Last night, my wife and I were out to dinner after a day of errands, and we began discussing the Buffalo Sabres and the trade deadline. Over dinner, I laid out a revamp for the Buffalo Sabres. Long story short, Buffalo has a terrific opportunity in front of them right now.
And Darcy Regier at the helm to get it… Yeah right, won’t happen.
Regier is the individual who can’t accurately assess players, nor make intelligent hockey decisions. As I write this, my parents are heading to Buffalo with their sign for the Sabres vs Capitals game tonight. The sign has a picture of Darcy, with a thought bubble that says “I can get a 6th round pick for Miller? Wow!!” Underneath it, it states “Fire the hockey genius!”
I’m also sure that if one listen’s carefully, one can hear the gentleman from section 317 screaming “Fire Regier!” Do you think the fans have had enough?
There’s several options for the Sabres right now. However, there’s only 1 right option for the Sabres.
Guess what one that is?
Let’s look at Buffalo trying to get into the playoffs. I feel that no move can make this team a competitive playoff team. Could they make the playoffs? Of course. Will they succeed in the playoffs? No. Not maybe, not possibly. NO. Buffalo can try to sell off their future in order to make a playoff push. Let’s look at this honestly, and identify that the only way the Sabres get in, is in the bottom 2 spots. Which in turn, puts Buffalo against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. I know that the Kings won last year in the 8th place seed, but they were different. There was a different attitude on that Kings team, and they played competitively every night. Buffalo struggles to beat even the worst teams in the NHL (see last 2 Sabres games).
Again, not a realistic scenario.
Regier’s general tactic has been to not better, or worsen his team. Unfortunately, the moves he makes is generally equivalent to slapping a band aid on a gushing wound. It just doesn’t work.
There’s other scenario’s, but again, let’s just not go there.
The best decision Buffalo can make is to just sell, sell sell! They should keep certain elements, and build for the future.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and anyone who says otherwise is just plain naive.
A GM who refuses to see this situation, and act on it, should be fired.
Buffalo is in a very unique position. They have several elements on their team that obviously do not work together well. There are several teams that are trying to make a serious run for the Stanley Cup, and due to Pittsburgh’s over zealousness, teams are scrambling to compete with them. In order to do that, team’s need to forgo their future in order to win now. Several teams would be willing to do that in order to get players like Regher, Vanek, Pominville, and others.
Buffalo can start to restructure now. They can also start striving towards that top draft pick that they desperately need. Plus, the young prospects/players they could attain in a trade would get some NHL experience as the Sabres move towards the future. This also gives the coaching staff time to assess the new pieces over the final month of the season. This is a win/win for the Sabres.
There’s 2 pieces that I think need to be in place though as the Sabres move forward. Right now, Ryan Miller stays. Trade Enroth. I personally think tonight is a chance for Enroth to show his stuff, and possibly increase his trade value. Miller is the man you build the future around. He is a strong goalie. Along with this, the Sabres build their team around him. Next season, Buffalo has the full 82 games in order to assess whether the team is improving, and whether they’re getting close to becoming serious contenders. If they still aren’t close, then it’s time to part ways with Ryan Miller. In the meantime, he’s the rock on the team, utilize that, and focus elsewhere on the team.
Next, Steve Ott stays put. He is a leader, and the Sabres can use him as such. He’s a player who is one of the solid all around players that can help develop younger players. I feel that NHL captaincy is given to players who are goal scorers, and not necessarily a leader. Jason Pominville is not a leader. Ott is. Give him the C next season, and let his “under your skin” style of hockey continue to add grit to this underachieving team.
Other than that, if the price is right, make the moves. Buffalo can set in motion moves to better this team for the future. Now is the time, and there is a lot of potential to restructure this team quickly, efficiently, and have a much improved hockey club by the 2013-2014 season.
But who am I kidding? Darcy Regier is in charge.
I can dream though.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB, I live chat during games. And as always, thanks for reading!