Brian Campbell is done. The Sabres had their chance to re-sign him and they couldn’t agree on a number. Now they’ll have to wait until the end of the season, whenever that may come form Buffalo.
Today, Campbell announced today that he and his agent have broken off talks with the Sabres and that he would wait to talk again at season’s end. Potentially, it’s very bad news for both the team and its fans. Once he hits free agency, it’s pretty much a given that he signs the biggest contract. And that contract won’t come from Buffalo.
If Campbell walks, the Sabres look like fools again. After the Briere-Drury debacle (well-documented), letting another great player leave for nothing will kill any good will fans still have towards the team.
So if the Sabres have no intention of signing Campbell (which they had the opportunity to do this past off season before he was named to his second All-Star game), whether it’s because they don’t feel he’s worth the money or if they just don’t want him on the team anymore, then there’s only one way to make sure they get something for him.
Trade Brian Campbell.
The Sabres is struggling to say the least. While Brian Campbell may be the best defenseman right now, it’s not saying much compared to the way the rest of the corps is playing.
Henrik Tallinder looks like he’s playing hurt every game and it’s seriously hurting Toni Lydman’s game. Jaro Spacek has been very good while paired with Campbell, but he’s hurt right now. Nathan Paetsch has been underwhelming following a strong rookie campaign. Dmitri Kalinin is a train wreck. Nolan Pratt is doing his job, as a six/seven grinder. And who knows if we’ll ever see Teppo Numminen in a game again?
With the offense struggling even more so at this point (after finishing last season with an average of 3.63 goals for per game, they’re scoring 2.88 goals so far this year), the playoffs are quickly fading out of the picture. Going into Monday night’s games, the Sabres were in 11th place and four points out of the playoffs.
In the midst of a nine-game losing streak, things might actually have to get worse before they get better.
And for the team to make a run, things need to change. Darcy Regier has always been hesitant to make an in-season trade, but bringing in some fresh blood is what the team needs right now.
While it may seem like they’re waving the white flag and telling everyone, “Yes, we’re rebuilding,” they’ll be better off getting a return on good players now rather than let them walk for nothing later. And with Regier’s track record, a trade will virtually guarantee good players coming back in.
So if Campbell gets moved after the All-Star break, the Sabres might as well clean house. Afinogenov, Kalinin, hell maybe Connolly too. Bring in players who Lindy Ruff won’t have to call out while they’re injured and hesitates putting back in the lineup after they’ve been cleared to play.
While that extreme is unlikely to occur, bringing new hungry players in who will buy into Ruff’s message is what the team needs if they want to make the playoffs.
How many times do we all have to listen to Campbell or Jason Pominville or Ryan Miller talk about how the whole team needs to give a better effort? While they’ve played better in the last few games, this team needs finishers and guys who might actually fear getting benched.
Maybe just trading a few guys, or just Campbell will provide a spark for the guys in the locker room to play a little harder.
For now, Campbell just wants to focus on hockey, and with the way the team has been playing, that may be for the best.