Suffering- “to undergo or feel pain or distress.” Since Sabres GM Darcy Regier dropped this now infamous line in the offseason the 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres season has been coined the “Season of Suffering”. So far the young season has lived up to that. The Sabres limp into Long Island tonight 0-6-1 tying the franchise record for worst start to a season. They’re the lowest scoring team in the NHL with 7 goals in 7 games and a NHL leading +/- defenseman in Mike Weber who’s a -9. Mikhail Grigorenko is making his second stop to the press box in 7 tonight games and Tyler Myers has showed very little improvement over his awful campaign last year. One has to wonder how many games the Sabres need to lose before someone is out of a job. 10? 15? 20? In reality none of those numbers get main target Darcy Regier canned. Pegula seems oblivious to the obvious while he’s out building hockey arena’s at Penn State and Harbor Center in downtown Buffalo, as his hockey teams continues to crumble under his leadership. By the way I think the Penn State and Harbor Center things are great, but simply making a point of his focus.
Let’s make a shift here because frankly I’m sick of beating the horse of negativity to death on this team. I want to look at a potential positive. Let’s say in my best case scenario Darcy is fired within the first 2 months of the season and a new GM comes in. Don’t hit the “X” at the top of the screen after reading that last line, stay with me. Would you sign up for a season where the Sabres finish in the bottom 3 of the league thus getting a top 3 pick next year in the draft? Thus resulting in the Sabres to select D-man Aaron Ekblad or center Sam Reinhart or forward Michael Dal Colle.
Outside of that the Sabres finally make the long overdue moves of trading Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. Let’s start with Miller. I still think the best match barring injury for a Miller trade is the St. Louis Blues. For arguments sake here’s the deal; 2nd round pick and a player like Jaden Schwartz or Vladimir Tarasenko for Miller. Schwartz and Tarasenko might be a bit much, but I don’t think out of the question. I think Tarasenko would be great on the wing with Grigorenko and that would be my preferred choice. However if he keeps up with the pace he’s started the season the Blues would be crazy to move him. So let’s say the return is a 2nd and Schwartz.
Now let’s move to the Thomas Vanek trade. This is going to be a little tougher than people think. Thought around the league is that Vanek wants to play in Minnesota and Minnesota wants Vanek. In fact Vanek was the initial player the Wild contacted Buffalo about last season before making the Pominville trade. Do the Sabres figure out a way to make a move with the Wild again and make everyone happy? Cap wise I can’t see it working this season with the Wild. They need to clear Heatley’s contract before bringing in Vanek. Unless…..the Sabres take Heater back in a potential deal. Too many maybe’s for me to go down that road. I honestly can’t even think of a potential team right now for Vanek. So let’s go basic here and say you get a 1st and a prospect for Vanek.
So let’s recap, going into the 2014 draft you have two 1st round picks (one being a top 3) and two 2nd round picks. You picked up Jaden Schwartz and another high potential prospect. With their top 3 pick they draft Dal Colle or Reinhart or Ekblad. A new GM is in control and lastly your prospect/youth cupboard is stacked with Girgensons, Pysyk Ristolainen, two 2014 1st round picks, Armia, Zadorov, Grigorenko, McNabb, Hodgson, Foligno, Larsson, Schwartz, and prospect from Vanek trade.
If you’re a Sabres fan do you take one season of “suffering” for the scenario I laid out above or would you rather have a team like last year?