Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sorry Danny, Kevin and Petey...

Florida or Tampa Bay as a trading partner with Colorado doesn't make a lot of sense.

The Colorado Avalanche have the #1-overall pick in the 2013 Draft and it's widely assumed that that they will be using it on Portland Winterhawks D Seth Jones. Jones is considered by most to be the top prospect in the draft.

Freshly inked Head Coach/VP of Hockey Operations, Patrick Roy, has made his mark already by telling Excutive VP of Hockey Operations, Joe Sakic, that the Avalanche, "need to study the possibility of trading the teams first round pick."

Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshinski quotes Roy as wondering aloud saying, "Are we going to keep the first overall? Are we going to move the first overall?"

And Adam Gretz of has Roy "reportedly being the one working out trades with other teams, and it appears that one of those trades could include one of Colorado's most valuable assets, the #1 overall pick."

Gretz concedes that a GM (or in this case, the head coach/VP of hockey ops?) wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't at least listen to offers. He believes that maybe Roy is "drumming up interest in the pick so that another team presents them with an offer that totally blows them out of the water."

There are six teams between the Avalanche at #1 and the Sabres at #8. All of them could presumably put together a strong package in a pitch for the coveted top-pick. And, of course, all of them would represent less of a drop in the draft than the Sabres.

The player coveted, however, doesn't seem to be Jones. Teams are looking at Halifax Mooseheads C Nathan MacKinnon. And there isn't a team in the NHL who wouldn't want a potential franchise center like MacKinnon.

Sabre great Danny Gare was on WGR's Hockey Hotline today. He, Kevin Sylvester and Andrew Peters were discussing the possibility of Colorado trading the pick and with whom they would trade?

For a good chunk of the segment they talked about Florida who has the #2 overall and Tampa Bay at #3.

Their thought process needs to be questioned in this matter as to why either of those two teams would want to make an "blown out of the water offer" to Colorado to move up one or two spots to draft a top-line/#1 center.
The Panthers drafted Jonathan Huberdeau #3 overall in the 2011 Entry Draft. Hockey's future has Huberdeau as the third best prospect in the league.

In the pipeline for the Cats down the middle are Nick Bjugstad (ranked as the 39th best prospect,) Drew Shore and Rocco Grimaldi.

Florida doesn't really need another center prospect, although if MacKinnon dropped to them, the choice is easy. What they could use is an NHL-ready, potential franchise defenseman similar to Jay Bouwmeester, picked third overall by the Panthers in the 2002 draft. Sitting at #2 and having someone else pick MacKinnon opens the door for them to draft just that in Jones.

And besides, Petey, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that Brian Campbell's trade value has declined considerably. Not to mention that I believe Florida would be remiss in trading away the league's top-rated goalie prospect in Jacob Markstrom (#12 overall.)

As for Tampa Bay, they're in pretty good shape with the #3 pick.

If Jones and MacKinnon occupy the first two picks, they'll be "settling" for Halifax LW Jonathan Drouin.

Drouin is an electric player with great hands and serious playmaking skills. After amassing 105 points in 49 games this past season, some believe he has the most talent of the three. He won the Michael Bossy Trophy as the QMJHL's best professional prospect and many consider him on par with Chicago's Patrick Kane.

The Lightning already have a bonafide #1, franchise centerman in Steven Stamkos. They have veteran Vinny Lecavalier signed for an eternity (with a no trade clause) in a top-six role and Vladislav Namestnikov as an up and coming two-way center.

In addition they have undrafted FA center Tyler Johnson. As an overager for the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL he racked up 115 points in 71 games in the 2010-11 WHL season with seven goals and seven assists in 14 playoff games that year. With the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) this season he scored 61 points (37 goals) in 62 games and was named the 2012-13 AHL MVP.

Not to discount what MacKinnon could bring to the Lightning, but I tend to believe that they're salivating at a potential top-line of Drouin/Stamkos/St. Louis.

It would make more sense if Tampa was willing to trade up to land Jones than MacKinnon, but they drafted Victor Hedman with the 2nd overall pick in 2009. He has a similar build and skill-set to Jones, has 258 NHL games under his belt and is only 22.

Simply put, the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning are in pretty good shape if they stay put. They will get one of the top three players in the draft all of whom occupied the top-prospect spot at one time or another.

Not to say that it couldn't happen, but why on earth would either team give the Avalanche an offer they couldn't refuse for the #1 overall pick when a franchise-type player will fall to them if they stay put?

