The Sabres Observer
As a public service to the attention span impaired, here are some quick hits on the Sabres heading into free agency weekend:
• GM Darcy Regier has stated that the Sabres will be looking to land a center and a defenseman from the unrestricted free agent market. He doesn’t expect much luck with the former and hinted that acquiring an impact center will more likely happen via the trade route.
From the Sabres:
BUFFALO, NY (June 29, 2011) – Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier announced today the Sabres have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with forward Nathan Gerbe.
Gerbe (5’5”, 178 lbs., 7/24/1987) scored 31 points (16+15) in 64 games for the Sabres last season, including 15 goals in Buffalo’s final 40 games. The 23-year-old native of Oxford, Michigan, set a new Sabres franchise record for fastest two goals by one player when he scored two goals just five seconds apart on January 21 against the New York Islanders.
Gerbe, the 2008 AHL Rookie of the Year, was Buffalo’s fifth-round selection (142nd overall) in the 2005 Entry Draft.
While dollar figures haven’t been disclosed, WGR-550 is reporting that it’s a three-year deal.
UPDATE 12:53pm: Per TSN, deal is three-years, $4.3 million with an average cap hit of $1.43 million per season.
From Scott Cruickshank of The Calgary Herald,
“They [Jordan Leopold, Rhett Warrener, Steve Montador] said how much they really enjoyed the city, the people, raising a family in Buffalo,” says Regehr, who, with wife Kristina, has one young son and another child due next month. “These are guys that I trust. There’s no reason for them to lie. They didn’t say anything bad whatsoever. That says a lot.
“It’s not a great downtown, I know that. It’s what you compare it to. I grew up in a town in the middle of Saskatchewan (Rosthern), 1,500 or 1,600 people. Anything — well, almost anything — is better than that.”
The Sabres had heavily courted Regehr. Lengthy talks were initiated by owner Terry Pegula, by general manager Darcy Regier, by coach Lindy Ruff.
“You could just tell that they were extremely committed.”
From Paul Hamilton of WGR-550,
We hear nothing for most of today and then we get to the arena and the misinformation starts flowing. The Fan 960 comes out with “Trade is dead, Regehr won’t waive his no trade, but other teams still in play.” The problem with our business is too many people are trying to be first and not worried about being right. Almost immediately the station starts backtracking.
Next, one of the most respected hockey writers Erik Duhatschek writes Regehr has not closed the door on the deal.
continue to follow the strange tale of how this deal went down.
Via tweet from The FAN 960 in Calgary,
According to @fan960boomer, Robyn Regehr has declined to waive his no-trade to go to Buffalo. Other teams are still in play.
Update 6:59 pm: As Paul alluded to in comments and via Pierre LeBrun tweet:
Am told Regehr hasn’t totally closed the door on Buffalo, but wants to see what other teams are interested in him before making final call.
Two days after being informed of a trade by the Calgary Flames to the Buffalo Sabres, defenseman Robyn Regehr is expected to decide whether or not to waive his no-trade clause to come to Buffalo before the first round of tonight’s NHL Draft in Minnesota.
After doing some due diligence and speaking with Sabres GM Darcy Regier and owner Terry Pegula last night, Regehr decided to sleep on it. It would be reasonable to expect that the veteran defenseman sought consultation from former teammates Jordan Leopold, Steve Montador and Toni Lydman.
On the FAN 960 in Calgary this morning, media folks who have a working relationship with the team said they believe Regehr will waive his NMC today, but whether or not he comes to Buffalo depends on what other offers may be out there. Word is there are 3-4 other teams, two of them being San Jose and Washington, that are interested in pouncing on an opportunity to land Regehr should he turn down the Sabres.
Buffalo is obviously looking to fill a major hole in the leadership department on the blue line, and there may not be anyone more excited about the thought of playing with Regehr than a certain recent Calder Trophy winner who grew up idolizing him.
