So the NHL trade deadline has come and gone and Darcy Reiger has made some more bold moves to get the Sabres over the hump in the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup! Ah not so fast Sabre fans. In typical fashion he unloaded a veteran who was due to be an unrestricted free agent (Gaustad) for Nashville’s 1st round pick this year, ran out of patience with the rookie Kassian and got another rookie in return (albeit one who now becomes the 3rd leading goal scorer on the team the minute he joins them on ice), and moved out another defenseman (Gragnani) who was not able to match the same results he showed late last year and in the playoffs. It looks like change for change sakes. Are we better? I ask better than what?
The real question is how long will Darcy remain the GM? Many of us hope this year is it. He knows how to build a hockey team, just not one that is ever going to win the Cup, which is what many long-time Sabre fans have been looking for since 1970. To be fair, none of the trade deadline moves by anyone was that game changing. The same teams that are the favorites are still going to be the favorites.
As far as losing Gaustad, yeah he was a crowd favorite and a good face-off man but in hockey at some point you better put it in the net. And in that regard he netted 0 when it really mattered, in the playoffs!
Zach Kassian. In today’s NHL you better impress fast. The window to live up to draft predictions is very small. He was promoted as the big winger who could handle himself and contribute on the score sheet. He did neither as well as promised, though some rookies take longer. He looked good for Team Canada in last years World Junior Tournament here in town. Reading some of the press and tweeting coming out of Vancouver they are all exited about getting tougher now that they have big Zach out west. Kinda how we felt at the start of this season!
Marc-Andre Gragnani just wasn’t able to maintain what he had going for him last year. Although in his defense, neither has Stafford, Roy, Miller, Enroth, et al either and they are still here. Again, that’s life in the NHL.
What does it all mean? Not much. We are not making any playoffs this year and even if they squeeze in by a miracle, it’s another one and done in the playoffs like the last two years. I would much rather have not made the playoffs the last two years and be building the team up so that when we made it this year, like everyone thought, we would be a legit contender. But it’s not meant to be with Darcy anymore. Time to get a GM who knows what it takes in todays NHL. I’m personally still waiting for a return to the days when the Knox brothers owned the Sabres and we had Punch and Fred Hunt (who had made the Bisons champions in the AHL) running the show.
Do you realize how close we came to having a Stanley Cup banner in just 5 years from their birth? Within 3 years they made the playoffs and in year 5 they were already playing for the Cup. If not for Bernie Parent making more saves than God in the finals, we already have a major championship in Buffalo, and that was 35 years ago. They built a team made up of what you still need today; big tough defenseman, goal scorers (as in more than 2), solid goaltending, and savvy coaching come playoff time.
I for one am still waiting.
only in Buffalo….