years in a row the Sabres were expected to get to the Stanley Cup finals and they did not.

As much as Darcy Regier wanted to keep Drury and Briere, he also realized that a shake up wouldn't be a bad thing. The truth is the Sabres are loaded. Even without Drury, Briere and Zubrus they can still potentially lead the league in scoring again. Last season the Sabres went most of the year without Tim Connolly. He'll center the top line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville on his wings. As much as the two benefited from Briere's play making last year he benefited even more playing along side them. If healthy, you can bank on Connolly having an 80 point season.

The emergence of Derek Roy and Drew Stafford made letting Briere and Zubrus go easier. Roy had 63 points last year while playing considerably less than he will this year. He'll give Connolly a run at 1st line in training camp. So with the first two lines spoken for what are fans really worried about? Depth? Paul Gaustad and Michael Ryan will be perfect 3rd and 4th line centers. With Ales Kotalik, Jochen Hecht and Maxim Afinogenov, the Sabres have plenty of fowards that can score.

Regier had to make a lot of tough decisions this off season. He knew he had to resign both Vanek and Roy and that they are both the future of this team. He really didn't want Drury to go, but Drury had already made up his mind, he wanted to be closer to his hometown. Signing Vanek and Roy will prove to be better moves than breaking the bank for Briere and Zubrus. Tough decisions like these are what makes Regier one of the best GMs in the league.

