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Sabres Trade Deadline Buzz

Posted By William Brouillette On Mar 3 2010 @ 2:18 pm In Buffalo Sabres | 1 Comment

Monty Hall Says Let’s Make A Deal!

Or not. If you believe everything you are reading in all the Buffalo papers or hearing from the various experts, Darcy Regier will be doing nothing at the deadline.
He has stated on the local radio show and in the papers that the asking price is too high, and when you combine that with so few teams selling, it means the thinned down list of options are way too expensive.
Is Darcy playing Texas Hold ‘Em with the media? You bet.
He always does. Getting even a whisper of a potential trade out of the Sabres front office under Darcy is like trying to master alchemy.
It’s safe to say that any rumor out there is almost assuredly false. Not that the players mentioned are not thought highly of by Darcy and Lindy, as they are, but look for a player(s) that almost nobody is talking about to be targeted.

All of the players listed below have been linked to the Sabres by via an assortment of rumors :

Scott Hartnell ($4.2M thru 2012-13), Dustin Penner ($4.25M thru 2011-12), Stephen Weiss ($3.1M thru 2012-13), Nathan Horton ($4M thru 2012-13), Patrick O’Sullivan ($2.925M thru 2010-11)

You also have Ray Whitney, Joe Corvo, Tomas Kaberle, & Dan Hamhuis.
It is no secret the Sabres have been missing a Power Play QB since Brian Campbell exited stage left.
They also would like to bolster their scoring upfront in the worst way.
As currently constructed, the Sabres are a 3 line team full of 2nd tier players. Their forwards are all ancillary players. Excellent supporting players, but not carry the load types.
What the team badly needs are 2 forwards that are stat producers. Guys that always put up numbers and can be counted on to contribute in every key area of the game, every night.
You would think the chances of getting that kind of player are very slim at the trade deadline, and you would be right, but Darcy and the management is ready to deal 2 key players that they previously thought untouchable : Derek Roy & Drew Stafford.
Both Darcy and Lindy have tired of Drew Stafford’s often spot on impersonation of Casper the Ghost, where he plays the role of the invisible man. He should be progressing nicely into the role of a true power forward, with speed, jam, and finish, but too often he plays on the periphery, and that is no good. There is no secret that Edmonton would love to have him. Ethan Moreau would most likely be along the lines of a return, but is Ethan another one that loves to coast on some nights?
They have also had enough of Derek Roy and his east-west play instead of his prior north-south game that worked so well in past years. If the right deal were to come along, despite Roy’s very cap friendly number, they would deal him, but there is another thought. Getting a quality center would allow Roy to move to the wing, which would free him up from feeling he has to do too much, which is the way Roy has played the past year and a half.

I have a feeling that Buffalo will not add much. Darcy and crew still view this year as the opening act to the main show, which is the next 2 years, where they feel the team will be ready to make a major run.
Also, Darcy feels that this summer is the prime time to steal the 2-3 players (a scoring forward, a playmaking center or a 2 way center, and a PP QB Dman) that team desperately needs as other teams will be in severe cap trouble.
Buffalo has $1.163M in cap space available now, and they have the following salaries coming off their books after this season :

Toni Lydman D ($2.875M), Henrik Tallinder D ($2.562M), Nathan Paetsch D ($850K), Clarke MacArthur F ($1.4M), Mike Grier F ($1.2M), Tim Kennedy F ($850K), Adam Mair F ($758K), Patrick Kaleta F ($522K), Matt Ellis F ($500K), and Patrick Lalime G ($1M)

Let’s say the cap is the same next season at an even $56M.
Buffalo will resign Tim Kennedy & Patrick Kaleta for sure. Let’s say each receives a 10% increase in pay. That would mean each would make $900K & $600K respectively, if they receive increases at all. You can also be sure Buffalo will resign Mike Weber, the ultra physical D man who is more than ready to come up from the AHL where he has played very well this year. His salary will be in the neighborhood of $850K. Tyler Ennis is also ready to make an impact at the Center position. He will get no better playing in the AHL again. He is considered to be a Derek Roy clone with more grit and physical attitude to his game. His salary is $875K.
After adding all of the salaries of who I know will be back and guessing what they will be paid, the Sabres payroll next year will be around $46-47M.
This will leave them around $9-$10M clear of the cap.
They will need a backup goaltender, and a 6th D to fill out who they have signed already for next year (Rivet, Montador, Myers, Butler, & Sekera). They will be a prime position going into the summer to pluck a quality ´╗┐forward, center, and Dman from teams in cap hell.
I know all of you want Darcy and crew to go for it by 3pm today, but the Sabres could really improve their team by being in a position of cap strength this summer.
Does that mean Sabres fans need more patience? I can feel the cringes from here at that thought.

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