Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Buffalo Sabres season report

by CT

Thirty-four games into the 2010-11 NHL season and the Buffalo Sabres find themselves 6 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Is this a surprise? No. Do they have what it takes to make the show? Probably not.

The blue and gold found themselves in an unusual October slump. I say unusual because the Sabres have something like a .700 win percentage in October since the lockout. They have been struggling ever since. Their offense is a joke, their defense has been slightly above average at best, and the goaltending has, at times, been nothing more than average. We have an average team, playing below-average hockey.

The Hockey News had the Sab-rez finishing 6th. I on the other hand didn't know what to expect. "We have the best goalie in the league" people said. "Myers was the rookie of the year and is a potential Norris trophy candidate" they gleamed. "Vanek will earn his money this year" another fan told me. Yet, as has been the case since 2005-2006, something didn't feel right. It was hard to like this team.

The signing of Jordan Leopold, Shay-on-ee Morrison, and Rob Niedermayer were anything but sexy. Again we were force fed the idea that our "core" was enough to succeed. "Number 1 centers are not available" we were told. Why are things that seem so simple to even the casual fan, made seemingly impossible by Darc and crew? Why are we constantly fed the idea that "there is no one else besides Lindy." Shit, I hope T-Pegs gets this organization and cleans house. If we were to re-sign no UFA's or RFA's our salary cap would be at roughly $36 million. The following are guys in each category with their salary in parentheses:

Tim Connolly ($4.5mil)
Craig Rivet ($3.5mil)
Steve Montador ($1.55mil)
Mike Grier ($1.5mil)
Rob Niedermayer ($1.15mil)
Patrick LaLemon ($600k)

Drew Stafford ($1.9mil),
Andrej Sekera ($1 mil)
Chris But(plug)ler ($850k)

The only guys warranting their current salary or still have some upside/value are Grier and Stafford. Stafford won't need much of a raise and if he goes to arbitration wont get more than $2-3 mil. His production is worth that. Grier, will resign for a low amount and brings intangibles that are hard to come by.

The moral of the story? The Sabres need to clean house to succeed. This team will not win a cup with the current squad and will be lucky to make the top 8 in the Eastern Conference. There aren't a whole lot of free agents worth signing out there so Darc/Quinny need to do this damn thing through the draft and trades. Drop Connolly and others at the deadline or say goodbye to some picks.

Use the cap space to sign a backup goalie that actuall belongs in the league and perhaps is better than 0-4. Get a big name like Semin to build around. Get some 1 or 2 guys that are worth more than their salary. I.E Matt Moulson, Andrew Brunette, Erik Cole, or Justin Williams. GET ZDENO CHARA! Any of these things would be an upgrade. Granted it most likely won't happen overnight, why not? Shitty franchises, have experienced success quickly. See Chicago Blackhawks 07-08 to 09-10. It can happen.

Until we clean house, we will be stuck wondering what would've happened if we had Briere and Drury and got 4 first round picks for Vanek.


  1. blackhawks had a ton of high draft pick talent, sabres would need to tank for 2-3 years to get that top talent in the draft.

    the problem is paying a goalie $6+ mil


  2. You never build around a guy like Semin or any Russian not named Datsyuk. Ovechkin and Malkin are highly skilled offensive powers that hail from the eastern block, but they lack the metal toughness to execute and motivate when faced with adversity. (IE-last years Caps playoff collapse). The Sabres are stuck and won't get any better until they pick in the top-5 of the draft. Being captain-less doesn't help either.

  3. Chris Drury is bad.

  4. Pretty sure Malkin carried the Penguins, when Crosby noshowed in Game 7, pretty sure Malkin was also MVP of that series.

    Pretty sure Federov had a few rings as well.

  5. Euros can't win teams need tough big tough North Americans like the Flyers had in the 90's when they won all their cups.

  6. Steve,
    That's not true. I think Miller is worth right around $6. I think he is overrated, even though he won the Vezina. But he is worth right around 5-6 mil. Brodeur makes 5.2, thats value. However, after that the goalie's are dime-a-dozen. I wont get into every detail but guys like Leighton and Niemi who went to the cup and are making 1-2 mil are rare, diamonds in the rough.

    As far as top level talent, the had Kane and Toews but the only other big names or decent contributors they've gotten in the first or second round, since the '04 draft (cause it basically started over and the Sabres sucked before then too) are Cam Barker and Dave Bolland. Not household names but they helped win a cup so I'll give em credit where credit is due. They did in fact try to pay a goalie $5.6 in Huet. Thing is they bring in guys like Hossa who was proven to go to the show and part ways with losers like Havlat. We've had our chance management has f'd us. And it's hockey, you can get good value with the 15th pick in round 1.

  7. the Sabres are all fags.

  8. uh oh you left out sekera


  9. Derek Roy out for year