There is a big gap between those on HF Boards proposing the Sabres trade Ryan Miller for Jonathon Quick, rumor sites tying different stories together to form conclusions and the men who actually make the deals in the NHL. This post would likely fall somewhere in the middle.
There doesn’t seem to be too many people left who would agree the Sabres are going to fare well with their current roster. Even Bucky Gleason’s most recent column added more fuel to the fire. While he seems to have a direct line to Ted Black (which is indeed a good thing), he did little more than insinuate players who could potentially be moved. The same goes for the columnist covering the Ducks. He made mention that moving Ryan Getzlaf would be a possibility. Never once was a source mentioned regarding any of those players truly being on the block.
Why bring this up? Because these columns are just that. Columns. If they were a report, sort of like those surrounding Kyle Turris, it would be a whole different situation.
It is painfully obvious that something needs to be done to awaken the players in the Buffalo dressing room. A safe bet would be to move at least two out the door for a fresh face. Preferably a fresh face that plays with a little jam.
The players atop the burn list for most Sabres fans will be Drew Stafford and Derek Roy. They certainly have earned their spots. In fact, those who look to the core of this team as the main problem would say these two are the most cancerous in the room. Moving that pair in some way shape or form would be addition by subtraction to most. I can’t say I would disagree, either.
That, of course, raises the question of return. Even one year ago Roy and Stafford would have fetched a pretty penny on the trade market. The same could be said two seasons ago. However, it seems as if Darcy Regier may have spoiled goods on his hands now. That’s not to say they wouldn’t be welcome additions to many teams. However, there isn’t a likely scenario in which Roy and Stafford can be shipped out for a brand new, shiny toy.
As the day when Darcy Regier does indeed make a deal draws near, there are a handful of players who would likely be deemed untouchable and the rest of the roster would be available, at the right price. All things considered, within that group of “touchable” players, there sit a handful that are truly on the chopping block in terms of potential moves. Roy and Stafford certainly top that list.
In addition to Roy and Stafford, Tyler Ennis, Nathan Gerbe, Brad Boyes, Andrej Sekera and Jochen Hecht are all probably amongst the group of trade targets. Considering that list, Joel Armia and Mark Pysyk have to be roped in as high-quality filler to accompany any sort of package. The reason to include Armia and Pysyk is because of their high value (both highly ranked 1st round picks) and the fact that their particular skillset has some depth on this team.
The same goes for Sekera. There is no denying his play this season, it has been great. However, he has a manageable contract and is showing the skill to be a true performer. However, the Sabres have quite a few other quality two-way defenders. Jordan Leopold could easily be swapped in this scenario.
As for Gerbe, Ennis and Roy; all are shifty, skilled forwards who can score. Roy and Gerbe have solid two-way skills and Ennis is electric. They’re also affordable, perhaps the biggest key when considering any trade.
Stafford, Boyes and Hecht all sport hefty cap hits. The UFA status of Boyes and Hecht make them attractive rentals, but offer little else. Stafford’s potential and overall skill level all but negate the $4M hit he carries.
I chose to leave Ryan Miller off my list, only because pulling off any combination of trades in which Miller leaves and a new goalie comes in seems too far-fetched. However, Miller probably isn’t on the protected list at this point.
Considering that there is talent to be had on this roster should encourage Sabres fans. Brian Burke’s recent description of Regier speaking another language regarding trades is disheartening. As is Paul Hamilton noting that many GMs say Regier overvalues his players.
The bottom line remains that the writing is on the wall for a move to be made. While any sort of blockbuster involving Ryan Getzlaf of Paul Stastny is far too unlikely, expect to see Regier to stick to his strengths, move his chess pieces and add a few key cogs. While it may not be a blockbuster, it very well may end up being addition by subtraction.