The Buffalo Sabres selected Finnish right wing Joel Armia with their first round draft pick (16th overall). Armia is 6’3″ and 18something (depending on the publication you read and believe). He can skate, has great hands, great shot and impressed the Sabres at the WJC’s.
The Fan 960 in Calagary is reporting Robyn Regehr has declined to waive his no trade clause. Speculation now that Regehr will accept a trade, even to Buffalo but wants to see if there are going to be any other offers for him. There are all sorts of rumors of the deal. Some of the more reputable sources like Mike Harrington are reporting the Sabres had Chris Butler and Paul Byron on the table for Regehr and Ales Kotalik.
Darren Dreger on TSN reported that Regehr has NOT waived his NTC.
The other rumor making the rounds at the moment is that the Sabres want to move way up in the first round tonight. Time will tell.
Update 7:46 p.m.
“I can’t waive unless I see options. I had no options, really, other than this deal. There was never anything other than that. It was a yes or no type thing,” said Regehr, who envisioned a dialogue and the ability to work with the Flames to find a deal that worked for both player and team.
That’s still a possibility.
“It’s a huge, important decision. I just wanted to make sure I explore as many options as possible,” said Regehr, who also didn’t rule out the Sabres in the future after having multiple discussions with GM Darcy Regier over the last few days.
“Darcy Regier has been fantastic,” Regehr said.
“We need to explore all our options. It sounds like Buffalo is great … but until we see what’s all out there, we can’t make a real good informed decision that we’re comfortable with.”
I saw two days ago that the Eric Lindros draft at the Aud took place 20 years ago. 20 yearrrrrrrrrrrrs. Seriously, 20? Seems like yesterday where big, fat Eric stood next to an uncomfortable looking Quebec Nordiques GM Pierre Page, and refused to put on the blue fleur-de-lis adorned jersey. Lindros was booed by the crowd at the Aud, and for the only time in Pat Falloon’s lackluster NHL career, he received cheers from the spectators as he donned the new aqua-colored San Jose Sharks jersey.
Drafts come and go, but each leaves a memorable mark, good or bad. Find yourself a copy of the Sabres’ “Decade of Excitement”, the first 10 years of Sabres hockey, and watch Scotty Bowman announce the sage selection of European forward Jiri Dudacek in the first round of the 1981 draft. The video uses the Dudacek selection as an admirable jump into the 1980s. Dudacek became the kind of fodder that Sabres fans today reserve for Artem Kryukov.
Speaking of Kryukov, who could forget Buffalo’s horrid selection of the Konkussion King in the first round of the 2000 entry draft. Artem who? How much beer was being downed the previous night, Messrs. Benning, Luce and Regier? That was a darkhorse’s darkhorse pick. Artem is still fumbling around somewhere in Russia, probably with a placard along the Trans-Siberian railway, “Will play for gruel”.
How about Pierre Turgeon? Buffalo’s horrid 86-87 campaign allowed them to draft first overall in 1987. Quickly, comparisons between Turgeon and Gilbert Perreault took hold in the media. Pierre attempted to quell the excitement some by saying, “I CAN ONLY BE PIERRE, NO CANNOT BE GILBERT!!!” Those words proved true as #77 spent a few decent years with the Sabres before being traded to the NY Islanders in the fall of 1991.
Joel Savage? Brad May? Barely any remembrance there. For some reason I do remember the Sabres drafting David Cooper in the first round of the 1992 draft. Cooper was supposed to be a big, offensive defenseman with great skills, fast skates, a hell of a shot and the next power play quarterback for Buffalo. That didn’t exactly happen.
The Sabres kind of redeemed themselves the following few years with selections like Wayne Primeau, Jay McKee, Marty Biron and Curtis Brown. Then there’s Erik Rasmussen. We’ll conveniently skip that.
And let’s conveniently skip a number of years. Let’s even go beyond the crooked lockout lottery that saw Illuminati favorite Pittsburgh get the first overall pick and draft Sidney Crosby in 2005. Buffalo, playing the role of NHL Court Jester, settled for Marek Zagrapan… no let’s not dwell on that.
