Derek Roy: Superstar

by Ryan

On Monday, a night where Sidney Crosby scored a hat trick and at least one other sport was played, this was the number one play on Sportscenter:

Now I know what you’re thinking: really? That’s it? No one dunked a basketball on Monday night? Derek Roy was the superhero of the evening?

It was a strange phenomenon, but when Roy scored on Monday no one really got excited. Sure the Sabres scored, but… it was Derek Roy. Now it’s harder to get mad at him because the numbers will probably be there. Sure the puck was lying there because Drew Stafford messed up, and it was really lucky, but in the end it will be another point for the second-highest scorer on the team.

Ugh, Derek Roy. He’s such a frustrating player to watch because he never really seems to get things together. It may be solely based in perception and perception only, but Derek Roy is not a player that gets me all hot and bothered. His style of play doesn’t excite, and I’ve never really been bowled over by his talent in the six years he’s been on the team.

Then there’s the diving, the whining, and the Amber Alert-inducing disappearances that make you wonder just how the racks up points the way he does. Maybe that’s it right there: he is one of the Sabres’ top scorers yet I have no idea how that’s the case. You don’t really see it the way you do with other players, and that makes it hard to really get behind his contract and role on the team.

It may only be perception, but it seems to be a problem a lot of Sabres fans have. When Derek Roy has a bad game, everyone knows it. The crowd groans, Twitter blows up, and the text messages start flying. Take a look at his game log. I can’t think of a time in the last two months when I was truly impressed with his game, but somehow he has five two point performances over that stretch. On a team where scoring is as balanced as ever, Roy is still at the top of the heap.

The problem for me, at least I think it might be the problem, is that Roy is not going to get much better. He’s not going to make “the leap” to the next level, and while he’s a fine hockey player his salary is only going up. His production dropped last season after a notching 81 points in 78 games back in 07-08, and he’s on pace for an even lower total this season.

Still, the Sabres don’t have many options when it comes to big scoring threats. As fans we seem to be stuck with him, and that’s not a comfortable way to root for someone.

But maybe it’s us? Are we too hard on Derek Roy because he will never reach our unnecessary expectations? Do we give other players a pass when we should give Roy that same doubt?

Last year when Thomas Vanek broke his jaw it was Derek Roy who stepped up and took over, if only for a few games. Is that the true Roy we are holding out hope for, or should we just get over ourselves and appreciate the talents of our #2 scorer?

5 Comments

  1. Mark B

    While I think the diving and whining have been curtailed, he’s still just a pretty good player and not a great one. I don’t think he’ll ever be the kind of guy who takes over a game for his team. So that being said, maybe we should just be happy having him as a number two or three center? But that problem is if you plug him in there his 4 mill a year contract no longer sounds like a bargain. He is a connundrum for sure.

  2. Brendan

    My feeling has always been that he is not a detail-oriented player. He’s lazy in a few minor parts of the game (watching him skate off for a line change is infuriating) which is all that is keeping him from being an elite centerman. Faceoffs, line changes, not finishing checks and avoiding tough areas of the ice all conspire to make him a mediocre player who puts up good numbers. Those of us most maddened know that he could be a great player putting up fantastic numbers if he could put it all together. Good post.

    -Brendan

  3. lulu

    Aside from a few minor changes regarding stats, you could substitute “Thomas Vanek” for “Derek Roy” in this post and be right on target as well, in my opinion.

    To add to Brendan’s comment – In Buffalo, we seem to be faced with mediocre players with good stats or good players with shit stats.

  4. Derek Roy’s a punk ass bitch.

    My biggest problem is that I think he has a lot of talent but he just doesn’t seem that interested in using it in full. During the last game Kate and I attended together, there was a point where he suddenly started skating really hard and then stopped and the difference between those few seconds and the rest of his game was SO obvious. He seems content to be a pretty good hockey player. I’d love to download his ability into a player like Gaustad or Grier. They would do some damage with his talent.

    So yeah. It’s not me, it’s him.

  5. wch

    Plays to his contract, no more, no less.

    In a league (and on a team) starved of quality centers, his price tag is reasonable. He simply needs to be compared to other centers, not to other forwards.

    Perhaps the Sabres are propping up Kennedy to light a fire under Roy; we could skate Connolly, Gaustad, Kennedy and Mair (in that order) at center and perhaps bolster our D with a trade. Not perfect, but lots of teams have no #1 center. And some of the ones that do can’t afford to field a team around them.