Sabres Trade Rumors: What is change?8
Originally written in February of 2012. Revisit this with us: scroll (or read) to the bottom for today’s (7-25-12) update on this post.
In all things we become acclimated; this is our strength in wartime, and also our weakness. What is a principle, if it alter with circumstance? But what is a man, if he cannot change to meet changed times? And if he can change to meet changed times, is he a man, or several in succession?
Much has been said and read about what Darcy Regier should/could do leading up to and at the deadline. The thing is, is it change for change’s sake? Do we want trades for trades’ sake? Are our players truly mediocre? Should we blow up the “Core?”
Remember: Darcy has built up two “Cores.”
The first, and most wildly disputed, is the offensive core – Gaustad, Roy, etc – you know them all quite well by now. His second core is the one we tend to ignore- the defense.
What are those sayings? “You can never have enough defenseman.” “Defense wins championships.” Regier has built up a solid core of prominent and youthful d-man to aid us over the cusp – should we deal any of them now in a panic? Did we learn nothing of defensive depth in 2005-06?
In “Stanley Cup 101,” I
boldly obviously pointed out what it takes to make a championship team in this NHL. You want to trade Miller? Leopold? Regehr? C’mon folks, lost season or not, we’ve got the offensive firepower*, and when healthy, we have the Big D.
Gaustad is currently the hot name on the “rumor charts.” Whatevs. If the Sabres deal, it should be prospects and picks for big, mean bodies. Funny thing is, that is what Goose is: a big, mean, defensive forward who controls the ice. He embodies our system, and backing him up is a Legion of defensemen.
Tell me I’m wrong. Or, call for the gutting of our core – which, as Gaustad shows us, is not centered around a #1 center. It’s all about the D.
Sometimes the gutsiest call at the deadline storm is holding fast.
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Or we can adopt change for change’s sake, and become an isolate team, inconsistent, that misses the playoffs year after year, drafts high(er), and fails again. Season after season, and several in succession. Is that what we want?
We all want some modicum of success – but ask yourself – what’s your price, and what will it cost Us?
A lot of people get impatient with the pace of change.
-James Levine (American Musician).
*Goals for: 5th overall in the NHL in 05-06, 1st (of course) in 06-07, 4th in 07-08, 12th in 08-09, 10th in 09-10, 9th in 10-11, 25th! in 11-12. Do you make a deal now to fix this hiccup of the “Core?” Or is patience going to be the best reward? I say, stay. Stay the cause, the “System,” and conquer. Even from where we stand in the standings, we can do this now, and next year.
(All that being said, get Roy out of town. The #Roydazzler ain’t never gonna win anybody a Cup. (Or we can keep him, and he can prove me wrong.)
You wanted change, you got it.
Maybe it was not so surprising that Gaustad was dealt at the deadline. Beyond any “trade rumors” that had surfaced, he had played to his ceiling here in Buffalo. Goose: great guy, and a faceoff wizard. What was surprising was Darcy Regier getting a 1st round pick in return for a faceoff specialist. Darcy: sneaky guy, trade wizard.
I wrote in the original post here that losing Goose’s toughness would be a mistake – he was a “big, mean, defensive forward who controlas the ice.” Moving him would seem to be counterintuitive to the Sabres direction of becoming bigger and meaner, only Regier was able to use the 1st rounder return to snag Zemgus Girgensons in the draft. Girgensons is big, mean(er), and is going to bring a great defensive game to the FNC. Meanwhile, he will also score goals.
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The Sabres added plenty of other big bodies through the UFA process this summer, but the upgrade of Girgensons over Gaustad is change I can live with – a long term upgrade to a position of need.
As for Roy, well, he’s out. Steve Ott is in. What the Sabres lost in Roy’s offensive production will not be matched by Ott, but he will put up enough points while he tandems with Pat Kaleta to be a part of what has suddenly become one of the scarier 3rd lines in the Northeast. I’m looking forward to seeing how many powerplays these two guys earn the blue and gold this coming season. That will help balance out some of that lost Roy offense, but frankly, a healthy Ennis will do the same. Add in the talents of Grigorenko at the draft, and we’ve got another long term upgrade to a position of need. The Sabres are tougher with Ott, and more talented with Grigorenko and Ennis (and let’s not forget Hodgson).
So what’s next?
The Sabres certainly stuck to my hopeful approach by keeping their locker rooms in Buffalo and Rochester overflowing with defensemen. Hell, they added even more in UFA.
This is not to say that all of our guys on the blueline are going to still be here for game 1 of 82. This depth gives Regier two major advantages:
- Depth of defense, as detailed above, is so very important along the long 82 game schedule and into the playoffs.
- Increased clout in the trade market.
The Sabres did not land a blockbuster UFA, but that might be by design – the best leverage Regier has is in the trade market. Besides not having to overpay (and convince) an UFA to come to Buffalo, the Sabres can move assets for assets. Buffalo has 10 (John Scott can play defense) bodies competing for spots on the roster. Add in just two prospects – Pysyk and McNabb, and that’s enough bodies for two NHL rosters.
There are some great players, both at the veteran and prospect stages of their careers, that give the Sabres a lot of power in the trade market. It would make a lot of sense to use some pieces of this stockpile to improve the team elsewhere.
And there’s no rush. October is a long way away.
Meanwhile, our change so far is no change away from the Sabres’ short and long term plans. They’re becoming bigger, meaner, and increasing the talent level at both ends of the rink. Credit where credit is due: nothing has happened simply for the sake of change. No one has panicked at the FNC. The Sabres have continued to build patiently, as promised.
We’ll see what the rest of the offseason delivers, if anything.
So far, this is change I can live with.