We get closer every day, closer to Deadline Day in a Sabres season that was lost as soon as it started. Buffalo began 0-7, 1-10, 2-14, removing any intrigue about the playoffs in a sport where most teams make it and almost all contend for a berth.
Granted, we're still two calendar flips away -- January to February, February to March -- but February is the shortest month. (I use this "point" with my children to make our March trip to Florida seem closer than it is.) We do have the Olympic diversion this year in hockey, perhaps adding some urgency to trade talks this many weeks ahead of the deadline.
The Sabres, rather famously, have three unrestricted free agents-to-be: Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson, Steve Ott. I expect all of them to be traded, or signed. I doubt new GM Tim Murray keeps any of them past the deadline without a new contract.
I think trading these guys should be pretty easy for Murray, especially the two forwards. There is plenty of precedent in each case of what players comparable to Moulson and Ott command on the trade market. Sure, there would be difference of opinion in which specific players the Sabres might want back, but the kind of package they'd receive is easy to figure out: a relatively high draft pick, a young player with promise, or both.
Miller to me is pretty much the same deal except that he won't be of interest to as many teams as the goal scorer Moulson or the feisty Ott. Murray might be more inclined to take a good offer early on Miller, just so the rare team in the market for a rental goalie doesn't slip away on some five- or six-game winning streak.
It's after these three guys that Murray's challenge gets good.
Building a championship team isn't much more about selling off your best assets as building a dream house is about razing the outdated abode already on the lot. You still need to think up the rest. Carrying that forth one more step, the assets acquired for the UFAs are like money used to spend on the build. But they are not themselves the build.
The Sabres have three second-round picks coming up in both the 2014 and 2015 drafts. That's in Murray's starting hand. Heck, he conceivably could trade Henrik Tallinder for a second-round pick. These picks are nice but they are low-impact. They can be useful on draft day in an effort to move up but on their own they're not likely to land the Sabres important players, especially in what's considered a weaker draft like this year's.
The kind of trade that would impress me is more the opposite of one lowly teams like the Sabres are expected to make. Instead of trading outgoing veterans for youth, trade some of that youth. There are still only 20 roster spots.
Murray needs to ask himself, Who are the players in my organization right now that I can win with? The more important the player, or more highly paid, the more important it is to ask this question and get it right.
Tyler Ennis is interesting to me for this. I'm not crazy about the idea of signing Ennis to a new contract, one that might pay him $4M a year for four years or more. To me, that would tie up a spot for an OK player and would make it tougher for the Sabres to win big. Ennis can't play on a checking or energy-type line. He needs to be Top 6 to be useful, and the Sabres should shoot higher.
Can they trade him? Is there a good team that thinks Tyler Ennis up top is an upgrade? I wonder. I think a trade could work with another lesser team, maybe Calgary, one that could see Ennis as a potential find.
How about all these young defensemen? Mark Pysyk, Brayden McNabb, Tyler Myers, Jake McCabe, Ristolainen and Zadorov ... how many do I need? I have Christian Ehrhoff locked in, and when I'm ready to win I'll probably want one or two veterans that like to stand in front of the net and punch people (thinking Bob Boughner at the moment). If Murray picked one of these guys out and moved him for scoring, or even just to change the makeup of his roster, I'd find that an interesting move. He can afford to do that, just like Darcy Regier could all those years but was perhaps spooked by how thin he got on defense in 2006.
I think Regier worked from negativity. Either Buffalo couldn't afford the top players, or couldn't attract them, but however he felt at a given point it was about what couldn't be accomplished, not what could. I hope Murray, with all the money being spent above and around him, brings a different attitude. There is no reason for Murray to feel beaten down; he just got here, and surely he thinks his owner will do whatever he can for him.
One thing, reflective of the state of the team, is the same as it often was when Darcy was here: Murray can do anything he wants with this bunch and I won't mind.
Why do you let this idiot put his idiocy on here? When are you gonna finally fire this douchebag? He is not well liked. FIRE DUPE!!!
"most teams make it?"
7 out of 16 make it to the playoffs in the eastern conference. Not sure 43% qualifies as "most" but Schopp's the expert
i should have taken medication before i read this .... the most confusing nonsensical article i have read in a long time.
Lots of talk
And you didn't say anything. Murray "beaten down"??? None of us has a clue of what he will do. Your article made no sense nor presented any point.
Can you and Bulldog be traded?
Schopp: Any questions for us? Bulldog: I...I...I...I...you...you....you...
Look up the word myopic, sport, as it applies to you and a ton of Sabres/Buffalo fans.
