I can already see how this Sabres season will play out come April.
As I write this post, the Sabres are 11th place and are 4 points out of the 8th spot. Tyler Myers is coming back and at some point, the beer tent will have old-time players instead of current Sabres nursing a boatload of injuries. Maybe the Sabres get healthy by the end of January. If they can stay within striking distance of the 8th spot, they can go on one of their heroic (Sully’s catchphrase) runs to the 8th spot. I’m sure some media personalities (See: Jeremy White) will talk about just getting in is more than enough. We will start looking at how the Flyers from 2010 went to the Finals as the 8th seed. Same as when the Oilers went to the 2006 Finals. Maybe they will take the Bs or Flyers to the brink of elimination.
Then, after the season ends, Ted/Darcy/Lindy will have a press conference in which they will sell us on how they lost X amount of players to injuries, but when they were healthy, they had the 3rd best record in the Eastern Conference. The higher ups stay put. Some fans may be pissed while others will see their logic. Then July 1st comes and the Sabres sign a free agent. Picture when the Bills kept Jauron after the 2008 season and the outcry from fans, which was silenced once they signed Terrell Owens.
Sorry, but I’m not signing up for that. Been there, done that.
That isn’t exactly my idea of Hockey Heaven. The same old problems that plagued the Sabres have once again reared their ugly heads. They can’t score, they can’t get decent goaltending, they are kind of soft, and they just aren’t really good at anything. If there’s one thing they are consistent at doing, it’s being inconsistent…which leads me to Jason Pominville.
I wasn’t the biggest #29 fan coming into this season. I thought the guy underachieved since being awarded a 5-year, 25-million dollar deal in 2008. At times, I thought Sabres fans tried to find any silver linings to make him out to be this Selke award winning forward. He’s paid to be a goal scorer. He’s paid to be a difference maker. He’s NOT paid to be a role player.
However, this season has been different.
Pominville has been a stud for the Sabres. He has 40 points in 39 games and is ranked 13th in the NHL in scoring. Arguably, you can say he’s playing the best hockey of his career. One would say it’s the power of the “C”. Maybe he’s finally seeing the light.
However, just like telling the future when it comes to seeing the Sabres season play out, #29’s play has a familiar ring to it. Before Roy got hurt last year, people were talking about how he had finally seen the light. How many times did we hear how Roy was ranked in the top 5 in scoring by NHL centers last year? We heard how the years of partying were gone and that he had finally matured. Same goes for Stafford. He finally put down the guitar and wanted to become a hockey player. Go back to 2010 and Ryan Miller. He went from being a follower after the lockout on those great Sabres’ teams to being a leader. Remember when Max and Ales looked to turn the corner after the lockout? Yeah, they turned the corner alright, right off the fricken cliff.
As of today, all three guys (9-30-21) are struggling mightily. All three players’ stocks have gone down. When these guys were hot, you wouldn’t dare think about trading them. Now, would you shed tears if either of them were dealt? I wouldn’t. However, with their value going down, you aren’t going to get much in return.
From what I’ve heard, the Sabres have tried everything to deal Derek Roy and no one is biting on him. Why? Well, listen to The Bulldog on WGR and that should be your answer. It’s hard to believe when you consider that just two years ago, we always heard how Roy was the one chip the Sabres could deal. He was a point a game player and only made 4-million bucks. Now, he’s been playing the worst hockey of his career and you can’t get anywhere close to what he use to be viewed as.
Going back to Pomer, I’ve seen enough of him over the last 5 years to know that his top 15 scoring range won’t last. I mean, what would you put more stock in: Pomer continuing his top 15 scoring or going back to a 20 goal scorer? I’m picking the latter. Hence the reason why you should trade him now before he goes back to being overrated with a 5-million dollar salary. If you deal him while he’s hot, you are going to get more for him than in years past.
It’s time for the Sabres to realize that the core of this team isn’t good enough. I know injuries are a part of the game, but the top six forwards (Who have been healthy for the most part) should be able to elevate whoever plays on the 3rd or 4th lines. I remember in December of 2005, the Sabres lost a lot of players to injury (Sports hernia problems) and yet, guys like Drury held the team together and they didn’t miss a beat. Why? Because the core could make the likes of Mike Ryan and Taylor Pyatt look like decent players. Star players can help elevate others.
It just feels like it’s time for the Sabres to gut the core. Maybe I’m wrong on #29, but I just think you need to find other guys to step up. You aren’t going to get a top 6 guy for Derek Roy anymore. Maybe Regier can work his Robyn Regehr magic (Garbage for someone good), but if he can’t, it’s time for him to not fall in love with his own players when they show that they have turned the corner. Yes, my logic for dealing him comes from being burned by previous guys who we thought turned the corner.
You might think my reasoning is lame, however, so is this team.