Doesn't make a lot of sense.

For the Sabres at #8, or any team occupying the #'s 4-7 slots, that's a different story.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Darcy Regier on team-building plus John Scott and other tidbits

It took a while.

Sabres GM Darcy Regier is finally of the mind-set that his group of soft-but-skilled, New-NHL core players can't compete in today's NHL.

Better late than never, I guess.

"I think what we're seeing in the game is it's shifting again to a bigger man's game," said Regier on WGR's Hockey Hotline. "I do generally think the game is getting bigger and you [need] to have people who are willing to compete and you [need] to have size in your lineup. There's a shift in that general direction over what we saw coming out of the [2004-05] lockout."

"We're headed to a very hard-working team and a very hard-working-game being," Regier continued in the interview, "I still think you need a blend. First of all you need competitors, but you need a blend of skill and you need a blend of work and the signature for us is to revolve around work."

It took Regier years to realize that the New-NHL came and went. He's been talking about "tougher to play against" for years and now he would like everyone to believe that the man who dismantled the hardest working team in hockey will rebuild a bigger version of that.

I'll believe it when I see it.

This off-season will give Sabres fans a clue as to whether Regier's really intent upon building like that or if it's lip service.

Looking back at past drafts, one must wonder if he's even capable of finding a player with those assets. When faced with a choice of skill or compete, he nearly always goes with the skill aspect:
  • 1998--D Dmitri Kalinin (#18 overall) over D Robyn Regehr (#19)
  • Slick forwards Artem Kryukov (#15, 2000,) Jiri Novotny (#22, 2001,) Marek Zagrapan (#13, 2005,) Joel Armia (#16, 2011) and Mikhail Grigorenko (#12, 2012.)
  • Puck-moving defensemen--Henrik Tallinder (#48, 1998,) Keith Ballard (#11, 2002,) Dennis Persson, (#24, 2006) TJ Brennan (#31, 2007,) Tyler Myers (#12, 2008) and Mark Pysyk (#23, 2010) plus Brian Campbell, Doug Janik, Andrej Sekera, Drew Schiestel, and Jerome Gauthier-Leduc.
  • Small, but skilled forwards--Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Tyler Ennis and Daniel Catenacci
  • Big forwards and defensemen who play/played small--Ales Kotalik, Drew Stafford, Michael Funk, Mike Card, Luke Adam and Zack Kassian.
It's hard to find gritty players with a workman-like mentality anywhere higher than the mid-lower rounds of Regier's drafts.

Mike Weber (#57, 2006,) Corey Tropp (#89, 2007,) Brayden McNabb (#66, 2009,) and Zemgus Girgensons (#14, 2012) are the only ones in the top 100 picks during Regier's tenure that fit the compete aspect of the equation.

Does Regier have it within him to find those types of players?

He may recognize the need for bringing in players with size, grit and compete, but based upon his history, it's doubtful.


John Scott was re-signed for another year this week.

The knock on Scott has been that, outside of his enforcer/protector role, he was not worthy of playing a regular shift.

The big guy did his job as enforcer. Regier summed it up rather nicely on GR saying, "[Scott] created a safe work environment" for the team.

What surprised the organization, though, was his ability to log fourth-line minutes without being a detriment to the team.

Coach Ron Rolston used Scott up to 10 minutes for a few games later in the year based upon the solid work the he did when he played a regular shift.

That's a good thing for Buffalo.

Scott is also good in the locker room and his goofy antics have lightened things up a bit.


With the NY Rangers down 3-0 in their playoff series with Boston, head coach John Tortorella benched C Brad Richards for tonight's do or die game at the Garden.

Richards is having a horrendous playoff with only one goal. His play has been so bad in the eyes of "Torts" that before his scratch he was relegated to fourth-line duties.

Two years ago, Richards was the premier free agent on the market and Buffalo was amongst the teams ready to pony up the cash and term to sign the former Conn Smythe winner.

The Olean-Times Herald's Bill Hoppe briefly recounts that time.

"Not surprisingly," Hoppe writes, "the Sabres, then at the height of their spending frenzy, wanted Richards. The brain trust planned to go up and meet with Richards as free agency opened."

Regier and Co. decided they didn't have a chance and turned their attention to FA Ville Leino, whom they signed to a 6 yr./$27M contract.

Safe to say that neither of those two signings have worked out all that well and Hoppe surmises that both may end up being an amnesty buyout this off-season.