UPDATE 12:58 pm: TSN’s Darren Dreger says Regehr is still undecided and we may not know the outcome of this today.
We’ve already been told that the Buffalo Sabres under Terry Pegula won’t let financial considerations impede their pursuit of greatness, but specifically to what lengths are they willing to go?
With the recent announcement that the NHL salary cap is expected to be at or near $64M, teams in markets larger than Buffalo are certainly licking their chops for the chance to grab some big name talent. The past two seasons have proven that landing a free agent prize like Zdeno Chara or Marian Hossa can help lead sooner or later to a Stanley Cup parade.
Just in case Sabres fans needed any reaffirmation of the commitment of their team not to be left out of the party, what we heard from team president Ted Black at Thursday night’s Sabres Blogger Summit was of a similar tone to what’s been promised since his first day on the job.
I don’t believe that Sabres fans realistically expect the team to sign Brad Richards or trade for Jeff Carter, but I think folks would be excited at the prospect of Darcy Regier at least taking a legitimate stab at landing one of these guys as the top line center the Sabres desperately need. If nothing else, the effort would confirm to the rest of the league that Buffalo really means business.
Being in a hypothetical mood, I got specific with Black and asked if he would be open to going as high as a nine- or ten-year contract commitment to get a franchise player.
There’s some talk in the local media that the Sabres might or should consider getting out from under the final year of the contract of forward Brad Boyes, but I’m not buying it.
His productivity with the Sabres during the regular season would put him on pace for 20 goals and 55 points over a full campaign. Those stats would’ve made Boyes the second leading scorer on the team. And having one stinker playoff series against the Flyers to me just isn’t enough for Darcy Regier to give up on him.
Take a look at how Drew Stafford performed this past season in his contract year. He had a disappointing playoff series himself but certainly had a lot to do with the team’s turnaround that got them there in the first place.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to project Boyes as a 20-25 goal guy this season. He’s already done better than that three times in his career, and age-wise he’s still on the good side of 30. The discussion about a buyout to avoid paying $4M for this kind of player sounds like silly talk.
The only Sabres buyout candidates that would seem to make any sense are Jochen Hecht ($3M salary) and Shaone Morrisonn ($2.075M). I’ll be mildly surprised if Buffalo goes that route with either of them.
It was no more than five minutes after I’d pinched myself, for admitting that I actually enjoyed watching an NBA playoff series, when the most talented player and supposed representative of the sport opened his mouth and put my newfound positive feelings about the league on ice.
For those of you that try to avoid the NBA like a Matt Cooke elbow to the head, and how could I blame you, here is the gem from LeBron James after his deer-in-the-headlights performance that ensured an NBA Championship for the Dallas Mavericks:
reporter: Does it bother you that so many people are happy to see you fail?
LeBron: Absolutely not. Because at the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal, but they have to get back to the real world at some point.
My first thought while listening to this condescending dribble was about Sidney Crosby. How would the poster boy for the NHL have answered this question?
With two elite netminders battling it out in the Stanley Cup Finals, I’d like to think that maybe the cheap-goaltending-is-better silliness is going to get a well-deserved reprieve.
That’s not likely to happen in Buffalo in the foreseeable future, however, thanks in large part to the storied 15-game NHL career of Jhonas Enroth.
Brian Koziol of WGR-550 sanely wrote today that Ryan Miller is still the answer in Buffalo, although his piece that touched on the ubiquitous debate concerning the Sabres franchise goaltender wasn’t without its share of pure gold:
“While I think it’s insane to be able to have any clear judgment on Enroth’s success in the NHL, there were plenty of people who called into the postgame show during the playoffs and other WGR talk shows about why Lindy Ruff didn’t play Enroth and rotate “the hot goalie” as Peter Laviolette did with the Flyers.”
There you have it, folks. Ruff should be ashamed of himself for not adhering to that innovative goaltending carousel-riding strategy that helped carry the Philadelphia Flyers through the playoffs.
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.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]