As of November 12, 2010 the Buffalo Sabres sit with a 5–9–3 record after 17 games, or just over 20 percent of the season schedule. This puts the team ranked 26 out of 30 league wide. It is equally disturbing conference wise as they sit at 12 out of 15. Not the start to their season the organization had envisioned, we are all sure of this.
It is on the aforementioned information that we get a clearer picture of not only the needs this team has, but also the ability of management to fill those needs. Questions to be asked and answered are merely a few, let’s take a look at the options and potential most likely answers, starting with Darcy Regier and his track record.
Identifying Our Needs and Reviewing Our Potential Commodities
There are rumors of Regier speaking with the likes of Calgary, Los Angeles and even Anaheim, but before we dive into what the possibilities are, a quick review of identifying the teams needs combined with what assets will truly be available need to be addressed.
Abundantly clear this far into this fiasco of a season the glaring holes in this roster are there for all too bare witness too. Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek need a true big bodied with scoring touch Right Winger to complete them. Although Roy and Vanek have played well with youngster Tyler Ennis, the lack of size on that line is very evident along the half walls and down low along the boards as they struggle to maintain puck control.
Another position is the scoring line second center position. No one is doubting Tim Connolly isn’t a 65 point a season player (when he shows up), but since we’ve targeted Connolly as one of the assets to move, it too, will need to be addressed.
Luke Adam brought in from Portland (I wouldn’t want to bring Luke up until next season)? Jochen Hecht at Center (where, for the past two games he has played as the regular) or another, yet unknown commodity at that position?
Tim Connolly, Drew Stafford and one of the young defensemen (Chris Butler, Andrej Sekera or Mike Weber) are the obvious choices. I do not believe the following list of youth are to be dealt, in effect, labeling them “untouchables.” Luke Adam (C), Tyler Ennis (LW), Zack Kassian (RW) and Jhonas Enroth (G).
Given the past track record of Darcy Regier and his mantra of “build from within,” a large trade or a trade of high-end caliber players seems unlikely.
Now that we have identified some viable needs, some commodities to utilize to fulfill those needs, we can discuss which way Regier will most likely go. At this point and time in the season, this one question must be answered before the Sabres can move forward.
Trade for the “Win Now” Mode or Trade for the “Build for the Future” Mentality?
I firmly believe given Regier’s track record that this team is in the “build for the future” mentality. I cannot see Regier squandering assets like he has in the past (see Briere and Drury). He has learned that lesson the hard way. We must look at this objectionably with eye toward the next two to three seasons.
Draft picks or prospects will be deals to be made. These deals will most likely come at the trade deadline given the effect it has on maximizing a return value on a trade. The Sabres are sure to be sellers, and as such could greatly benefit from moving Connolly, Stafford, 1 of the young defensemen and perhaps another roster player.
Connolly could fetch a second and third round draft pick at the deadline. Stafford could fetch a second rounder on his own, but packaged together with one of the young defensemen, could very well garner a 25 to 30 spot first rounder.
Teams in the hunt will pay handsomely for what they want. Regier merely has to make it happen. By garnering draft picks Regier solidifies the future of the club in youth. Parallel to this course of action, prospects may be considered as well. Either way, it reduces stress on the salary cap situation and allows for future development and a run at a championship in a mere couple of seasons.
Conversely, Regier could opt to choose for the “Win Now” mode. In which case, a secondary scoring trade will not help this club. He would need to go big or go home. In that case, any number of players may fit the bill, but, no team is going to give up one of their primary assets this early in the season without a hefty price tag attached. Regier has no incentive to “trade the farm” now for an impact player given his job is secure.
Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Jason Pomminville, Tyler Myers, Jordan Leopold and Ryan Miller are here for the duration. If changes are going to come, the decision must be for outside help or, the organization can wait and bring in Luke Adam, Zach Kassian, Mark Mancari and Jhonas Enroth to fill some of the holes for next season.
Upon review of what can be done to save this season combined with known behavioral patterns of General Manager Darcy Regier It is my opinion this organization is going to maintain the “status quo” and become sellers at the trade deadline in an effort to maximize the future success of this club.
So Buffalo Sabres fans. What are your thoughts on the play Darcy Regier is going to make?