Category Archives: Buffalo Sabres
Most talk about the trade was entirely speculative, so no names could be discussed with any sort of authority, but the lockout may have given some clarity as to the situation if it were to play out.
To rehash what was said this summer, the Oilers need defenseman. Justin Schultz has blown the top off of the AHL in Oklahoma City during the lockout, but he’s not going to be the three-zone guy that the Oilers sorely need. His success would certainly go a long way, but the Oilers are likely going to need more.
The Stars announced Roy would likely be out until November. Dallas General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk later said they did not receive damaged goods from the Sabres because Roy had already undergone a physical, but it was simply a case of just putting him through a deeper medical evaluation and determining the surgery was necessary.
“It was an elective [surgery], a choice,” Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said Thursday night during the team’s development camp scrimmage in First Niagara Center. “He could have played. He did play with it. It was a decision made by that organization. I spoke to Joe before when we went through all the medical records prior to when we made the trade. [Roy] was rehabbing, he played with the shoulder last year and he would have played going forward.”
So while it doesn’t appear the Stars are going to make an issue of the trade, the surprising news of Roy’s situation certainly opens a key question regarding the Sabres: Was Roy hiding the severity of his injury or were the Sabres pressing him to get on the ice when they should have been exercising more caution?
“I’m very confident in the decision by our medical staff,” Regier said. “He played with it last year and he could have played with it again this year. It was a decision by the Dallas Stars. It’s as simple as that. We were very comfortable with his situation.”
Regier bristled when asked if Roy’s surgery is a sign the Sabres have a pattern of pushing injured players to keep playing. It’s widely agreed that Ryan Miller came back too early from his concussion last year and that Thomas Vanek pushed through injuries to his shoulder and chest – and then admitted on his personal blog in mid-April that he also had a bad ankle sprain.
One player who figures to have his name whispered often leading up to Friday’s first round is Derek Roy. The center had a disappointing season and is entering the final season of his six-year contract. Roy will earn $5.5 million next season but has a manageable $4 million cap hit.
If the Sabres move Roy or another big name, it wouldn’t be the first time they used draft weekend to significantly alter the roster. Names such as Jochen Hecht, Michael Peca, Tim Connolly, Don Edwards and Tony McKegney have been part of selection meeting swaps. The biggest blockbuster came in 1990, when the Sabres acquired Dale Hawerchuk and a first-round pick from Winnipeg in exchange for Phil Housley, Scott Arniel, Jeff Parker and a first-round pick.
The most recognizable star on the market this year is Columbus right wing Rick Nash. The captain wants out, and the Blue Jackets are expected to accommodate him after failing to find a suitable deal at the trade deadline. The 28-year-old has six years remaining on a deal that averages $7.8 million.
The main purpose of the draft, though, is to pick young players. Nail Yakupov is likely to be No. 1.
The 18-year-old Russian forward is ranked first by NHL Central Scouting, a position he also held at the midterm rankings. Yakupov recorded 31 goals and 69 points in 42 games with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League and added nine assists in seven games for Russia at the world junior championships.
If Buffalo’s crease wasn’t filled up enough, they have added recently edged out back up Michael Leighton from the Hawks. The recently waived Leighton, who lost the back-up job to Craig Anderson was traded for 1999 second round pick and recently waived Milan Bartovic.