Shifts in Strategy

The Sabres have made some moves.  They usually do this time of year, especially since Pegula bought the team.  The theme so far has been to get tougher.  John Scott, a feared fighter (murdersaurus!) who will probably see limited action, was the first signing of FA for Buffalo.  More intriguing is the trade, sending Derek Roy out to Dallas, and getting Steve Ott and Adam Pardy in return.  Pardy is probably just a spare part that had to be tossed into the deal, and at $2 million, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get the Shaone Morrisonn treatment in Rochester.  Buffalo has too many D to find a spot for him here.  I mean, I’d rather have Sulzer as the seventh guy at $725,000.

No, the interesting part of the swap is Roy/Ott.  I’ve defended Roy in the past, but it seems clear his welcome had worn thin with many people.  The team trades away offensive production for ‘grit’ and penalties.  Ott will not be a top 2 center, which leaves a hole to fill if you assume Hodgson is the number 2.  Ennis showed some skills as a C late last year, but it’d be risky to run him out there without a larger sample size to judge him on.  That leaves another trade as an option, and while I know Darcy can find guys that we think aren’t available and make it happen, I just can’t see who it is who is going to fill that role that Roy leaves empty.

The X factor in this is Bobby Ryan.  Not a C, but if you want to replace Roy’s scoring potential, there you go.  Perennially over the 30 goal mark, Ryan could add some punch on the right side, where Stafford has failed to find consistency.  Unfortunately, Derek Roy had been one of the guys mentioned going back as a return, so now you’d be left with figuring out who Anaheim wants in return.  Ennis?  McNabb?  I don’t think we’d be getting off easy here, and many of us fans wouldn’t like what we’d lose.  Alexander Semin?  Somehow I don’t think he would get along with Lindy Ruff, but I wouldn’t fault the team for trying it out, if the cap hit can be managed.

Buffalo is in an interesting spot here.  The old ‘core’ is getting slowly replaced by new guys, with Roy, Campbell, Goose and others out of town.  Can the young guns like Ennis, Gerbe, McNabb and the like step up?  Will there be a stud center on the team due to a trade out of left field?  The Sabres aren’t far out of the playoffs, but there hasn’t yet been a move that says “Yep, they just got closer”.  Big time right now for both Darcy and Lindy.

2 thoughts on “Shifts in Strategy”

  1. I agree. The next few weeks could be the defining moment for Darcy at least on a local level. People who know the landscape and players available (or not) realize there isn’t a top C to just go out and get. There are some solid wingers that many forget arent at Center. But if Darcy can go out and get a top C or at least an bandaid for a first line center until prospects or the player pool is better he will have won over a ton of fans who know the game.

    I just hope it isn’t Semin. If you are looking to stay with character guys at the center slot and add in some production at a winger position I don’t think you bring in someone who is potentially an issue. It better be a proven contrinutor like Bobby Ryan. What you give back in return… well that is Darcy’s huge task. I think he makes the smart move even if that means waiting till trade deadline. It won’t go over wll with fans but I think with some new character this team can do better things than last season. And I hope we don’t get as injured at the least..

    1. That’s what I’m thinking, too. Darcy has made deals for guys we didn’t think were available before, but if that doesn’t happen, the depth will be the issue. Losing even one center that can play would be killer.

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