Last night was just another example of the Sabres failing to rise to the challenge of a “rivalry” game. There’s no love lost between Buffalo and Boston. I’d have hoped that Buffalo would have at least risen to the occasion, and played Boston hard. They even had a chance to win with the game 3-2 heading into the 3rd period. Instead, they failed to generate shots, and lost 5-2.
So, what did I do on my morning off? I woke up, and listened to Ted Black tap dance around answering questions regarding the status of the team on WGR. I would have been better off sleeping in. However, I did get to hear Black talk about the importance of the upcoming drafts, and that is going to be how the Buffalo Sabres build their team.
No really, that’s not sarcasm. I agree with that whole heartedly.
I would much rather see the Sabres build a team through the draft. Reason being, Buffalo can put together a team that hopefully, can remain in tact for several years. If Buffalo tries to do the “rent-a-player” and free agency tactics, it could seriously backfire. By drafting, Buffalo can really try to put together a team that will compete year in, year out.
There’s one huge risk with this for normal teams. Several for the Buffalo Sabres.
No one, repeat, no one, can predict how draft picks are going to play in the NHL. Example; Mikhail Grigorenko. Granted, in Buffalo the hype was excruciating. However, I don’t think anyone can say that he’s lived up to expectations thus far. Very rarely does a Sidney Crosby, or Alexander Ovechkin come along where it’s a no brainer and pretty much guaranteed that they can come in and change the face of a franchise.
When making draft picks, a lot of things need to come into consideration which I feel the Sabres often neglect. I have my own theories on building a team. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it’s not a question of the best player on the board, it’s a question of the best player for your team on the board. Which leads me to the Buffalo Sabres.
I looked up the past first round draft picks for the Buffalo Sabres, mainly focusing on, yup, you guessed it, Darcy Regier’s draft picks (you should have seen this coming).
How about we just go from 2000 to the present?
2000- Artem Kriukov
2001- Jiri Novotny
2002- Dan Paille, Keith Ballard
2003- Thomas Vanek
2004- Drew Stafford
2005- Marek Zagrapan
2006- Dennis Persson
2008- Tyler Ennis, Tyler Myers
2009- Zack Kassian
2010- Mark Pysyk
2011- Joel Armia
2012- Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons
2013- Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov
Let’s see, I count 1 who actually worked out for the Buffalo Sabres (Vanek), some who the jury is still out on (Zadorov, Ristolainen, Armia, Pysyk), some whose heads people are calling for, (Stafford, Myers at times), and some who just flat out failed (Kriukov, Zagrapan, Kassian).
Now, none of these draft picks above (Vanek excluded) really have set the world on fire.
My point? Every pick on that list is a gamble. I’m fine with that. At this point, not a lot of them have really played out in favor of the Buffalo Sabres. The only one right now that I see a ton of promise for is Girgensons when looking at the picks from the last 3-4 years.
Which brings me back to the concept of building a Stanley Cup Champion through the draft. Can’t we argue that Darcy has been trying to do this for years? Yes, every pick brings a risk. Every free agent signing is a gamble. However, when do we get to the point where the powers at be can admit that maybe, just maybe, Darcy doesn’t know what he’s doing? Yes, certain picks fizzle, get hurt, etc. However, after 16 years of several failed moves and drafts, when do you stop saying that luck isn’t on your side, and that the man making the picks is the problem? A new GM is going to have the same issues. However, at least then there will be a different method (hopefully) to getting this team rebuilt.
The past is a great indicator of the future. I think we can all agree on that. However, at this point in time, we have 16 years of failed results from Darcy Regier. It’s not even that we have 3-4 years of this. I could deal with Darcy if say, he’d won a championship or two over the past 16 years and proved he can do it.
But he hasn’t.
The concept of building this team up through the draft is a great one. I really truly like it. Great idea and I’m willing to suffer for this if that’s the plan.
The concept of Darcy Regier building this team through the draft is a horrid one.
And there’s 16 years of proof to back it up.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB I live chat during the games unless I’m stuck at work or at an Amerks game. I’m always up for chatting about Sabres hockey or anything going on in the NHL.
As always, thanks for reading!