Reason to Get Excited: Hope. There finally seems to be some of it in Buffalo and Pegula is the primary catalyst behind that. After years of putting together competitive teams on a shoe-string budget only to see players leave for more cash, Pegula has beefed up the team's roster and payroll significantly. If the team prospers from the new acquisitions, the city could become a destination of choice instead of a launching pad.
I'm growing tired of our season previews reading about Pegula's purchase of the team and his commitment to winning the cup. His passion for success. His willingness to throw green around for the betterment of the team. His -
Regier is well-respected around the league and obviously trusted by Pegula, but if the new high-priced additions don't produce, the Sabres might find the GM easier to replace than long-time head coach Lindy Ruff.
That's an interesting take.
It's the old "who do you want to blame" argument. Blame Regier for the "wrong" players, or blame Ruff for not getting the best out of the players brought in.
I have a feeling it's going to be a BIG year for agendas around here....
It would be hard to ask for a better offseason than what the Buffalo Sabres experienced this summer.
It's not as if the Sabres are now locks to win the Eastern Conference, but they're no longer fighting an uphill battle financially, and the infusion of cash from new owner Terry Pegula has allowed GM Darcy Regier to improve the roster, making it as deep as it has been in years.
Upgrades in the offseason make the Sabres a more interesting team, no doubt, but the team's improved depth may be more beneficial in the standings than it is for individual player production.
Key additions: D Robyn Regehr, F Ales Kotalik, F Ville Leino, D Christian Ehrhoff
Key losses: D Steve Montador, F Rob Niedermayer, F Tim Connolly, F Mike Grier
For the second straight season the Sabres were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs and that didn't sit well with new owner Terry Pegula. In an emotional press conference last February, Pegula stated that the only reason for the club's existence would be to win a Cup, and he backed up those words this summer by giving general manager Darcy Regier the freedom to spend.
Regier responded by adding high-priced players like Christian Ehrhoff, Ville Leino, Ales Kotalik and Robyn Regehr, who combined represent a $15 million cap hit for the upcoming season. Christian Erhoff, who had 14 goals and 50 points with Vancouver last season, will add some offense to the blueline while Regehr will be a stabilizing force in front of the net. That should help Ryan Miller re-capture his Vezina form after putting up a rather normal 2.59 goals against average and .916 save percentage last season.
Up front Leino will provide some more scoring punch alongside Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford and Jason Pominville, who all put up more than 50 points last season, while Tyler Ennis will look to build upon his own impressive 49-point rookie campaign. The Sabres just might be the most exciting team to watch in the division next season and could be good enough to challenge for the conference title.