The biggest issue the Sabres will face is team defense and leadership, but I get the feeling Lindy Ruff has a few tricks up his sleeves that will solve that. Maybe they don't win the division this year, but Sabres fans shouldn't panic, the playoffs are a lock.
Filed Under:   Buffalo   Sabres   Drury   Roy   Northeast   Regier   NHL   Ruff  
August 7, 2007 2:06 PM ET | Delete
Drury only decided he didn't want to be a Sabre anymore and opted to play for his home town team - the Rangers - AFTER Sabres management failed to finalize the contract that both parties agreed to in the fall. I don't blame Drury for having a bad taste in his mouth after that.My intent is not to re-open an issue I think many Sabres fans have gotten over by now, but don't claim that Drury's departure was a foregone conclusion.We all know, Sabres management included, that they dropped the ball on that one.
August 7, 2007 2:09 PM ET | Delete
While I agree that Regier made the right moves here, the Sabres still need another checking-type center for depth. Mike Ryan is a winger, not a center, and Gaustad is most effective as a 4th line energy type player. His play seems to deteriorate when he gets more than 10-12 minutes of ice time. It's just how he is. I don't see him as the guy for the 3rd line (as blasphemous as it might sound to most Sabres fans).
August 7, 2007 2:09 PM ET | Delete
Chaos..Not a bad blog but the Sabres have blunders which you did not mention. They failed to sign Vanek and wound up overpaying him. He is a part time player...Plays when he wants. Roy is also overpaid because the Sabres failed to sign him. The fact they have not moved Spacek or Kalinin are also blunders. Where is the leadership coming from? Not anyone on this team right now. Assuming Stafford can just come in and perform at a very high level is a stretch. He was very ordinary late in the season. The Sabre will struggle to keep opponents off the board this year and that will be the weakness.
August 7, 2007 2:20 PM ET | Delete
Nice post ChaosCris. I have been thinking the same things over the past few weeks and trying to convince some of my fellow Sabre fans that the summer hasn't been as bad as it looks. I'm looking at it like this: Drury, Briere, Vanek, and Roy were all going to get paid this off season - I'm much more comfortable paying out and locking up the guys in their early 20's with their best years ahead of them as opposed to the 30 year olds who will likely never again see numbers like they posted last year. As always, Darcy had a plan and stuck to it.Side note to dainiuscrazius - no one really knows what went on with the negotiations other than Drury and Darcy. Just because Bucky Gleason writes it in the Buffalo News doesn't make it fact.
August 7, 2007 2:28 PM ET | Delete
The Sabres didn't get better this offseason. They added a backup goaltender and are relying solely on players improving. Some (stafford, Connolly, Spacek) might, but the Sabres have had two seasons where they came close, but have twice failed to improve.And yes, those players were all going to get paid, but did they all need to get paid that much? I think not.
August 7, 2007 4:15 PM ET | Delete
I love the way Kevin Lowe played Regier. Darcy showed his hand by telling the Oilers hewould match any offer. Soooo... up goes the offer. Not smart in any business. Then when it all goes down, the Oilers are the ones running up the payroll (even though there is a cap, no one on the Oilers makes over $5.5 m, and they are still well under the cap).
August 7, 2007 5:35 PM ET | Delete
rapperray, I used to think Vanek was a part time player as well, you just have to get used to the way the guy plays. He has a strange, lazy looking style which makes him seem like he's skating slow/ not giving an effort, (plus he can be a little weak still when it comes to playing in the corners, which does annoy me). Still you can't say he shys away from physical play because half his goals come from mixing it up in front of the net.One thing I noticed is that stupid move that always worked in college (putting the puck between the dman's legs and going around him) was never working for him in the pros... well last year it started working. He put up all those points and he's JUST STARTING to figure this out. He could hit 100 for us this season!
August 7, 2007 5:37 PM ET | Delete
dvhunt, I think Regier said he would match any offer thinking Lowe wouldn't try to screw him over. If he said "Don't bother, we are just going to match it," maybe Lowe would say, "Alright, I will look elsewhere, thanks." Nope, that didn't happen, which is why I see Lowe as disrespectful.
August 7, 2007 6:09 PM ET | Delete
your counting on tim connely to center your first line when the only season he played 80 games inhe hit 25 points? Roy going against teams better defensive pairings? Is this how you really think? good luck in Sluggalo kids -- it will be along season if your putting your hopes on this roster to score as much as last year, and had anything changed on your backend? Too funny
August 7, 2007 6:25 PM ET | Delete
My primary objection to your post is this; Darcy Regier did not orchestrate any of the moves you mention. He would have paid Drury what the Rangers offered. He didn't make a decision not to. Therefore, he blew it when he waited as long as he did. He also offered Briere 5 million per season.Thats more than he paid for Roy. He didn't negotiate with Vanek. Lowe did. I'll bet a million if Darcy could turn back the clock he would have negotiated with those guys far sooner than he did. Vanek and Roy included. The current roster has nothing to do with decisions made by management and everything to do with decisions forced by the actions of others. That is not good. I'm glad you will be pleased with a playoff appearance this year. I for one am not, we were two or three solid players from hoisting a banner. How many players are we away now?
August 7, 2007 7:38 PM ET | Delete
DaveZ....I would guess 5 or 6 players away and good luck getting them. Who wants to play for the Sabres when they handle their star players the way they do. The Sabres will struggle to make the playoffs and "if" they do, they will exit in the 1st round.....
August 7, 2007 10:09 PM ET | Delete
First of all... You can't tag Darcy or Quinn as good or bad GM's after this off-season. Rather, look at all the great work they have accomplished in years past. They are the ones that assembled the president's trophy winning team. Also, consider that Buffalo was voted (by the NHL players) as the worst city to call home out of all the cities in the league. We have all heard that Drury and Briere's wife hated living in Buffalo, so you would think that they would factor that in their decisions to re-sign or skip town. Personally, I like the city of Buffalo, and love its sports teams... But, nobody ever said being a Buffalo sports fan was easy, but thats part of what makes you proud at the end of the day.
August 7, 2007 11:11 PM ET | Delete
Actually sabresx88, plenty of former NHL'ers have made their permanent homes in the Buffalo area: Mike Peca, Scotty Bowman, Marcel Dionne, Mathew Barnaby, Rob Ray, Jaty Mckee to name just a few. There are many, many more. Jim Kelly lived here for years after he retired and countless Bills still do. Thurman Thomas is also leaving Florida to come back. Did here the rumor about Drury's wife wanting to leave but never heard that about Briere. Heard the opposite in fact. History has shown that Regier and Quinn don't just burn bridges with players, they blow them sky high. As for the "great work" of those two, I don't buy that either. Lindy Ruff is what makes the Sabres go. This guy took them to the Finals with nothing but Hasek and Peca. Half that team is out of the NHL now. Regeir built nothing. He did break that team up however; just like he did the current version.
August 8, 2007 8:05 AM ET | Delete
Lukin , you Philly fans kill me ... you think because you have Briere that your gonna do any better than us ? We will once again finish ahead of you in the division , and in the conference standings at the end of the year. You better have some of that toughness left on that team because teams are gonna be gunning for Briere's head like they were last year. Good lucky in Philly , as its gonna be another long season for you guys.
August 8, 2007 12:04 PM ET | Delete
I think the "loss" of Biere, Drury and Zubrus is inconsequential. Think the Sabres will be a much better team without them. As for leadership on the ice, someone will replace Drury. He's really too small anyhow. Other players will step up and replace these three. I predict - and remember you heard here first - the Sabres will have the best season ever. They will play as a team and not rely on just one or two guys. They still have more young talent than any other team in the league.
August 8, 2007 12:20 PM ET | Delete
With Drury and Briere in the lineup it felt that no matter what the score was there was a chance to come back and I can't count the number of times Drury or Briere scored or set up a clutch goal in the last minute to tie or win a game...That is the biggest thing the Sabres will miss this year...I still think the playoffs are a definite possibility but agree that assuming everyone will step up and double their point output with double the ice time is a stretch...
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