Tag Archives: Alexander Sulzer

Thus Ended

The Sabres can no longer make the playoffs, and have one more meaningless game.  In the short term, I was ticked about it last night, but today, not so much.  It was a very difficult season in many ways, with injuries, underachievement, and media sniping.  The highs were really high, and the lows were rock-bottom.  We saw veterans and prospects leave (Gaustad, Gragnani, Kassian) and got a few new contributors (Hodgson, Sulzer).

How do I feel about this season?  I’m disappointed that it won’t be going on to the playoffs, for sure.  There is talent here – and I think the deadline improved that overall – but injuries and some questionable play overrode that.  Next year’s roster won’t be that different, barring trades, as there are already 20 players under contract.  Hecht, Boyes, and the surprising Sulzer are UFAs, with TJ Brennan, Tyler Ennis and Patrick Kaleta as RFAs.  I can’t imagine either Hecht or Boyes being back.  Sulzer is interesting, though.  I’d love to keep him, as he showed some decent skills and kind of took that 6/7 D spot from Weber.  Ennis is a no-brainer, and I imagine Kaleta gets a deal.  That’s 13 forwards, including Marcus Foligno and Corey Tropp.  If Brennan and McNabb start with Rochester, that leaves Regehr, Ehrhoff, Myers, Leopold, Sekera, and Weber as the D pending something with Sulzer.  Of course, Miller/Enroth in the net.

Do I think that’s where we end up?  I do not.  The Pegula era Sabres have already shown they are willing to deal guys to get guys, and we have parts and pieces other teams would covet.  July 1 is going to be interesting.  Buffalo will be a player again, a destination for players who hopefully see the improvements and potential here.

I might post about the draft, and July 1, but expect this space to be fairly quiet in the offseason.  I’m planning on blog maintenance, such as trying different themes, stuff like that.  Might post up about the playoffs if the mood strikes, too.  I’ll still be on Twitter, and please check out my non-hockey gadget/movie/TV/book talk at Honk if you Love Justice.

Feeling Relevant

These were my thoughts as the NHL Trade Deadline coverage got rolling this morning.  Gaustad and Roy had both been involved in the rumors, so no huge surprise when that broke.  The return was surprising, even with the 4th rounder going the other way, but still, we knew he was the sort of guy playoff teams love to add at the deadline.  You know, that intangible-laden 3rd-liner, to win face-offs and ‘battles’ and all that other stuff pundits like to say.  When the official deadline was passing, though, people were disappointed.  “That’s it?” you heard.  Then you started to hear “Vancouver has another deal yet to come”, and then “They’re getting Kassian”.  We all sat up and took notice, and then when we heard Cody Hodgson was the guy coming back…wow.  That’s a great return, giving up Kassian and Gragnani, and getting Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer.  I love these deals.

As I was thinking about these since they went down, I decided this is basically a win-win-win for the teams involved.  Buffalo is a win both for now – Hodgson has more offensive upside than Goose, and is a lot younger – and in the future, getting Nashville’s first rounder next year in addition to the players from Vancouver.  Nashville gets the vet C that teams love for the playoffs, and Vancouver gets a couple of guys that might fit better on their team than ours.  Kassian needs to prove himself in the NHL, and Gragnani might work best for the Canucks where he can just be a power play QB and get the softest minutes otherwise.

I’m genuinely interested in seeing what Hodgson can do for Buffalo.  I’m sorry to see Gaustad go, as I had hopes for him…but it was pretty obvious that what he is now, is all he’ll ever be.  And if you turn Goose and a 4th into a 1st, you do it.  Gragnani was expendable…McNabb, and soon, other D-men in Rochester were pushing him from below, but he couldn’t move up any higher than 7th on the depth chart when everyone is healthy.  And all of this happened without crippling the Sabres’ cap situation any more than it already is.  Good job, Darcy.  Is it Wednesday yet?