As I was getting ready to leave my parent’s house, celebrating my dad’s birthday, my phone starts blowing up. I start researching and immediately am greeted by Twitter blowing up with news that Thomas Vanek is no longer a Buffalo Sabre.
Let’s take a look at the actual deal that was made.
Buffalo Sabres send Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders.
New York Islanders send the Buffalo Sabres left winger Matt Moulson, 1st round pick in 2014, and their 2nd round pick in 2015.
Everyone in Buffalo will miss Thomas Vanek. I wish him the best in New York.
Let’s talk Buffalo now.
On paper, I like Matt Moulson’s stats over the past few years. He’s a consistent 30 goal scorer, and will turn 30 on Friday (not exactly planning for the future). Buffalo needs offense and they brought in someone who could, on paper, help them. Yes, I know that in the process Buffalo is trading away one of their top scorers. In theory, they replaced him, to a degree. I don’t think anyone would argue that Moulson is here to replace Vanek, or that he could ever replace Vanek.
My issue is that Matt Moulson’s contract is up at the end of this season. I’d like this a lot better if Buffalo were bringing him in, and he had a longer contract and could be someone that the team builds around. So, this leads me to believe that Buffalo may have another plan in place with this actual move tonight.
This is opinion creeping in and what I would do in this situation.
I can’t imagine that Matt Moulson wants to be in Buffalo. I really can’t. He just went from a team that has the potential to be a playoff team, to dead last in the NHL. Moulson is another forward who, at this point, can draw a lot of attention from other teams. Ted Black said, following the debacle against the Bruins, that the plan was to stockpile draft picks and build the team that way. Moulson can be another player who can do that. I would not be surprised if Moulson is traded in the upcoming months, for more draft picks.
Let’s talk the draft picks.
I don’t view this as something that is going to save Darcy Regier at this point. Anyone can stockpile picks. Personally, I’m kind of rooting against the Islander’s now so that Buffalo’s pick slides up a little more. Right now, Buffalo is seriously looking at the #1 draft pick in 2014. Buffalo can also land a middle pick now, pending on how the Isles do. I would expect another 1st round pick coming to the Sabres when Miller is traded. However, in this fire sale that the Sabres seem to be starting, I want to see some actual prospects coming to Buffalo as well.
What is key now is what Buffalo does preparing for next year. As much as I’m not happy about it, Darcy needs to keep wheeling and dealing. I think the Vanek trade says one thing; no one is safe. That’s exactly how it should be. I expect younger players to be ok, Ristolainen, Girgensons, and Zadorov are about the only one’s that I would consider safe. However, time to move players, and fully commit to this rebuild.
What happens next? Ryan Miller needs to go, and I would say get rid of him in the next 24 hours. Darcy needs to do his best to get this done now. God forbid if Miller gets hurt. If nothing is in place tomorrow night, Rolston needs to put in Jhonas Enroth. It will break my heart to watch Miller go, but that needs to happen. Ryan Miller could use a fresh start, and it also gives Buffalo the opportunity to fully assess Jhonas Enroth and determine if he can be a NHL starter. Plus, Buffalo fans can root for Miller again come the Winter Olympics
At this point in time, only a few players in my book are safe. Jhonas Enroth, Zemgus Girgensons, Nikita Zadorov, Rasmus Ristolainen, and that’s just about it. I would even be open to Grigorenko being moved at this point in time. While it’s going to be painful for awhile watching the Sabres, I’m ok with that as long as the rebuild process is finally getting the attention it needs.
I think that the trade of Thomas Vanek symbolizes that Buffalo is finally fully committing to a true rebuild. Personally, I am more excited for the draft picks than Matt Moulson. I suspect Moulson’s time in Buffalo will probably be short lived. However, I like that Buffalo is finally really starting to make the moves, that should have been made in the off season.
Unfortunately, as part of a rebuild, the current team has to be dismantled. However, that is a good thing at this point in time.
This is a starting point. Expect more moves, and hopefully the Buffalo Sabres will continue to build for the future.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB My chatting will be limited tomorrow just due to it being my dad’s actual birthday. I’m normally on during games, and actually tweeting now following tonights breaking news.
As always, thanks for reading.