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The Sabres Observer

At Last, Sabres’ Plan Is Straightforward

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.

If Moulson wants to be part of the overhaul and be a leader and key player on this team, he needs to sign an extension.  Otherwise, he's just another trade deadline bargaining chip who will become someone's rental player.  Logic would dictate that Moulson will prefer the latter, and that's probably just fine with the Sabres.

Darcy Regier is on a mission worthy of landing him on an episode of Hoarders.  He wants 1st and 2nd-round draft picks, and lots of them.  In an interview on WGR-550 this morning, he went out of his way to point out that most NHL players were drafted in the first two rounds.

Regier had five of those picks which he used this past June, and he has nine more 1st and 2nd-rounders over the next two drafts.  And with Ryan Miller still here, that total is likely to go up.

Many fans and media members in Buffalo have been criticizing the Sabres for not really having a plan.  That was a valid observation back when the club was seemingly headed for a rebuild while at the same time throwing $130 million at Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Shane Doan.

But the days of owner Terry Pegula's big money overtures appear to be in the rearview mirror, for now.  His arrogant assumption, that a fancy dressing room and artificially generated optimism would enable him to buy an all-star team, was a grave miscalculation that set his franchise back a few years.

Aside from the players already mentioned, Brad Richards wanted nothing to do with Buffalo, and Rick Nash wouldn't waive his no-trade to come here.  Heck, the Sabres had to fly their owner and head coach to Saskatchewan on a begging mission just to land stay-at-home defenseman Robyn Regehr, and it took a hefty $40 million to entice talented but B-level blueliner Christian Ehrhoff.

The moral of the story is that Buffalo isn't likely to get top impact players unless they draft them.  And the more high picks they have, the better their odds.

That's the plan, plain and simple.  After seeing the return the Sabres received for Jason Pominville, and now Vanek, there should be no further confusion.

But whether or not Regier, in charge of an organization that has seen the regression of first-rounders Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis, should be the man in charge of this rebuild is another conversation.

It's not the plan many Sabres fans are taking issue with right now, it's the planner.

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Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
  Tags: "darcy+regier", "matt+moulson", "terry+pegula", "thomas+vanek", "vanek+moulson+trade"



Hoping to get good players by drafting quantity isn’t really much of a plan and it isn’t a very clear or good one at that.

Edmonton stockpiled high draft picks too and overpaid for FAs too and do we see how well that has worked out for them?

You can’t just build a team through draft picks.  You need good, solid veterans to shepherd those young players into the NHL (and no, sorry, Ehrhoff and Leino do not count) or else drafting talented young players is pretty meaningless.

Posted by Garth on 10/28/13 at 01:19 PM ET

@DaveDavisHockey's avatar

OK, Garth, if you happen to run into any veteran players interested in coming to Buffalo, please let me know and I’ll call the Sabres’ office.  Because none of the ones that are here want to stay.  It isn’t a matter of choice.

Posted by @DaveDavisHockey from Buffalo, NY on 10/28/13 at 03:14 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]