It looks as though the days of the meek and mild Buffalo Sabres are over. No longer a franchise that doesn’t rock the boat, and skims along as safely as possible, Buffalo made a big splash with the trade acquisition of Robyn Regehr this past weekend.
Regehr gives the Sabres just the kind of shut-down defenseman they have been sorely lacking. His addition is huge for Buffalo and it will show once the season starts. Regehr will quickly become a fan favorite. Buffalo GM Darcy Regier found his bag of “Jedi Mind Tricks” and performed one on Calgary.
The Sabres are now talking about acquiring another veteran defenseman, either through free agency or a trade. Buffalo would have at least three strong components on the blue line with Tyler Myers, Regehr and a possible near-future acquisition. Ryan Miller should be sleeping easier.
Fireworks should be going off on Friday when free agency begins. The Sabres are looking to sign a big name scoring center, which is a surprise to no one. Do they believe that Brad Richards would be a good fit? Will they go in a different direction? Would they possibly make a trade to bring in a first-line center? At the very least, it looks like the Sabres will not be on the sidelines come July 1st.
Buffalo’s draft this past weekend looks quite strong as of now. Things can certainly change over the next 3-4 years but I like a lot of the players they picked. Maybe Joel Armia pans out as a legit scoring threat as a first-line right wing down the road. The Sabres took a couple of promising centers (Dan Catenacci and Colin Jacobs) that were projected to go earlier than where they were selected. I like that they took some chances on players like goalie Nathan Lieuwen in the sixth round and Wisconsin high school center Brad Navin in the seventh round. Both players are a bit on the “boom or bust” side of things, but why not take some chances like that in the later rounds?
The Sabres re-stocked their cabinet for centers with Catenacci, Jacobs and Navin joining Kevin Sundher, Steve Shipley and “sometimes center” Luke Adam. Wouldn’t hurt to add a couple more centers in the 2012 draft.
The Sabres now look to be lacking mostly at left wing among the minor pros and juniors. Marcus Foligno, Jacob Lagace, Riley Boychuk and Cedric Henley make up the LW group. There needs to be an influx of youngsters at that position over the next couple of years.
Buffalo has a strong grouping of prospects. Jhonas Enroth heads up the goaltending part of things… Mark Pysyk, Brayden McNabb, Drew Schiestel, T.J. Brennan and Jerome-Gauthier Leduc highlight the blue liners… Armia, Zack Kassian, Adam, Foligno, Catenacci, Sundher, Jacobs and Corey Tropp head up the forwards. It may not be as talent-rich as some other clubs, but it’s a grouping that has to rank in the top half of the league.