Are You a Free Agency Expert?

by Ryan

Day one of Free Agency is complete, and the Sabres signed a defenseman. Everything is going according to plan.

A lot of people spent most of yesterday freaking the hell out about free agency. I’m sorry I couldn’t follow you down the path to Sillyville, but at least Bucky Gleason made the trip in my stead. Come on guys, let’s be serious here. I’m not going to bang out another 2000 word opus to Darcy’s approach to the summer, but let’s look at what happened so far:

1) Lydman got a three year deal worth $3 milllion per, and Tallinder got a four year deal worth $13.5 million. I said it earlier, but it’s pretty clear the money was not the issue in re-signing either of those players. The length of the deal was key: the Sabres didn’t want to offer Lydman a third year, and they sure as hell weren’t offering Tallinder four years. So they walked, and good for them.

2) Other teams paid good money for good players. That’s something that tends to happen when free agency opens up.

3) After everyone screamed for Darcy to do something, anything, please! He does. Just about six hours after free agency began, he got a blue liner. But I suppose that won’t do, because there weren’t any good players available six hours into free agency. Just like there aren’t any good players left at all right now, and trades aren’t allowed anymore because the season is starting tomorrow, right? Off season’s over, agreed?

No, no it’s not. Look, I love free agency. It’s fun to see players swap uniforms and seeing the wheels turning inside other organizations is downright fascinating, but I can’t pretend to muster outrage about what’s happened so far. There’s nothing to be outraged about, and you sound silly trying.

First of all, having any sort of major reaction less than 24 hours of free agency is insanity. It’s a complete fabrication made popular by newspaper deadlines and a columnist’s desire to stir the shit. Something has to be in the paper tomorrow morning, so let’s see what our guy has to say about things. The people need reaction!

The problem is that these reactions aren’t even worth linking to because they have no merit. It’s a Mad Gab for manufactured outrage. They need players from Team X. They could have had Player Y. They missed their chance. False. Incorrect. This thing is just getting started, and the summer is very long.

I get the passion, I get wanting to see change, and I’m all for having well-developed thoughts on the issue, but I just don’t have the stomach for nonsense. There are still so many options, so much to still be decided. I’m all for hearing theories and about potential, but crying outrage when things don’t go down right is ridiculous. What’s so outrageous about all this? We’re not used to the drill by now? Here’s what I predicted after the Game Six loss in Boston:

They will lose one UFA defenseman and bring up Weber, re-sign the RFAs and maybe make a mildly surprising UFA pickup. We will complain they didn’t do enough, but once the season starts back up we will be right there.

Other than losing both Hank and Toni, it’s hard to argue against all that coming true so far. We’re hearing Enroth or Lalime are goaltending options, and trade potentials are always there. Still, if the Sabres end up doing very little by October, do we all throw in the towel and start rooting for Ottawa just because they “made a splash” by signing Gonchar?

No. Of course not. I expect more from Darcy and Larry and crew, but I’m not demanding it happens before fireworks hit the sky on Sunday. It’s a very, very long summer; and this whole System thing is nothing new. We know how it’s going to go, and expecting different is something very close to madness if you ask me.

As far as the new kid, my most vivid memory of him is this:

Of course, that leads to this beauty of a postgame press conference by Andy Sutton. I think Andy brings up a good point, something we should all dwell on a bit today. None of us are really experts, are we? How much can we really take away from just a few hours in a market that will be open for weeks and months?

The answer, of course, is not much. Darcy will continue to try wooing free agent talent to Buffalo, and he will tell every GM in the league how super cool they are while asking about RFA rights and who is dating who. Things will get done, but progress may be slow.

I love free agency, but seeing Sabres fans go from zero to crazy in the time it took Marty Biron to sign with the Rangers is alarming. We should know the drill by now. This is supposed to be an orderly march outside of the building, but right now we’re breaking windows with desk chairs and breaking into the vending machines.

I’m all for smashing a window here and there, but let’s at least save the Snickers for August, okay? We’re going to need it.


  1. Mike


  2. I call that video of the Leopold hit “Bobby Franks’ revenge”

  3. Phil

    Well put and bravo!

  4. NoUseForANickname

    I just don’t see how you don’t bring one of these two guys back (especially Hank). Now, I’m not sure what the rest of the defenceman market is like – or what 3.4 mil buys you, but considering that Tallinder is only 31 and made 3.25 last year, a four year deal with a tiny price bump really doesn’t seem like reason to jettison someone.

    Is it just the four year deal? Is that some sort of line in the sand that Darcy doesn’t cross?

  5. Excellent post, even before that fantastic Andy Sutton tie-in. Bravo.

  6. Cody McCormick is back, its a 1 way deal. The days of Adam Mair over with?

  7. Ogre39666

    Love it! Pretty much my thoughts exactly; well done.

  8. Mike in Oregon

    I am a long time Buffalo Sabres fan and get tired of all the kvetching about the management of the team.

    Darcy Regier is probably one of the best judges of the price/value ratio of talent in the league. He did not grossly overpay for Brier, Drury, or Campbell as did the Flyers, Rangers and Blackhawks.

    Buffalo is also one of the best drafting teams in the league. Sabre fans need to settle down and be a little more patient. They after all have both the Calder and Vezina trophy winners on their roster.

    Mike in Oregon

  9. Mike

    What will happen to Mair’s Office?

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