Let me preface all this with: I don’t think anyone will do an offer sheet on Stamkos, least of all the Buffalo Sabres. I don’t think there’s an amount of money you could offer that would get him, no way Tampa let’s him go now that they finally seem ready to stay competitive again.
That being said, the talk of Stamkos has gotten me thinking about Vanek and the Sabres. There are two questions I’d like to put to you fine people:
1. Would Steven Stamkos score 50 goals as a member of the Sabres?
2. Will Thomas Vanek ever score 50 goals as a member of the Sabres?
This is assuming Lindy Ruff is still coach, also. For number one, I am thinking no, probably not. He’d be a 40 goal guy, for sure, but I just don’t see Lindy Ruff using him in ways that would lead to 50+. Would Ruff double-shift him? Put him out for a whole power play? Stamkos averages a full minute more of PP ice time than any Sabre – and that was Derek Roy. Vanek was next at 3:15 per game. You could look at it like this: the Lightning had about 1 minute more per game of power play time, and Stamkos was always on the ice for it. No, the ‘system’ wouldn’t have that happening. Not that I think that’s completely bad – the system works when the parts are competent – but it’s enough that Stamkos would not eclipse the 50 goal mark. He’d get the same grief Vanek got after signing his big offer sheet at that point, “we signed this guy and he’s not scoring???” even though it also wouldn’t be his fault.
That brings us to question number 2. I personally don’t think Vanek will ever break 50 goals, for much the same reasons as above. Though I’d be interested to see him back with a true playmaking center now, with another working line of actual scoring to keep the pressure off. Even with that, I think Lindy’s preference is to keep things more balanced, so Vanek would have to go OFF (think Stafford hat tricks last year with his normal tip-ins and deflections). Don’t see it happening.
Don’t agree? Comment away…let’s kill off some of this ‘no Sabres hockey’ time.