The Sabres have had discussions with the Avalanche to obtain the 1st overall pick.
But you know that already ( #HockeyIQ).
You also know that it’s going to take a lot to make this happen. So is it worth it? Here’s 5 reasons for, and 5 reasons against the Big Deal.
1. Nathan MacKinon is a generational talent. He’s fast, his shot is lethal, and he crashes the boards. We’d love him here. He’s exactly what we need. And he has the kind of talent that Cup contenders build around.
2. Finishing at or around 8th overall has garnered Buffalo a nice bevvy of mid-range prospects. Some have flamed out (Myers immediately comes to mind, though I know we’re all still rooting for him to figure out this game of hockey thing). None have shown the ability to carry a team on their back, or steal a playoff series. Of course, the book is yet to be written on the kids, but we’ve already had a team of mid-level players for a long time. It doesn’t work.
3. The Sabres have the pieces to get the 1st overall now. Besides their deep prospect pool, they have 2 1st rounders and 2 2nd rounders this year. It is a rare opportunity to make this deal without compromising the future. The alternative means to the 1st pick is being terrible for enough seasons to win a playoff lottery. It would seem a no brainer for Regier to use the assets he has stockpiled now.
4. Miller and Vanek still want to be moved. Perhaps one of them would stay to play alongside the insanely talented MacKinnon. (And imagine Vanek’s numbers playing with a bona fide elite talent beside him.)
5. We need this. The team may have to be gutted to make it happen, but the fan base is already gutted. A signature move such as this one could revitalize a fan base mired in mediocrity and zero inspiration. Inspire us, Darcy.
1. It might take too much. The Avalanche need defensemen, and it would be very painful to lose the talents of Pysyk, McNabb, Mackenzie, et al. And remember, our defense is already terrible. Losing too much on the blueline could really set Buffalo back.
2. The Edmonton Example: Edmonton is one of those many teams that has had plenty of top picks and nothing but disaster on the ice to show for it. So far. (Just remember, EDM also tends to rush its prospects into the NHL.)
3. MacKinnon is great – but he isn’t Crosby. It would make more sense to sell the farm for the next best player in the world, if such a deal is ever plausible. Is it too much risk to expect so much out of MacKinnon?
4. Miller and Vanek aren’t gone yet, but they may go into full trade demand mode if they see this type of trade – a true rebuilding transaction. At 32, it makes no sense for Miller to wait around and see if any rebuild, long or short, works out. Vanek’s pure scoring ability cannot be replaced. These are hard sacrifices, but if they may be heading out of town either way, now is the time to move them.
5. I mentioned fans in #5 above, so it’s fair to mention them here, too. No matter how much we want this to happen, can we really stomach losing our top guns? I’m not talking Luke Adam here, folks. I’m talking crowd favs like Marcus Foligno. It’s going to take a lot of blue chips to cash in for MacKinnon. Already gutted, do we have any guts left to endure the losses?
I think it’s easy enough to read between the lines here and see that I am for this trade to go down. You might agree. You might disagree. Ultimately, it’s the job of Darcy Regier to balance all of this (and much more) before he decides to pull the trigger. Either way, let’s hope his decision doesn’t result in a team stuck in between Cup contenders and lottery ticket holders for years to come. We’ve had plenty of years of that already.
Now go out on the Twitters and argue. We’ve only got 16 more days of dreaming left.
next post: Kane to Sabres: “Trade Up”