All together now, Christmas carollers:
"It is the most overhyped time of the year.
With prospects being jingled
And Eklund telling you "deals will be maaaaade"
It's the most overhyped time of the year
With Dominic Moore going for 2 bags of pucks
When Darcy comes calling GMs will say they don't want Roooooy
It's the most overhyped time of all"
You have to love promotion in sports. Happens daily on ESPN and on the radio. The NHL Trade deadline week is such a frickin tease. For the most part, the guys who get dealt are role players who will be playing on your 3rd or 4th line. Yes, it is a lot of fun as TSN will just float a ton of possible options for players and some fans will take it as fact. WGR has been in "Who would you trade for?" mode for like a month now. It is a fun topic and fans love talking about it, but it seems to be a lot more sizzle than steak.
So, what do we do here Sabres fans? As I write this, the Sabres are 6 points out of the 8th spot. Sellers or buyers?
Jerry Sullivan has coined the phrase multiple times about the Sabres heroic run to the 8th spot. A number of fans don't like the statement, but it does seem like they tend to do this often, right? It is easy for us right now to say the team should sell. They haven't been inspirational at all this year and the core is as dull as paint drying. However, the analogy I'd like to use is if you find out your ex-girlfriend is getting married. You find out she's marrying some dude and you play it off like you are over it. "Fuck her! Let her get married. I'm fine. I'll get a better girlfriend down the road. Piss off." Then a few months later, the wedding comes and you can't help but feel a little jealous when you are looking at the Ex making out with someone.
The wedding represents the playoffs.
I know I'm not going to be in a good mood when the playoffs start in April and the Sabres aren't playing. I'm not the biggest NHL fan in the world, but I know there's a connection with playoff hockey. It's awesome. Period. I know I will be jealous. I know that if an upset happens, which seems to happen every year, I will sit there and go "Man, maybe that could have been us? Maybe it could have been me making out with the ex at her wedding." I don't have to give you history lessons on 8th or 7th seeds going far in the playoffs. Who the hell was Edmonton in 2006 with Dwayne Roloson and Mike Peca on one leg? Who the hell were we in 1999? You never know what will happen. Truthfully, I feel like I want them to make a run only for my entertainment value for this year, but in the long term, I know better.
Selling would-be free agents
Let me start with this, I hate the way we cover and talk about prospects. I understand the value of them. I get that an organization can be built on drafting, but this whole Mel Kiper era that we live in where younger guys, who aren't even on the parent club yet, are getting just too much love and attention. Fans/Media need something to talk about like prospects because we live in a NHL market that is always thirsty for hockey knowledge. I don't care how Kassian or any other guys are doing in Rochester. I don't think it will having anything to do with how someone plays in the NHL because he's going against a lot of kids who probably aren't going to make it. It is just crazy how we overrate draft picks and people on the farm. You wanna watch because you like hockey? Fine. But I throw caution at you if you are going to assume whether this or that player can play in the NHL by looking at games in the AHL. It takes 3-4 years of playing in the NHL to figure out if this guy can play or not.
Now what does my rant about not caring about Rochester have to do with deadline deals? It is about people saying we need to trade Paul Gaustad in order to get something in return. "We can't lose Goose in the summer for nothing! That is unheard of!?" What pray tell do you think we will get back? If you are going by draft picks, which I think will be the case, it will probably be something like a 2nd or 3rd rounder. I'm sure if we got picks we would be happy that Darcy is making a move and showing that he's selling. Fine. My biggest reason for getting rid of him has to do with clearing money, which is going to happen in the summer if both parties can't work out a deal. Again, the NHL Draft is a crap shoot. Since 1998, these have been the Sabres 2nd and 3rd round picks:
- 2010: Matt MacKenzie, Kevin Sundher, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc
- 2009: Brayden McNabb
- 2008: Luke Adam and Corey Fienhage
- 2007: Corey Tropp, T. J. Brennan and Drew Schiestel
- 2006: Mike Webber and Enroth
- 2005: Philipp Gogulla and Marc-Andre Gragnani
- 2004: Michael Funk and Andrej Sekera
- 2003: Clarke MacArthur and Branislav Fabry
- 2002: John Adams and Michael Tessier
- 2001: Jason Pominville, Derek Roy and Chris Thorburn
- 2000: Gerard Dicaire
- 1999: Mike Zigomanis, Doug Janik, and Milan Bartovic
- 1998: Norm Milley, Andrew Peters, Mike Pandolfo and Jaroslav Kristek
Look, I know this is probably the norm from most teams and a lot of people have been on record to say Darcy has a decent track record. However if you take out 2001, the majority of these names are either a work in progress or guys I've never heard of. Plus, you aren't going to see your 2nd rounder in the NHL for at least 3-4 years. I just think we overrate draft picks and I'm not gonna be pissed off if the Sabres don't deal Goose because he's already going to clear cap space in July if they can't work out a deal, which is my biggest goal right now.
Selling the core
I am down like Chinatown. No one is untradeable on this team. If Tyler Myers can get you a top 10-center, I'm doing the deal. If you have to trade prospects for someone who can help your team next year, do it. The NHL as a whole are knee deep in d-men and slim on centers. The Sabres have won only 5 playoff series since "No goal" and four of them came in a two year span. Sorry, but with a track record like that, fans and the team shouldn't be so happy with what they got. If they want to lose Roy/Stafford for picks, fine, because it will clear cap room for them to make other deals down the road. Of course, we know Darcy values his guys a hell of a lot more than we do.
He wants maximum value. I understand why he keeps his cards close to the vest when speaking to the media. If he says the Sabres are sellers, teams will offer Bob Corkum for Derek Roy. They will try and rip him off. It is probably why he doesn't want to return calls. He wants to play that stupid game that girls play. You know, when you make the guy call you, only to not return his call until days later. Why do girls do that? It makes the guy feel insecure, desperate and happy at the same time. It also makes the girl feel like she has leverage.
(NOTE: Oh, I don't have to call the girls, they call me! BOOM!!)
However, the problem that exists with this method is what has it gotten Darcy? His patience has resulted in crappy deadline deals. He hasn't had a decent one since 2003 when he got Briere for Gratton. The Sabres need to somehow find Briere 2.0. They are terrible down the middle and they need a gamechanger. A guy that when the chips are on the table he is just going to go "F-THIS! I'm taking over this game now." I don't think they will do that in the next few days, but it has to get done in the summer.
Final word: I have to see how the Sabres play this weekend. If they somehow pull those games out of their asses against NY and Boston (10% chance), things will change. As of now, they have to sell. Also, I'm still of the mindset that someone needs to lose their job. Call it blood lust or just sick of a mediocre product, but enough is enough. I don't think DR is going to sell. I think he will try and weather the storm and then the Sabres would be in position to use injuries as an excuse. They will have some lame stat about what their record is when everyone is healthy and how injuries are a fact of life.
At this point, I have no expectations or venom towards what they do at the deadline.
Frankly, I feel like I did last year when the Sabres were out of it in January and the Pegula takeover rumblings started. I didn't care about the regular season then because I only thought about the offseason for change. It just seemed more interesting than playing out the string. I'm counting on that again. Firings, trades and Judgement Day. I don't think we will get that next Monday. Will trading Boyes/Goose change the fabric of the Cosomos for the Sabres? Eh? Call me underwhelmed. I'm hoping/praying for real change when the season ends.