It should be noted, though, that Leino may not be an amnesty buyout candidate due to his injury which caused him to miss the final 13 games of this shortened season.

Perhaps that's part of the reason why the Rags scratched Richards rather then use him on the fourth line. He's healthy and eligible for the buyout, which would remove his $6.66M cap-hit from their books.

If he is bought out, some team will be able to land a quality center at a very reasonable price.

His precipitous drop from franchise-like #1 center to healthy scratch is curious to say the least. Teams will need to decide if his skill-level is in serious decline or if there were mitigating factors like Torts and/or possibly the addition of Rick Nash.

Something's not right.

I've often felt Richards was overrated and that he was able to ride that playoff MVP for far too long and for far too much money.

But, he's not that bad, is he?

He's still a top-line center and if he's available this summer, the Sabres might want to take a look at signing him.

I don't care what this year's playoff numbers say.


Sabres back-up goaltender Jhonas Enroth is full of confidence after leading Team Sweden to the gold medal in the IIHF World Championship.

"I'm ready [to start]," he told Jon Vogl of the Buffalo News. "I've been growing a lot," he continued. "I learned a lot from this season. And last season too. My goal is to be a starter one year in the NHL."

That one full year is, presumably, to prove that he can be a full-time #1 goalie.

There seems to be a pretty good chance that he'll have that opportunity this coming season.

Ryan Miller is in the last year of his contract. The team has Enroth on the big club already, and their trade-deadline acquisition, Matt Hackett, is out of waiver options.


Speaking of Miller, if he is on the move, no one knows where he might end up.

He has a limited no-trade clause where he can list eight teams that he doesn't want to be traded to. Unfortunately for the Sabres, teams like the NY Islanders, Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers, all of whom could use a #1 goalie, are probably on his no-trade list.

There are other teams who would make for an interesting trade partner, most notably the Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and possibly the Washington Capitals or the Colorado Avalanche.

This could be a defining moment for the Sabres organization.

I have no idea what Regier is thinking or what the return would be, but one would guess that he'd love to be able to use Miller as a spring-board to a top-3 pick this season--read a trade with Colorado, Florida or Tampa Bay.

It's highly doubtful that the 'Lanche, who have the #1 overall pick in the draft, would trade that for Miller or even some package from the Sabres.


Colorado has a new head coach and VP of hockey operations in Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy.

Roy is a legend in Colorado after leading the team to two Stanley Cups. He was brought in by another Avalanche legend, Joe Sakic, who was also a key cog on those Cup winning teams.

Colorado and Buffalo should not be dismissed as trade partners this summer.

Miller is in a similar situation in Buffalo that Roy was in Montreal before the latter demanded a trade. The Sabres #1 goalie has been derided in Buffalo for sub-par performances over the last couple of seasons and he even gave a booing home crowd a mock-wave.

Roy was humiliated in Montreal by his coach in an 11-1 loss. After finally getting pulled by Mario Trembley he said it would be his last game in Montreal.

He was traded to Colorado, won the Cup that same season and the rest is history.

When Miller was asked about similarities between his game and Roy's he said, "It doesn't mean I want to leave, but if that's what you're getting at, the guy won two Stanley Cups. So, hey, why not?"

The guy he's talking about is now in Colorado with questionable goaltending in Semion Varlamov and one would think that he'd rather have a true #1 goalie manning the crease.

Another connection with Roy and the Sabres is that concerning Mikhail Grigorenko.

Grigorenko played under Roy for the Quebec Remparts and had a stellar season before joining the Sabres after the lockout ended.

I'd asked Kris Baker of about the possibility of Roy being highly interested in Grigorenko but Bakes said that the Russian center wasn't a good fit in the locker room after his return to junior.

Even so, it wouldn't be all that surprising if the Sabres an Avalanche hooked up. What the pieces would be is the interesting part.

Friday, May 17, 2013

From the IIHF to the Sharks/Kings plus Lupul and the Leafs collapse

It was a good hockey day yesterday. Was able to catch the most of the Slovakia/Finland game and the Canada/Sweden game yesterday afternoon at the Worlds. Plus, later that night I caught a good portion of the San Jose' Sharks/LA Kings playoff matchup.

A few things about the IIHF games:

--Jhonas Enroth was stout in net for Team Sweden, and as shown when he stifled Canada's Steven Stamkos on a breakaway, he's tough to beat mano-y-mano. Therefore the shootout win. He's done that in Buffalo often over the last couple of seasons with the Sabres. Gotta love his competitive fire.

