Regier’s True Test Begins Now

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Lately, Darcy Regier has become a real hustler with Terry Pegula’s bank roll.

His first test as a GM without financial shackles was to see what he could simply go out and buy.

He flexed some of his classic GM muscle when he stole Robyn Regehr (and a 2nd round pick) from the Calgary Flames. Then the spending began.

He traded for the rights to Christian Ehrhoff, and then signed him to a stay in Hockey Heaven by draining a Swiss bank or two by including a  signing bonus of 8 million dollars (and a further “signing” bonus of $5 million for the 2012-13 season).

butch cassidy and the sundance kid1 300x237 Regiers True Test Begins Now

It's not robbery. It's "cap circumvention." Still, it makes fans look at Regier as one cool outlaw.

Then, he pried Ville Leino out of contention for the Stanley Cup with the Flyers by overpaying the once-center-turned-winger-turned-center-again $4.5 million per year until the 2016-17 season.  That’s a nice reward for a NHLer with a career goal scoring history of 5, 4, 2, and 19. (The wager is that the 19 is the real measure, and he’ll only get better from there. Fair enough – he does have 28 points in 37 playoff games.)

Now, the Pegula Bucks are far from spent, but Darcy has hit the wall known as the NHL salary cap (circa 2004).

MoneyChamber Regiers True Test Begins Now

The fun's over, Darcy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love living in Hockey Heaven, and I know, and have written about, every aspect about it that I hold dear to my hockey heart. But one can’t help but look at these contracts and note that money played a major role in getting two of the aforementioned three here. Perhaps, it was the sole reason.

Pegula and Black are still creating this thing, folks. It is going to take time to convince the NHL world that this Heaven ain’t no hustle – that Heaven is under our feet here in Buffalo (on the ice) as well as over our heads. One look at those silly-rich signing bonuses for Ehrhoff tells us that no one is buying in – yet.

Cashing in? Yes.

With a couple stray RFA’s yet to sign in Marc-Andre Gragnani and Jhonas Enroth, Darcy is already up against the wall. Bank NHL won’t accept any more checks from Hockey Heaven, (so long as the final account is doesn’t go 10% over the cap limit). Fitting these guys in, lawfully and reasonably, is test #2.

From there, it’s all about finishing the job. He has all the tools a GM needs to build a champion, and many would say the Sabres are likely one piece away from that – test #3.

One very, very, elusive piece.

A bona fide #1 center – or at least, a true upgrade or two that make the Sabres a true, dominant contender.

SLAPSHOT Regiers True Test Begins Now

This franchise is not a joke anymore. Time to prove it to the rest of the world.

Pegula did his research, and told us during his first presser that Regier was his man for the job. And boy, what a job it is. Swinging trades and negotiating with agents is one thing, but Regier has to do that with 40 years of broken promises and roster hoaxes on his back. Don’t try and argue that we were close in the 70’s, or the 90’s, or even in that magical 2005-07 run.

This is the first time that the Buffalo Sabres are legitimately a big-market team in a small-market city.

Pegula’s working hard to convince the world that this is where Cups will be won, as is Ted Black. But, in the end, it’s up to Regier to fulfill the promises of Hockey Heaven, and to sign players on the heart-tuggin’, ink-heavy bottom line.

From there, Lindy can enjoy putting the whole shebang together into a Nickel City Championship.

It’s never been done before (apologies, of course, to the AFL, and our beloved Bandits).

If you ever really wanted to know how good a GM Regier really is, well, we’re all about to find out. He’s up against one of the most opportune and yet greatest challenges in Buffalo Sports history.

He’s passed every test, so far.

Now, the real work begins. We’ve been fleeced before. This time, it’s gotta’ be different right? ‘Cuz we’re done with this. Period.

Go get ‘em, Darcy.

Go Sabres.

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3 comments
Jonahan
Jonahan moderator

So glad that we got such a smart owner. He realized the pieces were in place as far as coach and GM, just unleash Regier and let them both do their thing.

You guys are right about balance... that will be needed for the long playoff run. Balance and depth.

kenmehlenbacher
kenmehlenbacher

I imagine given Lindy's constant line tweaking it is better to employ 2 (or 3) number 2 centers as part of the balance. I am fine if they add a good mid scoring 2/3 center. At least the other team wouldn't be able to load up against the 1 line. Could be a matching nightmare for the other teams. Shut down one line, the other two can bite you. Balance baby, balance. As much as I would love the Sabres to roll out a stud player, I think given the financials it is smarter to field a team of parts that you can assemble into different machines given the situation. If bonafide number one gets hurt it can screw a team for a year. if 2B gets hurt, 2A and 2C have an easier time pulling the slack. I think Lindy would have a hard time coaching a team with static number 1 players etc. This lets him coach to his strengths as well.

Sky_Kalkman
Sky_Kalkman

Of course a #1 center would be great and it's obvious the Sabres need another center just to fill a hole. But I wonder if NEEDING a #1 guy is being overplayed. How about "settling" for another guy like Roy -- call him a 1a or a super-2 or a 1.5. Whatever the label, and whether he or Roy actually plays with the first or second line, that would give the team a center who can hold their own with the first line (even if they aren't a net plus there) and a center on the second line who should dominate. I would imagine that kind of player is much easier to find and would be less costly.

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