Saturday, June 14, 2014

Apparently, Sabres owner Terry Pegula has his sights set on the Bills

Reprinted with permission form

When Sabres owner Terry Pegula announced famously said at his first presser that if he wanted to make money "he'd drill another well," he could have said, "if I needed cash, I'll just sell some land."

Which is what he did this past week, to the tune of $1.75 billion.

The "gas well" quote was in reference to the possibility of losing money and it was coming on the heels of a frugal owner who's dictate was to "break even."

The direct quote from Pegula's presser goes like this, "I want to run the team to win the Stanley Cup. If I wanna make some money I'll go dig a gas well, I don't need to make it in the hockey business."

When word surfaced through The Buffalo News' Tim Graham that Pegula sold 75,000 acres of land for $1.75B, it wasn't that difficult to put two and two together. In this instance, 2+2= The Buffalo Bills.

According to Adam Benigni of WGRZ TV, Pegula is getting ready to make a bid on the Buffalo Bills when "the valuation of the franchise is complete."

The Bills may end up being sold for somewhere between $750M to $1B.

Pegula came away with about $3B from his $4.7B sale of East Resources, which would be about a 64% net. Using that same formula, a sale of $1.75B would net him just over $1B, or enough to pull out his wallet and pay the man.

It's a great thing for the Bills and a great thing for the Western New York area as Pegula is committed to keeping the franchise in Buffalo.

Not that Pegula is some saint doing this for altruistic reasons. He's almost guaranteed to make money in the NFL as are all the owners. What he does have, though, is a commitment to Western New York and he hasn't forgotten the places that have made a difference in his life. Pegula's wife, Kim, is from Rochester.

I like what Pegula has done for the Buffalo Sabres thus far and would think that he'll make the same commitment to the Bills to win the Super Bowl.

The haters are gonna hate and will be pointing to last year's team as  possibly the worst in the history of the franchise.

Pegula and his charges allowed former GM Darcy Regier to follow the blueprint Regier laid out unfettered by financial constraints.

Unfortunately it imploded.

But beneath the surface of all the "big city" signings, bold proclamations, dressing room makeovers was a long-term commitment to building a franchise through drafting and player development.

At his first presser as owner Pegula mentioned that there's no salary cap on scouting and player development and he said that he would increase his scouting budget.

The team went from a reliance on video scouting (The VideoScout 3000 as penned by our own jtswinehart) to the tune of 26 scouts now in the employ of the Buffalo Sabres, including an increased presence overseas.

Lost in the "reason for the Sabres existence" quote from Pegula that day was this, "Starting today," he said, "we will bring in more player development coaches, we will aspire to be the best in the league and finding, developing and keeping our players."

Randy Cunneyworth was brought back into the fold last season and is now Special Assistant and Player Development Coach.

Those two areas take time to come to fruition and for a franchise that has not won the Stanley Cup in over 40 years, patience has grown pretty thin.

And the person now in charge as GM, Tim Murray, has a scouting background and is known as a strong evaluator of talent.

One cannot question Pegula's commitment to Western New York, and if he does successfully purchase the Bills, Buffalo fans need not worry about either of their franchises moving.

Which is a good thing for Buffalo fans.

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