Draft Day 1 Done

By Chris

The first round of the NHL Draft is over and Derek Roy and Tim Connolly are still Buffalo Sabres. I’m sure a lot of fans are upset by it, but really, there’s no reason to be up in arms.

There weren’t many trades made on Friday night and there were very few deals that included any real roster players. For good or bad, we know how general manager Darcy Regier operates at this point and if there isn’t a deal he likes, he’s not going to make it.

Maybe he is a bit too cautious. He can’t afford to really miss in the draft, however, when the franchise is constructed to heavily rely on producing NHL-caliber players from it.

If the Sabres don’t draft well, the entire organization is in trouble since they don’t spend money on big name free agents. And in the trade business, it helps to have a nice stockpile of prospects that can be moved to upgrade your roster.

So, predictably, Regier stayed pat. Don’t freak out, though. There’s still a lot of time to tweak the roster and possibly ship out of of those aforementioned centers. The Stanley Cup isn’t won on the first day of the draft.

Remember, it’s not about “Do Something, Darcy.” Change for change sake is not a healthy way to run an organization. Change to alter the culture or improve the talent on the ice is very much welcome and, in fact, encouraged. I don’t want to sound like a Spike Lee movie trailer, but it’s about “Do The Right Thing, Darcy.”

But with his job basically on the line this season, maybe he should be a little bit more ballsy and take an uncharacteristic risk. Let me be clear that I don’t want him to jeopardize the future by trading away the farm for what could be considered a quick fix. I’d just like to see him be a little more aggressive and proactive than we’re used to. Maybe even leak some stuff to the press for once to make it sound like you’re trying.

That, however, is all probably wishful thinking and nothing more. I’m pretty sure I’m just setting myself up to not be disappointed when Regier comes out in a press conference on July 12 and explains to the media why he hasn’t made any trades. It would probably sound something like this:

The market is not as strong as we had hoped. With the free agent class being weaker than it has been in previous years, a lot of clubs are hesitant to part with their assets. Even teams that are up against the cap haven’t been willing to make a trade. There really wasn’t a deal out there to be made that made sense to us in the long- or short-term. Of course we’ll continue to explore our options but there really isn’t much going on league-wide.

Scary, huh?

Regier did decide to keep the 23rd overall pick in the draft and used it on defenseman Mark Pysyk (I’m tempted to call him Myrk and substitute every vowel in his name with a “Y”). He likes “FIFA ’10,” “Dumb and Dumber” and his favorite website is Google. I’m a fan already (although his favorite TV show is “Friends.” Not sure I can support him on that one).

The 6-foot-1, 174-pound 18-year-old from Alberta was ranked 15th overall on the Globe and Mail’s composite big board. NHL.com had him ranked seventh overall. A broken foot allowed him to drop down to 23 and by the time he’s ready to play in Buffalo, those broken bones will be long forgotten.

It sounds like the front office really wanted Ryan Sheahan, who was selected by the Detroit Red Wings 21st overall. If they really did want him, then they should have done something about it and moved up. That said, they did get a really nice prospect in Pysyk and as we’ve seen in recent years, you can never have too many good defensemen in the system — especially ones that shoot right.

It’s tough to criticize a late first round pick in the hours after the selection. You can never really know how any of these players will turn out, so you simply have to hope for the best. And the best case scenario has Pysyk skating next to Tyler Myers for the next 10 years.

And this is a topic for a separate post, but isn’t awesome to have a player like Myers that your team can actually build around? I don’t want to get into hyperbole considering he’s only played one year in the league, but Myers could be the Sabres’ Nicklas Lidstrom. It’s an incredibly high ceiling to reach, I know (Lidstrom is a sure-fire Hall of Famer and possibly the best player year-in-and-year-out of the last 12 years), but Myers could quite possibly be that good.

The Sabres have eight picks on the second day of the draft, starting with three in the third round. It’s possible they could use some of those to sweeten a package deal, perhaps for Tomas Kaberle or Jeff Carter (or both — why not dream big?). Those are two players I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing in blue and gold.

We’ll see how things shake out. Hopefully the other general managers in the league get busy because we know it’s not like Regier to cast the first stone.


  1. ScottyMCSSProSportsDaily

    Please help me.

    I have never had so much trouble wrapping my brain around a draft selection. I know Myrk is a can’t miss defenseman, a right handed shot, and has no flaws to his game, which is great…

    …but how on earth do the Sabres pass on Emerson Etem?

    Reiger did as promised by selecting the “best on the board” at the 23rd pick. That being said, ISS’s final rankings had Pysyk at 17 overall, and Etem at 18.

    Etem is projected to now be a potential future face of the franchise for the Mighty Ducks. He’s a big centerman who plays all out, has blazing speed, and scores so much that burns out the red lamp. This is exactly the type of forward Buffalo so desperately needs in its system.

    I like Pysyk. But over Etem? I just don’t get it.

    I compiled all the information I could find on Pysyk and posted it all together ( http://www.prosportsdaily.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13814996#post13814996 ) and he looks like a great pick – but over Etem?

    Again, please help.

    Or, perhaps on day two of the draft the Sabres will select a center to fit the bill. If they can maneuver into the beginning of the 2nd round, they can snatch up John McFarland. Then I suppose this pick would make sense.

    But right now, this pyck dysn’t myke any synse to me.

  2. Is anyone else feeling the urge to nickname him Lynyrd Skynyrd?

    Just me then? Okay.

  3. NoUseForANickname

    While scoring was their downfall this year in the playoffs, let’s not forget that the blueline had been the weak part of the team for years – going back to when they lost to Carolina. I think they had two guys who were bricklayers at the start of the year as the third pair (*if only* Montador was around back when…we’d of finished Carolina and crushed the Oilers). With Ryan Miller between the pipes, building out from the crease and adding another [hopefully] top 2/4 defenseman in a year or two makes a lot of sense to me. Just because teams haven’t been winning with defense first in the last decade doesn’t mean that the scale can’t be tipped back…and we all better hope it can since RM is earning (rightly so, don’t get me wrong) a fifth of the salary cap or something like that.

    Lastly, this guy has a great name for all the bloggers and commenters out there – one of those intangibles that really means something (see: the big pavelski or Mike Commodore’s fro)

  4. Ogre39666

    From everything I’ve heard, Etem is just more of what we already have; namely a smallish, speedy guy who’s not quite a top-tier scorer. The only reason I think he’s being described as a “potential future face of the franchise” is because he’s a south California native on a semi-rebuilding Anaheim team (and they’re just the Ducks now, btw).
    Pysyk, if he can get over what seems to be a bit of an injury bug and some physical issues, could be a valuable puck mover who’s not a big liability in his own end – something that we don’t have too much of after Myers.

  5. I always defer to Kris Baker of http://www.sabresprospects.com when it comes to in-depth prospect talk. He was at the draft and here’s his Tweet-take on Pytyk over Etem:

    “I asked an #NHL scout why he believes Etem fell to the end of the 1st. Playoff performance and not-so physical nature likely contributed.”

    “If you look at Pysyk vs Etem, the #Sabres made the decision to get a guy more likely to succeed. Excellent all around skills and smarts.”

    “I still like Etem based on reg season viewings, but I get the logic of taking a skilled RHD who thinks the game well. I’m more than ok w/ it”