It's been a slow, rainy summer this year in Buffalo. That mood has seemingly set the tone for the Sabres this off season as well.
On Saturday, the Sabres signed former Colorado Avalanche center Cody McCormick to a one year deal worth 550K. McCormick is a big, brutish center with a knack for battling along the boards. Its another small level signing by General Manager Darcy Regier, but an important mini-step in putting together a playoff contending team this season.
The east is going to be much tougher this year, and the Sabres will need some tougher players to compete. With a group of "bangers" that include Mair, McCormick, Kaleta and Ellis, perhaps we'll be tough enough. Perhaps.
It's looking like Darcy isn't willing to shake up the offense much; no major trades or signings in sight. He's playing the waiting game; he's going for the long term. He's willing to bet the Sabres will be good enough to make the playoffs this year, and is most likely waiting for the right player(s) to become available to bring to Buffalo for a legit cup run. Even if that takes a few seasons, Darcy is willing to sit on the team he has, and play the waiting game.
He's retuning the team a bit here and there to respond to the current environment of the league (see Montador and McCormick signings), but nothing major. Those are the small signings, but they're crucially important. You need a solid base capable of playing every night, fighting along the boards, grinding the other team into submission. Darcy is working on that base right now: Signing the less exciting, but critically important "working man" players.
However, this "solid base" is nothing if your upper echelon of offensive players can't score the big goals and win the big games. I guess the question this season will be this: Are Vanek, Connolly, Roy and Pommers good enough to win the games that need to be won? Are they game changers? Will they put up or shut up when the game is on the line? The answer to that question will reveal whether or not the Sabres make it to the playoffs this season. If not, I see some key roster changes being made next summer.
I guess Darcy believes that our "premium talent" is good enough to take the Sabres where they need to go. We'll see if it works. If Miller or Connolly goes down, this team is in trouble. And if we miss the playoffs again, Darcy will be done and it'll be time for a wholesale, discounted roster fire sale. For the sake of the team, let's hope Darcy knows what he's doing.
Your thoughts on McCormick? Is the Sabres top tier talent good enough? Should Darcy sit on the roster one more year? Leave me some comments.
James Board Banger