--Former Sabres' head coach Lindy Ruff was behind the bench for Team Canada. They played a tight defensive game, clogging up the neutral zone and generally playing a cautious game. Enroth's stop on Stamkos was a game-changer as Team Canada could have gone up 2-0 had he connected. Kinda sounds familiar to Sabres fans.

--Team Canada goalie Mike Smith played a solid game. Should the Sabres end up trading Ryan Miller, Smith may be a viable alternative in net. He's coming off a contract that paid him $2M last season. Smith is a solid goalie who has kicked up his game in the playoffs. There are signs of a Tim Thomas like future ahead of him should he land on a Cup-quality team. Wouldn't mind tandem of Enroth and Smith heading into 2013-14. Might be pretty solid. And it won't break the bank either.

--Andrej Sekera scored Slovakia's second goal last night to help them claw back from a 3-0 deficit vs. Finland. The Sabres' defensman playing for his homeland team moved to the center of the ice on the play and blasted a rising shot through a crowd from near the blueline. With a much larger ice-surface in international play, Sekera had plenty of room to skate all through the game. There's a marked difference between his international game and the one he plays on a smaller NHL rink. Which isn't good for the Sabres.


While watching the Sharks/Kings game last night, I couldn't help but notice the smaller ice surface in the NHL and was left to wonder why the biggest players in the world play on a smaller rink.

If the NHL really wanted to improve the game they'd make the ice-surfact bigger. Right?

Of course that would mean hundreds of high dollar seats eliminated and no owner would want that.

Perhaps Commish Gary Bettman and Co. should devise a plan to widen the rinks in the future. Maybe they could use that as a premise for the next lockout when the owners will want to add more to their share of hockey related revenue.


The Kings are a team that knows how to navigate a smaller ice surface, know how to play the North American game, have oodles of talent and sandpaper and are the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

The Sharks had them on the hook last night, but two penalties late in the game allowed the Kings to pull out a victory.

Los Angeles looks primed to hoist the Cup once again.

They're hitting their stride having won six in a row and look very tough to beat.


When the Toronto Maple Leafs blew a three-goal lead in Game-7 at Boston, the anguish that Leafs fans felt should not be wished upon anyone.


if it's gonna happen to any team and fan-base, gotta love that it happened to Toronto (with Vancouver being a very close second.)

Speaking of the Maple Leafs collapse, forward Joffery Lupul was quoted as saying, "that hockey game will haunt me until the day I die."

Karma's a bitch there, Jof.

Better heed the warning signs, buddy. If you screw up in this life, Satan has it all lined up for you in hell:  locked in a hotel room in Buffalo with a continuous loop of your Leafs' third period/overtime, Game-7 collapse.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

LA taking down St. Louis is great on a couple of levels

I've always been a fan of Robyn Regehr.

It's not that I'd followed the Calgary Flames all that much when he was playing for them for a decade, but when I did catch their games I really liked what he brought to the team.

The Sabres for the past seven years have needed more professionalism, more grit, more leadership. Regehr is that type of player and it's players like him who get the respect of hockey world.

Regehr brought those attributes to the Sabres for the nearly two years, but as his rugged style of play began to wear on him a bit, he wasn't quite as effective with the Sabres as he was with the Flames. He's not washed up by any stretch of the imagination, but the load he had to carry in Buffalo, from a leadership and grit perspective, is too much to ask a 33 yr. old player who's never missed more than 14 games in a full season.

It's too bad Sabres GM Darcy Regier opted to pick Dmitri Kalinin one spot ahead of Regehr in the 1998 draft. We could have seen him on a nightly basis smack-dab in his prime. Who knows, maybe the Carolina series would've turned out differently and/or maybe a pro like Chris Drury would've opted to re-sign with Buffalo.

Methinks the past eight seasons would've turned out quite differently--for the better.

Regehr is out in LA now, headed to the second round of the playoffs with his Kings teammates.

Much respect to the Sabres organization for sending him there (for two 2nd-round picks.) It's probably the best possible situation for him to win the Stanley Cup.

The Kings are filled with leadership, skill, grit and tenacity. They're defending their Stanley Cup crown on a shortened season and seem to be hitting their stride right now.

What's asked of Regehr is simply to play his game. Clear the front of the net. Lay some hard hits on the opposition. Help anchor the PK.

For 21:00/game Regehr is simply asked to be the player he is--a tough defensive defenesman.

