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.
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.