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Buffalo Sabres could make another draft-day splash

Jun 17, 2012, 5:48 PM EDT

Derek Roy AP

Say what you will about the Buffalo Sabres’ 2011-12 season,* but GM Darcy Regier didn’t totally fall asleep at the wheel. If nothing else, exchanging a couple months worth of Paul Gastaud for a low first-round draft pick from the Nashville Predators shows that he’s got some savvy. Making moves like that opened up interesting possibilities for the Sabres, who have four of the top 44 picks in the 2012 NHL Draft, as John Vogl points out.

Those picks – or merely an interest in making something happen, as they did last year in snatching Robyn Regehr – could come in handy during the draft, which you might argue is the “new” trade deadline.

Washington Capitals GM George McPhee – another guy with a wealth of picks this year – probably hits the nail on the head when he describes the mood among NHL execs around draft time.

“It’s a real busy time for trades and everything else because as we’ve all learned trades are real difficult to make during the season now,” McPhee said. “”It used to be you could call a club and some GMs would say, ‘I’m trying to do this or that,’ but most guys would hold things pretty close to the vest because they didn’t want everyone to know what they were doing with their ammunition. But now most teams say, ‘Listen, I’m deep here or there, and I’m trying to move this for that.’ Guys are much more open about what they want to do, to get the message out to other clubs because this is the time to deal.”

Vogl reminds us that the Sabres’ history of draft-day deals is pretty rich in interesting moves and believes that Derek Roy‘s name might just come up next week.

If the Sabres move Roy or another big name, it wouldn’t be the first time they used draft weekend to significantly alter the roster. Names such as Jochen Hecht, Michael Peca, Tim Connolly, Don Edwards and Tony McKegney have been part of selection meeting swaps. The biggest blockbuster came in 1990, when the Sabres acquired Dale Hawerchuk and a first-round pick from Winnipeg in exchange for Phil Housley, Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and a first-round pick.

The Capitals (11 picks) and Carolina Hurricanes (10) are the only teams that have more picks than Buffalo’s nine. Of course, that could change if the Sabres hand over a few of those selections in another big move.

* – I’d say it was a jarring cautionary tale about summer spending, but that’s just me.

  1. lesbuckets - Jun 17, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    I continue to struggle the logic of moving Roy. He was the best player on the team when he went down to injury at the tailend of the 2011 regular season. Yes, he struggled to get back to where he was all this past season but the injuries were very apparent in his play but not his effort. The healthier he became last year, the higher his output became (including some huge clutch goals during the miracle stretch) as the season progressed, and ended up as one of the best players on the team, although they came up short of making the playoffs. Maybe he isn’t an awesome 1st line Center, but I’ll keep him as a strong number 2, any day. Moving him doesn’t make the Sabres stronger at their area of need, which is Center!!! Am I missing something here???

    • theawesomersfranchise - Jun 17, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      He’s a defensive nightmare who, when isn’t scoring often is a liability. Plenty of coaches wouldn’t want him at any price, the pay-off is non existent unless he is scoring 30 and setting up 40, which is a stretch these days.

  2. broadstbully33 - Jun 17, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    yea and pay dan carcacillo. zenon konapka 4.5 mill each hahahaha what a joke

    • lightingthelampsince88 - Jun 18, 2012 at 8:58 AM

      Or we could’ve locked up Bryzgalov to a $5.7M per. All teams make bad signings, one might even think it’s a bit funny that you trade away your stars and then suddenly win a cup a year later :)

  3. thedavesiknowiknow - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    I could go either of two ways on this: Either a. The ship on moving Derek Roy has sailed in that anyone who would want him only has to wait until next July and prepare a reasonable offer (or) b. Teams have less to fear in picking up a player with a reputation (that any interested G.M. would be aware of) both on and off the ice if it happens to only be for a contract year.

    Either way, I think the Sabres have to lower their expectations on what they’ll get in exchange for Roy: I’m not pretending to know who or what’s been offered, but one would think that after 2 year of pretty public attempts to unload the guy there would have been a decent offer or two out there. The knock on Darcy Regier has always been the “crushes” he develops on his players, and his reluctance to let go of them at the right time. I’m pretty sure this would be another case in point. Roy has been productive in Buffalo, has a more reasonable contract than most of their roster, and there’s never been a shortage of available centers like there is now (as the number of 10 year deals increases). If he’s dealt now, Darcy Regier is going to have to accept that the best offers have probably already came. Frankly, either of the 2 first rd picks the Sabres currently hold probably have a better return at this point. (that said, Roy could always be packaged with the pick)

  4. elemeno89 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    lets not forget the last time buffalo had two first round picks. calder d-man and a pretty talented winger-recently-turned-center. boosting the young talent pool could pay dividends in the future in mid season deadline trades or cheaper cap hits for future seasons allowing more heavier contracts for big name pulls.

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