When anyone is dense enough to even mention Bob Boughner, it screams a complete lack of knowledge about hockey. It is akin to mentioning Rob Ray, Matthew Barnaby, Jason Dawe...what a list of nothings! You want a big stay-at-home defenseman? START with the name Shea Weber. Look at him and get a guy like him! Think Brent Seabrook, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, P.K. Subban. Now, think man; do the Buffalo Sabres have ANYONE like them on their team? Do they have ANYONE like them in the minors? NO and NO again, they do not! Myers is fine as a puck mover. Ehrhoff is fine as a puck mover. The rest including the Russian and Finn inexplicably drafted last year? CAST-OFFS! You want to argue about this? Fine. I forget, what place are the Sabres in again? How bad is their defense? I rest my case.
Move 'em all outta here!!! Start Anew!!!
I'm not a fan of Schopp, but this article was excellent. It's more like my point of thinking...get rid of them all basically. They're all losers. That's why the Sabres are the worst in the business. It's time for some eye opening action by Murray and start bulldozing it starting by moving Miller and going from there. The Ennis experiment should be over as well. Still can't figure out how he avoids press box time. A whole new roster for next season? I sure can handle that. Hope things start getting BUSY now cleaning up this mess made by Regier before the Olympics and after till the trade deadline, BUSIER after the season at the draft, and the BUSIEST at free agency. I'm not into keeping Nolan around either. He has changed. He really has mellowed out. His coaching is no better than Ruffs or Rolstons which is the same boring style, but with more compete which goes no where no matter what. Yes, Murray can do anything he wants with this bunch and I won't mind either, but LET'S GET STARTED NOW...TODAY!!!
Dealing Miller would be a mistake
Miller can play several more years, see Tim Thomas for example. He's an outstanding goalie and only if he demands too much money, would I trade him. The Vanek deal was a mistake, he's red hot for the Islanders right now, and his scoring is sorely missed on the Sabres right now. You can just dump all of your talent and rebuild, you have to keep a few top tiered players. The Sabres are loaded with draft picks, youth in the minors, its time to keep some veterans to round out the roster. I would be keeping Miller.
More non-sense here:
Trade Tallinder for a 2nd round pick???
Yes because most teams want to way overpay for an aging turnover machine #4-5 dman.
Trade Ennis to another lowly team?
Yes because the Sabres don't need scoring.
You really need to just stop thinking mr schopp.
I think the Sabres (assuming Miller shows any signs of being willing to stay in Buffalo) will try and sign him. The market for him is just not very good and they are simply not going to get what he is "worth".
I hope if they do move him it turns out the right thing. I would hate to see Buffalo be the Flyers a few years from now, a team loaded with talent but really lousy goaltending and because of that is still nowhere.
Now we can see he messed every thing up for the die heart fans.Tim the very best deals you can make.Get rid of leino.
This team will be built on Darcy's shoulders.
Regardless of what Murray does, the work done by Darcy will be the foundation for the build - and Darcy did a great job in creating that foundation. Think how much tougher Tim's job would be if he didn't have all those picks and prospects. There was no Girgensons - he'd be playing for another team if it weren't for Darcy's slick maneuvering at the draft. Regardless of what Murray does, he owes position to Darcy's work. That would be a good thing for fans to remember too.
good for miller.
I use to want miller to stay in buffalo. but this team is going to be scrap at the end of the season; which is a good thing. They don't have no real winger who can score or center man or defense man. And any way its not just what the sabres want. its about what miller wants to do. The gm have stated he wants miller. but do miller want the sabres; thats the question? Mr miller has a lot to think about in these up comming days. but if he move on i want be mad because you can bet you will see him in the playoffs. And if anybody deserve it is miller. Hey boy do your thing man; because we ain't gonna be mad at you.
Hey Schlep,If you trade Miller, a world class goalie, who do you get to replace him? Does the fact Miller does not like you have anything to do with it? Is this personal? If we do as you say it will be 5 more years of mediocre hockey, you don't have a clue.
the following things are not interesting
contrived new angle on Sabres trading Ennis. That stupid idea of the day thing. Opening segment of show that you think is your personal open mike set. Forcing Bulldog to fake laugh at terrible jokes. Repeatedly saying something is either interesting or not interesting. Weekdays 3-7 is definitely not interesting
"MOST" teams make the playoffs in hockey?
lol, wow...you must be really mad at math.
Most > Half
Another train of thought...
As for the rest...
You cannot get rid of Myers, Ristolainen or Zadorov...that could form 3/4 of 2 elite, shutdown duos on the blue-line.
Trade Ehrhoff, he might be the most valuable asset they have right now, to be honest. He could bring back the most. He is a minute munching d-man, with a good contract, and he is a leader and a team player. ANY team would want him...and some teams would give up a boatload for him. If Rej Sekera brings in a roster player and a 2nd round pick...imagine what Christian Ehrhoff could bring in?
Just because they accumulate more picks, does not mean those picks have to translate to DRAFT picks...they could flip those picks and bring in proven talent. That is what they need to do...rebuild THE WHOLE ROSTER. Top to bottom.
If they are going to do this...they need to do it right.
Miller is not world class. HE IS AVERAGE. Will the idiots ever get that through their heads? TRADE THE BUM!
