Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Many fans were expecting a total fire sale by the Sabres, but we got pretty much what I expected.
Jason Pominville, Robyn Regehr, Jordan Leopold and T.J. Brennan were all sent packing, but Ryan Miller, Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek were not.
Buffalo got a good young goalie and young forward in return as well as a number one pick, four number two picks and two fifth round selections with one of them possibly becoming a fourth. The Sabres gave up a number four.
Pominville took over as captain for Craig Rivet. The winger had become very frustrated that he couldn’t get this team to play up to its potential. You could see it in his play as this was maybe his worst season, especially defensively. This season Pominville has 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 37 games.
Pominville was a second round pick in the 2001 draft. In his Buffalo career he played 578 games scoring 185 goals with 271 assists. Over 82 games that averages out to 26 goals and 38 assists for 64 points. When he’s on his game he’s an excellent two way player.
In the playoffs he added 12 goals and 16 assists in 45 games including the series winner at Ottawa in overtime while the Sabres were shorthanded.
What all this tells us is what I’ve been harping on for five years, this team’s core was tremendously flawed and it took Darcy Regier way too long to realize it. The players broken up could and I think will do well, especially Pominville and maybe Stafford would too, but good hockey players couldn’t become a good team here in Buffalo.
Pominville was a class guy in Buffalo. He’s a very respectful man and was ALWAYS there to answer each and every question win or lose.
It’s sad it didn’t work here in Buffalo for him, but maybe it will in Minnesota.
I think the Sabres got a very good return for Pominville. Buffalo also traded a fourth round pick to the Wild and got 20 year old winger Johan Larsson, 23 year old goalie Matt Hackett as well as a first and second round pick. I think that is past excellent value. Honestly, I think all the Sabres trades made in the past few weeks have been good value, but the trading will likely include Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller in the summer. Both players have said they aren’t up for a long rebuild and this isn’t going to be fixed overnight.
Regier said after the deadline that he’ll be active in July free agency, but for support players to help youngsters. He also said you need a good foundation if you’re going to win championships and then add to it with free agents. Regier admitted this core group of players he’s defended for five years is not what he thought it was. He admitted they didn’t have to original foundation.
The trades are good, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why Regier is leading this rebuild. Once you try to build a team and miscalculate by this much, you normally don’t get a chance to rebuild it again.