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The Sabres Observer

Don’t Confuse Sabres Depth With A Logjam

“The Sabres have a logjam on their defense position.” - WIVB.com

“I would say [AHL Rochester] is [Ales Kotalik’s] likely destination based on the logjam Buffalo has on the wing.” - 2InTheBox blog

“I saw [Steve Sullivan] was a pending UFA…but we have a serious logjam at wing” - DieByTheBlade.com reader willgarr15

The Sabres signed another piece of their potential Stanley Cup puzzle Tuesday in Andrej Sekera, which means that once again we were fed an unhealthy dose of local media and fan pondering over how to deal with Buffalo’s alleged oversupply of good players and its inevitable sentencing to salary cap jail.

Not to seem cranky after watching my favorite team commit $11M over four years to a guy who right now is a third pair defenseman on this team, but aren’t some of you folks the same Sabres fans and writers who seemingly yesterday were whining about the lack of depth on this club?

For starters, Buffalo is not in a salary cap crisis.  Once they get Jhonas Enroth and Marc-Andre Gragnani under contract, they’ll have until the first game of the regular season to cut around $4M from the payroll.  Even if Darcy Regier doesn’t see a trade offer he likes from now until then, that’s a long period of time for nobody to get injured.

And contrary to what you’ve been told repeatedly, the Sabres do not have too many bodies.  I’d go so far as to submit that statement as fact and not opinion.  Take a look at the roster today and you’ll notice there are 23 players, which coincidentally is how many you want on your hockey team.  If and when you send Ales Kotalik and Shaone Morrisonn to the AHL to clear up necessary cap space, how much oversupply will you have then? 

I have to admit I roll my eyes every time I see or hear people so willing to ship some good players out of Buffalo while concocting these magical 3-for-1 deals to clear up this so-called roster logjam.  I want a top line center just as much as the next Sabres fan, but I don’t want to gut the top half of my roster to do it.

I’m thrilled with the quantity of talent on this team.  And with all due respect to a great character guy like Matt Ellis, let’s not make him out to be more than he is.  I don’t want to trade a second-line forward or top-six defenseman so that he can play 82 games.

And besides, would the Sabres having 13 quality forwards and 8 good defensemen really be a problem?  I thought we were trying to become a stalwart model franchise like Detroit, which always seems to have quality talent down to their 23rd guy.  It’s not luck that every player seems to matter on great teams.

The Bruins coming out of 2010 training camp were very high on a youngster named Brad Marchand.  Despite already having plenty of bodies, they found a spot for him on the fourth line to start the season instead of packaging him in a trade because of some twisted mindset that they had too many good players.  I think it worked out for them.

Have we in Buffalo not yet fully adjusted to a championship mentality, where a big part of being the best is derived from keeping all of your good players as opposed to just most of them?

Instead of cleverly constructing trades involving one of Buffalo’s most promising young forwards, or a skilled player who has more 65-point seasons on his resume than Thomas Vanek, you might want to start crossing your fingers hoping that Luke Adam and/or Zack Kassian can set the world on fire during preseason. 

Unless you don’t mind fielding a team with only 21 NHL level players, that is.

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

“Darcy Regier doesn’t see a logjam along the Buffalo blue line, he sees a deep pool of talent…‘I think if you’re going to be successful as a club, you have to have a lot of defensemen and you have to have the depth,’ [Regier said].” - The Buffalo News

“This one hurt. The Buffalo Sabres were only 20 minutes away from reaching the Stanley Cup finals…Alas, the Sabres just didn’t have enough horsepower…Buffalo had been losing defensemen throughout the playoffs…The Sabres had too much inexperience on the blue line, and the Hurricanes rallied to win.” - The Buffalo News Sports, Ink blog


Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink


Evilpens's avatar

umm Pens signed Sullivan on July 1st

Posted by Evilpens on 07/21/11 at 02:15 PM ET

@DaveDavisHockey's avatar

The date of the comment was 6/27.

Posted by @DaveDavisHockey from Buffalo, NY on 07/21/11 at 02:24 PM ET


Interesting read.  I can definitely see Kotalik going to the AHL, but I haven’t read anything about Morrisonn being sent down as well.  That would pretty much solve their Cap issues.

Posted by Aron from Missouri on 07/21/11 at 02:51 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Man, to be a Sabres fan right now would be pretty damn exciting.  Lots of money being pumped into that squad and a great coach stands behind the bench.

I was curious to know how they’d get under the cap without making a trade, thanks for the post Dave.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/21/11 at 02:51 PM ET


My tweet was -
#Sabres tied 5th overall in 5on5 goals in NHL last yr. Stack the D in offseason. AllStar goalie. Hmmmm, I get it. Well played.

I like whwt they are doing. There do seem to be a lot of bodies and high caliber players to be scratched but that won’t be the case someone pulls a groin. I will also say that with the young talent we have who all can’t possibly make the Big Club the Amerks are going to be a hell of a team.

Posted by NeedMoreHockey.com from Buffalo, NY on 07/21/11 at 03:38 PM ET

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

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Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]

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