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Now that Ruff has been fired, the Sabres' next move has to be finding a new general manager because Darcy Regier has done a terrible job managing the team's roster over the last seven years (his tenure as GM began in 1997).
To his credit, he's made some good trades in recent seasons. The Cody Hodgson trade with the Vancouver Canucks has worked out well, getting a first-round pick from the Nashville Predators for third-line center Paul Gaustad was a brilliant move, and acquiring the No. 12 pick in the 2008 draft (Tyler Myers) from the L.A. Kings in exchange for the No. 13 pick and a future third-round pick was also impressive.
However, Regier's free-agent decisions since Terry Pegula took over as team owner in 2011 and increased the team's budget have been awful.
The Sabres have six players with salary-cap hits of $4 million or more next season when the cap ceiling will drop to $64.3 million. Regier also faces the difficult challenge of filling out his roster with quality players for next season when the team has $45 million committed to just 14 players.
When a GM has tons of money to spend in free agency and doesn't make any significant signings that result in star players being added to the roster, it's time for the team to make a change.
Let's recap some of the awful free-agent signings that Regier has made during his tenure as Sabres GM.
|Player ||Contract Details ||Notes
|Ville Leino |
|Six years, $27 million ||Arguably the worst NHL signing of the last three seasons. Leino has 25 points in 71 games for the Sabres, and has battled injuries, too.
|Christian Ehrhoff |
|10 years, $40 million |
|After one great season, the Sabres committed to a one-dimensional D-man in Ehrhoff for a decade. He has started the 2013 season well, but Ehrhoff isn't someone you give a 10-year deal to. He has scored more than 45 points in a season just once.
|Tyler Myers |
|Seven years, $38.5 million ||Since winning the 2010 Calder Trophy, Myers' career has gone downhill. He has 26 points in his last 70 games (2011-12 and 2013 combined). He also has been the most disappointing player in the NHL this season, but still has six years and $29 million left on his contract.
|Cody McCormick |
|Three years, $3.6 million ||The Sabres didn't commit a lot of salary to McCormick, but he has failed to add the combination of toughness and depth scoring that Buffalo expected from him. He was placed on waivers Wednesday (via TSN's Bob McKenzie).
Regier's drafting has also been unimpressive. He has failed to draft any star players with his first- and second-round picks since the 2004-05 lockout. Some of his notable first-round failures include Marek Zagrapan (2005) and Dennis Persson (2006).
In fact, Regier hasn't selected an All-Star player since he chose Thomas Vanek fifth overall in the 2003 draft.
This tweet from Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports helps explain Reiger's lack of success recently:
Regier's lackluster history of free-agent signings and his poor drafting record are two major reasons why Ruff didn't have a team good enough to advance past the first round for five straight seasons.
He must be fired immediately and replaced by someone who will make smarter roster decisions. Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke would be a good candidate for the Sabres' GM job if Regier is fired at any point in the near future.