The Regehr Saga Comes To An End

After all the anguish and all the “will he or won’t he waive his NMC” drama with regard to Robyn Regehr, here are the details of the Flames-Sabres trade that finally got completed on Saturday.

To Buffalo:
-Robyn Regehr (LHD, $4.02 million cap hit w/NMC, Signed through 2012-13)
-Ales Kotalik (RW, $3 million cap hit w/NTC, Signed through 2011-12)
-2nd round pick in 2012  (Not sure how Regier managed to get that 2nd rounder for a strong 2012 draft out of Feaster along with Regehr, but I’m thrilled that he did! )

To Calgary:
-Chris Butler (LHD, RFA)
-Paul Byron (C, $55,000 AHL salary/$555,000 cap hit, Signed through 2011-12)

Quick sidebar before I breakdown the players involved in the trade. With Regehr here now, I wouldn’t mind just going into this upcoming season with these pairings and focusing the rest of the cap space at the center position.

Regehr-Myers

Weber-Sekera

Gragnani-Leopold

Now, without further adieu, here’s my detailed break-down of each player in this trade.

Robyn Regehr: This exactly the kind of player the Sabres need now. A gritty, top-4 veteran defensive defenseman who provides leadership to a young blueline. Regehr averages about 21-22 minutes/game and has been a rock for the Flames his entire of career, giving the team great play in his end of the ice by making it a living hell for opposing teams to operate there. Having watched the Flames plenty of times, Regehr loves to punish people in the defensive zone, particularly around the boards should players be foolish enough to engage him there *cough* Ales Hemsky and Martin St. Louis *cough*

His 180 hits and 142 blocked shots would have both been team leaders on the Sabres last season as well. As I noted earlier, Regehr plays the left-side on defense and his defensive style should mesh well with Tyler Myers, who likes to jump up into the play on offense; Regehr is also Myers favorite player, which is something that shouldn’t be ignored as well. Major props to Darcy and Mr. & Mrs. Pegula for getting him to waive his NMC.

Ales Kotalik: We all know the story with Al from his Sabres days. The guy’s got a cannon for a shot and he’s a shootout ace. As far as the rest of his game goes, I think many fans are familiar with the nickname “Floatalik,” enough said. However, Darcy has gone on record saying that the team will not buy him out, which is probably smart since we don’t know how Pominville’s going to progress with his injury. The Sabres may need him to fill in at RW for the time being. Injuries to Sabres RWs will be the only time that Kotalik will sniff anytime at the NHL-level this season. He’s AHL-fodder at this point and will probably bolt for Europe after his contract’s up at the end of the season.

Chris Butler: Butler bounced back and forth between the starting lineup and the press box last season, but I still see a player who at the least, will be a solid 3rd pairing NHL defenseman. At this point, there isn’t one part of his game that is exceptionally good, but he’s still young and will contribute for the Flames right away,  plus he still has room to develop into that #2 guy that we saw glimpses of in the Philly series before he seemingly became overwhelmed by the competition he was playing against. Unfortunately for him, Gragnani’s emergence coupled with the more dynamic defensive prospects in the pipeline that are knocking at the door for a roster spot made him expendable. Best of luck out west Chris.

Paul Byron:  Not sure how many people share my opinion about him, but I really think this guy will be a solid contributor in the NHL. Byron skates with brass cojones on the ice and is afraid of no one. I was also a big fan of his defensive awareness and his vision on offense in his games with the Sabres last season. With all of that being said,  like Butler, he was also certainly expendable for a player like Regehr. Buffalo actually replaced the skill set he brought to the Sabres prospect pipeline with their 3rd round pick today, Dan Cantenacci (C). Really hope things work out for him in Calgary.

Overall, the grade for this trade has to be an A in my honest opinion. Sure the Sabres have to take Kotalik back, but he’ll be stored in the minors. They also had to give up a couple of solid pieces, but given the circumstances, they were both expendable. In return, the Sabres address what they sorely needed on the blueline by getting this guy.

Tell me you don't love that face. The guy's an 'effin warrior.

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