After spending an entire career being a true professional in both Calgary and Buffalo, the world would be right if he was on the last team standing.


A very young and talented St. Louis Blues team was eliminated in the first round and it exposed a couple of holes in the line-up.

The Kings knocked out the Blues in six games, winning the last four straight. St. Louis scored six goals on 110 shots in those four losses.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch called out management for " inexplicably ignoring the obvious need to add a proven finisher to the lineup."

Miklasz wants a "fearless, cold-blooded sniper that won't get the yips and repeatedly miss putting the puck in the net at crucial moments" in the lineup.

The Sabres Thomas Vanek is a sniper. He can score in a variety of ways from any area of the ice and he's proven he can score in the playoffs.

St. Louis bench-boss Ken Hitchcock had that type of player in Brett Hull when the Dallas Stars defeated the Buffalo Sabres in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals.

Although Vanek is not Brett Hull, he may be the best winger available this off-season for the Blues to acquire.

In 26 playoff games for the Sabres, Vanek has 15 goals. His average shooting percentage over those four appearances is 18.3%.

As the only real offensive weapon for Buffalo in their last two playoffs in 2010 and 2011, he had seven goals in 10 games and shot at rates of 20% and 25% respectively.


Miklasz also points out another flaw in the Blues--goaltending. He says, "[LA Kings goalie] Jonathan Quick  outplayed the Blues' Brian Elliott when pressure seeped into this series."

In blog dating back to the trade deadline, it was noted that the Blues allowed the least number of shots per game in the NHL, but their goalies' save percentage was weak.

It's a trend that bit them again in the first round of the playoffs.

Miklasz points out that over the last three Blues losses to the Kings, Elliott had an .871 sv.%. For the series Elliott had a 1.90 gaa and a .919 sv%. Pretty solid numbers on the whole, but when it really counted those last three games--when Elliott needed to steal a game--an .871 sv.% doesn't get the job done.

Elliott is what he is--a real strong back-up who can play like a starter on a number of occasions, but isn't that bonafide #1 goalie.

The Blues have a potential #1 goalie in Jake Allen, but at a very young 22 yrs. old, he still has a lot of growing to do.

The Sabres' Ryan Miller is a bonafide #1 goalie who has proven that he can steal a game or two in the playoffs.

Just look back on the Philadelphia series two years ago when he had two shutouts vs. the Flyers. The Fly-boys had possibly the best group of forwards in the NHL that year. The Sabres countered with one of the worst defenses in the playoffs that year. Of the eight d-men who dressed for that series, only three remain.

Miller is highly regarded throughout the league (outside of Buffalo, of course) and has a way of getting in the opposition's heads. If he doesn't need to worry about his defensemen playing the game properly, he's out high in his crease challenging shooters.

And when he's on, he's real tough to beat.

It wouldn't be surprising to see the Blues and the Sabres hook-up in the off-season. St. Louis needs a sniper like Vanek and could justify bringing in a bonafide #1 goalie like Miller.

The Blues also have a bevy of young talent throughout the organization with, according to Hockey's Future, depth and talent at center and on defense in the pipeline. They have size, skill and grit on the big club. And they have so much youth that moving a 1st-round draft pick this season and/or next will not set the organization back that much.

They need to make a move for some vets to fill the two holes Miklasz points out.

And the Sabres would be the team to call.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Quinn and Regier/Black and Regier--Same Sh*t, Different Owner...

and it's the last thing Sabres nation needed.

The boys at the Buffalo News' were ready to rumble at the end of year presser on Monday.

They couldn't wait to get at the two representatives of the Buffalo Sabres sitting in front of them--Team President Ted Black and GM Darcy Regier.

The News' Mike Harrington got the mike first and immediately dove into the organization.

When he asked Black to "end all speculation" concerning the status of Regier, his first question wasn't really a question, but a statement of disbelief.

Everyone knew that Regier was still on board. He was right there in front of them.

Was Regier still GM? "Yes," was Black's direct answer to the "question."

What Harrington was really trying to get at, as he asked the follow-up, was why, after six years of failure, and when the Sabres fired their longtime coach, is Regier still GM?

Black's answer started chronological, "the decision to extend [Regier] into next year was made before the lockout ended," then turned evasive, "the reality is...," he continued.

Let's stop right there.

The reality is, this team is a mess.

The reality is, this team has being mismanaged on the hockey side--Regier's side--and it seems to be severely affecting the business side--Black's side.