How about the awesomeness of the 2008 draft for the Sabres? Already receiving great production from the two Tylers, Myers and Ennis… and possibly contributions from Luke Adam (if he isn’t sent packing today in a trade for Calgary’s Robyn Regehr), that’s three big components on the team in one draft. That harkens back the days of Punch Imlach when he was assembling great talent through the first five drafts in Buffalo’s history.
The Sabres have filled the prospect pipeline quite well over the last few years. Along with the aforementioned Tylers and Adam are Zack Kassian, Marcus Foligno, Jhonas Enroth, Drew Schiestel, Mark Pysyk, Brayden McNabb, T.J. Brennan, Corey Tropp, Kevin Sundher, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Paul Byron… just to name a few. The depth is there. Now it’s time for the Sabres to focus on offense, specifically centers. Who will the Sabres take tonight if they keep the 16th pick? Mark McNeill, Mark Scheifele, Sven Bartschi, Zack Phillips, Boone Jenner? Will they consider Jamie Oleksiak? Go off the board for Rocco Grimaldi? Will the selection turn out to be a Tyler Myers or a David Cooper? Time will tell.
That was my contribution to bad newspaper headlines for the day. Can a man named Darcy convince a man named Robyn to come to Buffalo? The answer to that question should come today. Yesterday the Buffalo Sabres put an undisclosed offer on the table to the Calgary Flames for veteran defense man Robyn Regehr. Regehr has a no trade clause that Calgary has asked him to waive. Regehr decided to sleep on the decision, he’s married and has one kid. By all accounts he loves living “out West” so it’s doubtless a tough decision to uproot himself and his family to come to Buffalo. The working assumption is the decision has to be made before the draft starts if the Sabres’ first round pick is indeed part of the package.
The Sabres’ offer? Rumors fly, as they often do. Some with grounding, many without. So far on the site we have heard the Sabres offered their 1st round pick (16th overall) and Luke Adam. Another package had Mike Weber and a 3rd in this year’s draft going to Calgary. Another has a package of Ennis and Weber, Ennis and a pick, etc. There are also rumors the Sabres would be willing to take former Sabre Cory Sarich should Regehr say no. The deal is in keeping with what we have always said about Regier, he works under the radar. If you hear a rumor of a trade, discount it. 99.9% of the time it’s not going to happen. Regier is one of the few GM’s in the NHL who has the ability to keep his actions secret, leaks generally tend to come from the other end of a potential deal.
If the Sabres do acquire Regehr today it would signal the start of a re-gearing of the defensive corps. Regehr is a former first round draft pick, that type of thing has always seemed to appeal to Regier. Regehr may not be the player he one was but he’s still defensively and physically far better than perhaps every defenseman on the Sabres’ roster with the exception of Tyler Myers. Jordan Leopold and Regehr used to be teammates in Calgary. Regier and the Flames have pulled the trigger on a number of deals in the past: 2000 for Sean McMorrow, 2003 for Chris Drury, draft pick swaps in 2005 as well as another deal for Toni Lydman, more draft pick swaps in 2007. So Calgary is a team Regier is comfortable dealing with and seems to have something of a track record with. Regehr is 31 years old, an age when many NHL defensemen are still in the prime of their career. He has two years left on his current contract at $4.02 million per season. Regehr is very active in Calgary. He donates $75 for every body check he throws to Calgary’s Impact Foundation and is very active with overseas work to help impoverished children. He’s reported to be a very active outdoorsman and to love snowmobiling. Would Buffalo’s winters be too warm for him compared to Calgary?
The Sabres are doing their best to convince Regehr to come to Buffalo. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported yesterday that Regier and Pegula have both called Regehr. Certainly Ted Black’s assertion of “it’s a million little things” will come into play in an attempt to convince Regehr his prospects on the ice are better in Buffalo than in Calgary. Regehr is no stranger to trade rumors or speculation. At this year’s trade deadline he said this about his no trade clause:
“I had to sacrifice certain things to get that. If there’s something I don’t really like, I guess, I wouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of it. That’s something I’ve had to give up certain things for. It’s more of a comfortable feeling to have that. If a team is talking to you about that type of stuff, it might be a good situation to go somewhere else. You never know. It’s a very complex kind of thing and one that I haven’t had to discuss yet.”