Projecting The Rest of The Sabres’ Offseason

Sabres GM, Darcy Regier was on WGR this morning and had some interesting things to say. Here are some of the quotes (paraphrasing).

“The organization has resources to make big offers to UFAs. Wasn’t against that in the past. It just wasn’t something they did.”

They’ve talked about offersheets but doesn’t think it will work since the players potentially targeted will be match or have already been taken care of.”

“The team wants another vet d-man. More specifically, Darcy mentioned the word “thickness.”

“Very confident that they will upgrade at center either in free agency or trade”

“Trade market will open up after early free agency”

“They see Connolly as a 3rd line center PK/defensive specialist.”

Let’s try and break this down a bit.

-I’m glad Darcy and the rest of the organization have no delusions of grandeur about Connolly. Their assessment of Connolly is bang-on at this point in his career and it seems like they may want to bring him back since they’ve talked to his agent in recent days, much to the horror of many fans. I wouldn’t have much issue with him coming back in that kind of role, but I’d just prefer to have Hecht be the team’s 3rd line center for next year and save a couple million dollars.

-The fact that Darcy mentions that they have the resources to make big offers to UFAs, was never against it, and is very confident that they will upgrade at center tells me that plan “A” for the team is to go after Brad Richards on July 1st. If Richards goes somewhere else, then it sounds like Darcy has trade options on the back-burner to get an upgrade. It’s anyone’s guess to who that said upgrade is.

One of those options could be Colorado Avalanche center, Paul Stastny, who could be expendable since Matt Duchene has proven to be just as good, if not better than Stastny at the age of 20 and because of the kind of package a guy like Stastny could bring a rebuilding team with the salary cap rising to $64.3 million.

-It’s certainly interesting that Regier is looking to add another veteran defenseman who is in his words is “thick” (meaning a bigger, grittier defenseman) since the team already has a lot options on their team already for defense. I guess that means more trades are on the way. One option that is on the cheaper side is Minnesota Wild defenseman, Greg Zanon. His 5’11 height may not insinuate what Regier’s looking for, but being 201 lbs. at 5’11 is pretty thick. Going in this year, Zanon has a cap hit of  $1,933,333 through next season, is a shot-blocking machine (3rd, 4th, 2nd in the league the last three seasons for defensemen), and throws a good amount of hits (153, 183, 169 during his last three seasons). That’s a pretty tough hombre in my opinion.

LA Kings defenseman, Matt Greene would also qualify as thick at 6’4, 234 lbs. and is the flip-side of Zanon with regard to blocked shot and hits; Greene not as much of a shot-blocker as Zanon, but he’s near the top of the league in hits for defensemen his last three seasons.  His cap hit is $2.95 million through 2013-14

This is how I’d like to see the off-season shakeout.

Vanek-Richards-Pominville

Ennis-Roy-Stafford

Gerbe-Hecht-Boyes

McCormick-Gaustad-Kaleta

Regehr-Myers

Leopold-Greene

Weber-Sekera

x Gragnani

Miller

Enroth

That roster would be a tight fit, but I think it would be doable. I guess we’ll get some more answers soon enough since July 1st is only four days away.

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