Sabres Rattling

Written by Darryl Dobbsfrom

Those of you in keeper leagues remember that in the late nineties and early in the new millennium a Colorado or Detroit player could not be had for any price. It seemed that the only way one could acquire one is by drafting one (perhaps earlier than they deserved) or if a player on your team was traded to the Red Wings or Avs. The reason? Not only did the two teams have eight or nine real solid offensive players, but it also seemed like every year one or the other was in the Stanley Cup final. Those players help both your regular season and your playoff pool.

These last two seasons, that team has become the Ottawa Senators. All the poolies seemed to feel that this team is close, and the price of a Daniel Alfredsson or a Dany Heatley (or Marian Hossa before him), or a Martin Havlat has been very high.

It is ironic that the very same Daniel Alfredsson was the player that Jason Pominville skated around to score the goal that eliminated the highly touted Senators and usher in a new team of ‘untouchables’.

One shorthanded goal has changed the way the trade talks will go this summer in keeper leagues. Already a young, deep, promising team with all the elements in place, the Buffalo Sabres are a proven elite team right here right now. Try trading for Daniel Briere this September, we’ll see how far you get.

From top to bottom, there is a plethora of players that are now far more in demand than they were even two weeks ago. In goal, Ryan Miller was a young elite goaltender. He is now a young, elite, proven goaltender with Stanley Cup semi-final (and possibly soon to be final) experience. That’s gold in hockey pools – Martin Brodeur, Mikka Kiprusoff, Patrick Roy territory. If you want to trade for Miller this summer, he will now be just as expensive as any one of the above three were in their day.

Defenseman Brian Campbell’s 44 points was good for 22nd amongst rearguards this year. This summer he will be treated like top 10 now.

Is Derek Roy-Chris Drury-Mike Grier Buffalo’s second line? Or is it Tomas Vanek-Ales Kotalik-Maxim Afinogenov? That is assuming Daniel Briere-Tim Connolly-J.P. Dumont are the first line. These aren’t even regular lines! Not when you factor in Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville! Suddenly, everything gets shifted around.

Most of the above guys have the ability to clear 70 points next year and contribute an additional 15 in the playoffs. Briere, if healthy, will take a run at 100. All of these guys will clung to like the Red Wings and Avs of yore.

It looks like the Sabres will maintain their lofty status for while, too. With the likes of Dan Paille, Drew Stafford, Marek Zagrapan, Jiri Novotny, Clarke MacArthur, and Chris Thorburn it’s almost an embarrassment of riches in their system.

All this from one shorthanded rush in overtime. Poolies suddenly are loosening their grip a little on their Senators, and tightening their grip on their Sabres.

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