I Could Not Help But Laugh
I did what I do most days at 3:00 pm. on tuesday the 28th. I tuned in to the first segment of the afternoon show on wgr and listened to Schopp talk about the idiocy that goes on during media day at the super bowl. He talked about the dumb, meaningless questions asked of the dumb players by the dumb media people and the dumb, meaningless answers they give for the dumb fans that care. Schopp could not emphasize enough how dumb and meaningless the whole media day thing is. Who cares about the questions, Schopp says. Who cares about the answers, Schopp says. Who cares about anything any of these people have to say, Schopp says.... And I agreed 100 % with what Schopp said, and then turned off his show for the same reasons I don't care for media day.
I'm glad Schopp isn't the GM. I enjoy listening to y'all, but some of your articles are questionable. Leave the Faulkner-esque stream of consciousness dialogue to the radio!
The only time Miller has played at an elite level is in Olympic years. Pretty obvious where his priorities lie.
16 out of 30 NHL teams make the playoffs. That is more than half
Done for a While
I am not one of those fans who dissect sports to the nano-atom. I love hockey and go to be entertained. The Sabres are not now, have not been, and will not be entertaining for quite some time to come. I have found Hockey Heaven. Right down I-90 in Erie. 2 premium tix $34, free parking, a 50 goal scorer, a 100 point scorer, the #1 pick next year and 2 regulation losses all season. Same distance from Fredonia. LET'S GO OTTERS!
re: fast facts
Those are some hard words about miller. Ok if he is a bum, why would they choose him to be on the USA team. You don't go get a bum to repersent our country. You get players that you know that going to give their all to win. Now you are trying to say miller don't gives his all. this is not start trek. calm down scotty. Just wait and see how the world love him in the olypmic. then talk.
re:This team will be built on Darcy's shoulders
The idiocy of this comment suggests you are the stupidest human being to ever post a comment to this website. I really don't even know where to begin in verbally abusing your comment. As I said either you are the stupidest person to ever post a comment here or you are Darcy Regier himself.
Don't let reality get in your way
With the Sabres having to spend money to hit the cap floor, all three UFA's are not going to be shown the door. Ott's timing as an UFA is perfect because he will be overpaid but the Sabres almost have to do it. Even you Schopp said this yearsUFA's are weak with the best one being Vanek and he's not coming back. Funny thing is Mike that if a caller came on your show with your nonsense here you would have berated him up and down. A 2nd rd for Hank??
Yes, "most teams make it" ...
Lets see here... 30 teams in league...hmm.. 16 teams make playoffs...hmmm ... That means 53% of teams "make it"
Hey, isn't that most?
You commenters may not like schopp, but at least he can do simple math
Fast Fact is really a pseudonym that Mike Schopp uses to back up his opinions.
Mike Schopp firstly is an entertainer plain and simply... so is his partner THE BULLDOG. I like listening to them, especially when they speak about topics which have nothing to do with the NHL or the NFL. Miller is NOT average. He is the primary reason that the Sabres have won any games this season.
where is marcey?
Crosby and Ovechkin
Crosby and Malkin have teamed up for a whopping one Stanley Cup. Alex Ovechkin has none. How come this is never mentioned when discussing dropping two seasons in order to draft a guy that probably isn't going to be any more of a franchise player than the three mentioned.
Re: This team will be built on Darcy's shoulders.
Hi Darcy...thanks for checking in, but aren't you under a gag order since you got canned?
re; to fast facts
Thank you for clearing that up. Mike if we want to be entertained. We would go see kevin hart perform; And who are you calling an idiot? So thats what you think of us being buffalo fans. No you are the idiot calling miller a bum. that man has done a lot for this city and the sabres. Now stick with what you know; which is nothing. The whiner line is a joke. then you start talking about how your day been like my dog pays more attendion to me than my wife do. Who cares. We are talking about hockey where did that mess come from. Because boy when ever somebody brings up miller. You take a little bobo in your diaper or put your foot in your mouth; where it belongs.
RE: Crosby and Ovechkin
This is your mind on drugs.
re; re:This team will be built on Darcy's shoulders
Yes... UNBELIEVABLE! Stupidity thrives like bacteria in Barfalo. How INTERESTING is that. GO LAGARRETTE BLOUNT!!!
RE: Crosby and Ovechkin
Yes indeed... Lets NOT draft a star! Then we'll MOST certainly win the Cup!! BRILIANT OBSERVATION there GENIOUS!!! Here's a better idea... STOP THE DRUGS!!!
re: This team will be built on Darcy's shoulders.
What A FFKEN IDIOT!!!
Make every effort you can to sign this guy. We have enough young guys and picks ; we are in desperate need of veteran leadership. Miller will help attract other veteran free agents.Buffalo fans deserve a star on their team and Enroth is not a starting goalie. As bad as we are , Ryan Miller gives us a chance every night !
You take the fam to Florida, huh? Ew. I knew you were cheesy.