The Sabres Observer
I'm not an NHL scout, so I won't pretend to be one.
But I know what qualities I like in a player, and I have a pretty good idea which prospect at the top of the 2014 board would fit right in the wheelhouse of what the face of the Sabres franchise should look like, 2015 draft possibilities notwithstanding.
I've recently spent some time perusing game footage of Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett and Aaron Ekblad. One thing I know for sure is that I've decided which player I want the Sabres to select, assuming he's available.
Jay Grossman, who represents Latvian forward Kaspars Daugavins, told me today his client wants back in the NHL and confirmed that the Sabres are amongst his options.
Daugavins has 18 goals and 44 points in 44 games with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss Elite League this season, and was a member of the Latvian Olympic team coached by Ted Nolan.
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune is reporting that Sabres GM Tim Murray is negotiating with close friend and Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher on a deal that would send Jaroslav Halak to the Wild.
Halak, recently acquired in the trade for Ryan Miller, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Keeping Halak past the trade deadline without a contract for next season wouldn't make much sense for Murray, who just dealt the Sabres franchise goaltender in large part for the same reason.
I know this isn't the most popular opinion in town, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with shipping Tyler Myers out of Buffalo without seeing further development with the new Sabres regime.
Disclaimer: If an offer involving Evander Kane or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins lands on Tim Murray's desk, all bets are off and you do that deal in a heartbeat. But no way on God's green earth is Myers as the featured asset bringing back that kind of return right now. And I'm not dealing him for Sam Gagner, who is on the wrong side of 50 points every season.
Now, you know any Myers apologist piece must include the obligatory Zdeno Chara reference, and this one won't disappoint. But please keep in mind that believing, which I don't, that Myers will someday undergo a mystical and dramatic transformation into Chara is not a requirement for making said reference.
It's not something he hasn't already said before, but Ryan Miller told a French language media outlet yesterday that he hasn't asked for a trade from the Sabres but nonetheless isn't ready to sign a contract extension.
Throughout his coaching career, Ted Nolan has been a flawed man.
He made mistakes during his first go-around here in Buffalo as a young, brash head coach who wanted to do things his own way. There were more errors in his ways after he left.
He hasn't always respected authority, has occasionally overplayed the race card, and when necessary has used the media to undercut anyone blocking his path.
He has delegated technical game strategies to his assistants, disregarded player usage recommendations from his bosses and pressured them into transactions that would adhere to his agenda.
He is also my favorite Sabres head coach of the fourteen that have had the job since I entered hockey fandom as a kid, and it's not even close.
A nice pregame ceremony in Buffalo honoring veterans:
Even since the Sabres' rebuild began, Steve Ott had been saying all the right things.
As I told Todd Lewis of SiriusXM's Hockey Unfiltered last weekend, Buffalo Sabres fans appreciate a guy who is respectful of this humble blue-collar city and expresses a desire to play here. That's been the gritty forward's shtick since the day he arrived.
But let's face the facts. Ott is 31 years old and plays on a team that may not be a contender until he is staring hockey career mortality in the face. He hasn't experienced the thrill of Stanley Cup playoff participation since six seasons ago, when his Dallas Stars were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals.
And now, after seeing the Sabres trade their best forward in Thomas Vanek, and sensing the inevitable departure of franchise goaltender Ryan Miller, the "I Melt With You" tune Ott has metaphorically been singing to the press all this time is finally beginning to sound a bit more like "Can We Still Be Friends".
Great piece last night from Hockey Night In Canada's Elliotte Friedman, with an insightful portrayal of what exactly is happening here in Buffalo right now.
Anyway, I have some understanding and appreciation for this blue-collar city and its sports fans. Scouts and opposing teams say they've rarely seen anything like what's been happening at the team's home games so far in 2013-14.
"That is one angry crowd," an opposing executive said.
We've all heard about the "Fire Darcy" chants, but that's not the only example. The press box setup at First Niagara Center allows for some interaction between the crowd and media/scouts/employees. One scout told a story of two fans demanding to know if he worked for the Sabres, accusing him of lying when he said no.
Matt Moulson’s agent, Wade Arnott, said that his client is heading to Buffalo with an open mind and is interested in hearing the club’s plans.
Mr. Arnott, I think I can help you out with that.
The Sabres are in desperate need of elite talent. The trade that sent Thomas Vanek to Long Island in exchange for Moulson and draft picks is another step in the implementation of the scheme to do exactly that.
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: email@example.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]