The reality is, Regier's team did not make the playoffs two years running and it's affecting Black's bottom line.

The reality is, owner Terry Pegula listened to his senior advisor, Ken Sawyer, as the latter called Regier a "hockey genius" and it's strained the relationship between owner and fans.

The reality is, the "hockey genius" is causing Black to lose tens of millions of his owners money, much more than anyone ever thought.

The reality is, Black's "Hockey Heaven" in Buffalo is now "Hockey Hell" and an owner who once said his main job is to be liked is now being vilified for what amounts to the incompetence of his two main charges.

Despite Pegula's lavish expenditures on everything from a newly refurbished dressing room to expensive free agent contracts, the present state of the Sabres seems to be nothing more than extension of the Tom Golisano regime.

Black's responses at the presser exposed a very troubling trait. His owner who once said "if I want to make money, I'll drill another well" has such a financial mess on his hands that the team is relying on league welfare for the second season in a row. Just like the previous regime did.

The multi-billionaire has a team president who said they had to raise ticket prices, not because of a league mandate like he initially intimated, but because the Sabres must show year over year revenue growth in order to be eligible for revenue sharing.

Said Black, "the entire process allows this franchise to still qualify unencumbered for revenue sharing. The 4% ticket price increase, is about an obligation [to the league] to raise money so you don't jeopardize that revenue stream."

With Sabres' ticket prices in the bottom quarter of the league, according to Black, they're losing bushels of money because they havent' made the playoffs.

Losses could be in the area of $10M per year outside of the playoffs. And that includes revenue sharing.

No owner, no matter how well off, should be expected to lose that amount of money year over year.

As Black said, "I can't get drunk off Terry's wealth and assume he's going to live forever and he's going to spend money forever."

Turns out we were all drunk on his wealth when he bought the team.

But none moreso than the GM.

With the financial chains off, Regier proceeded to:
  • eat Ales Kotalik's $3M contract in the Robyn Regehr trade
  • sign Christian Ehrhoff to a 10-yr./$40M contract, $18M of it in the first two years
  • sign Ville Leino to a 6 yr./$27M contract
  • bury Shoane Morrison's $2M contract in the minors
  • re-sign Tyler Myers to a 7 yr./$38.5M contract with a $10M bonus paid out this year
  • re-sign Andrej Sekera to a 4 yr./$11M contract with $7.5M paid out the first two years 
Also the team will be eating what's left on former coach Lindy Ruff's contract.

That sucking sound you hear is the sound of millions of dollars being thrown away on a team that failed to make the playoffs--again.

So why, after two years of futility on the ice and with a team hemorrhaging money, would they want to keep Regier on board?

Maybe it's about money--again.

It would make sense that they wouldn't want to eat Regier's contract and pay a new GM in the process.

Right now the Sabres have still have Regier in charge as they continue to dismantle his core. He's proven capable of moving players for a good return like he did when trading core players Paul Gaustad, Derek Roy and Jason Pominville over the last 18 months or so.

Two more of his core, who happen to be the two best players on the roster--Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek--look to be on the move as well, and the return will probably be mostly picks and prospects.

Financially, there isn't really much more damage Regier can do to the organization by trading high-priced veterans for picks and/or prospects.

What does all this mean?

One would expect that Regier's hand in the rebuild may be limited to the dismantling part. The Sabres will probably be heading into the 2013/14 as the youngest team in the NHL and will be relying on Head Amateur Scout/Assistant GM Kevin Devine to mold the future through draft picks and prospects.

Higher priced vets like Christian Ehrhoff, Steve Ott and Ville Leino, as well as underachieving Drew Stafford will probably remain for a variety of reasons. The Sabres still need to put a product on the ice, they'll still have the cap-floor to reach and they'll still need some veteran leadership.

We should not, however, expect any big splashes in free agency with high-priced players coming to Buffalo this off season.

And with the salary cap going down, the Sabres payroll going down, not paying for two GM's next season, and ticket prices increasing, Black should be able to keep the team finances in check for the upcoming season.

It should also be assumed that the team will retain interim head coach Ron Rolston for another year. As the team continues to pay Ruff's salary, it makes sound financial sense to keep a coach on the cheap.

This attention to the bottom line is what the team went through from 2007-2011 when Golisano owned the team and had his "just break even" mandate to then team president--and part-owner--Larry Quinn.

Same shit, different owner for Sabres fans which is the last thing Sabres-nation needed.