Well, the weekend of doom, I mean draft weekend is upon us. Sorry for the doom comment, being a Sabres fan, you kind of get used to it being a difficult week/weekend (especially with Darcy in charge). There are certain does and don’ts with this draft/free agency/trade period. Personally, this is how I would handle things were it me.
Let’s address the don’ts first. There’s one thing that Buffalo does not need in this draft.
Goalies. (My wife says Darcy. This is the last you’ll hear about it, I promise)
Forget about it. Don’t even CONSIDER it. I’m hearing great things about Zachary Fucale who is playing up in Halifax and has drawn a lot of attention. Buffalo does not need a goalie. For those of you who read regularly, you’ll know my position on Buffalo’s goalie situation. There’s Enroth with a new 2 year deal, there’s Leggio, Hackett, Knapp, Lieuwen, and Makarov, all in the Sabres system. Plus, there is still Ryan Miller who, as of right now, is still a Sabre. Even if Miller gets traded, Buffalo does NOT need a goalie.
If a team wants Fucale, who is the top ranked goalie, it’s Buffalo’s opportunity to make some trades if a team is desperate enough to get him. I promise, that’s all I’ll say about goalies.
Let’s move on to a “ let’s consider it, but not a priority” position.
Buffalo recently resigned Mike Weber to a 3 year deal. They still have Myers, Ehrhoff, Ruhwedel, Pardy, and Pysyk. Sulzer is still a restricted free agent, but Buffalo will probably sign him. Sekera is still in Buffalo, but my fingers are crossed that he gets traded as part of a package deal soon. I personally really liked Ruhwedel and the time he spent in Buffalo. I personally would love to see him get some more time this season. He moved the puck well, and made some pretty smart decisions.
Let’s look down to Rochester. There’s Biega, Crawford, Gauthier-Leduc, Schiestel, and McNabb (who would love to get back to the NHL). Buffalo has plenty of depth at defense, but they are young. If Buffalo is going to do anything when it comes to defense, they need to look for a veteran to help lead the young men in Buffalo. I’d like to see a player like Rob Scuderi or Douglas Murray come to Buffalo to be a leader on the back end.
I don’t think a defenseman is the answer when it comes to the draft on Sunday. I think free agency is the time to address it.
Ding ding!! Ding ding!!! Winner winner!!!
This needs to be Buffalo’s focus and priority number one, especially with the first 2 picks they have on Sunday. This is where it gets tricky.
I hope Buffalo makes their trades prior to the draft on Sunday. Sounds crazy right? Not really. Buffalo will probably bring in some young prospects with trades, and potentially some roster players. Come Sunday, Buffalo should have a good idea as to who will be starting in Buffalo come opening day in October. They will also have a good idea as to who needs assistance to fill out the lines, and compliment each other on the ice.
I don’t think any of the trades that Buffalo will make will just include 1 or 2 players. I suspect it will be a package deal including several. Which means even more gaps may be taking shape on the Sabres opening day roster.
Which in turn leads to Buffalo’s draft approach...
If Buffalo is looking to bring in players to start IN BUFFALO this coming season, they need to have an idea now as to who they may play with, and whether they can compliment who is already here. If Buffalo wants Grigorenko to start in Buffalo next year, build a line around him. Bring in pieces that Buffalo can use in their rebuild, and can contribute now. Make sure they work towards the betterment of the team.
Now, I’m no expert on who is a good pick in the draft. I know MacKinnon and Jones are the hot picks this year, but after that, I have no idea. Reason being, I prefer to wait to pass judgment until the team starts playing. For example, all the hubbub about a certain Grigorenko last season, was misplaced. Now he’s young, but we all know how everyone expected great things immediately from him. They never came did they?
Regardless of what Buffalo does in the draft, trades, and free agency, I hope that they do their research. I’d love to have some excitement over the next couple months until October. I always get excited for new players, but there’s still one issue, they have to deliver.
Let’s not give into the hype after the draft this year,shall we? The real assessment will take place when the new additions to the team take the ice.
I am venturing off to the Sabres Draft Party on Sunday with my wife. If you’re there, please feel free to come up, say hi, and chat hockey with me. The reason I write on here is to interact with fans, and generate serious hockey discussion about the Sabres and the NHL. I’ll be in the jersey of one of the most famous Buffalo Sabres draft picks, Taro Tsujimoto.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB I’ll be posting (hopefully) during the draft party. I will be writing a fan assessment of the draft party the following day.
As always, thanks for reading!!