Thomas Vanek was the only Buffalo Sabres player selected to play in the All-Star game that took place Sunday. It was an easy decision to select Vanek as the Sabres representative. He leads the team with 28 goals and is among the league leaders, tied with Zach Parise (New Jersey) and behind Jeff Carter (Flyers) who has 30. Vanek proved his worth as an All-Star by leading the Sabres in goals, power play goals and shorthanded goals.
Choosing Vanek was an easy choice but if the Sabres were only going to get one player, they selected the wrong guy. Vanek is a great player and deserved to be an All-Star but not at the expense of Derek Roy. There is no doubt that Derek Roy has been and is the best player on the team.
Since the Sabres lost Danny Briere and Chris Drury, everyone is quick to point out the Sabres struggles. What they fail to recognize, is the emergence of Derek Roy as this teams best player. Maybe it's because of his reputation as a diver or maybe it's because he sometimes coasts to the nbench when making a change but nobody talks about Derek Roy as an elite player.
If the All-Star team is selected based on statistics than Derek Roy should do well. he is the Sabres team leader in many categories. He leads all Sabres Forwrads in ice time, averaging almost 22 minutes a game. He leads the team in even strength goals (14) and game winning goals (6). He also leads the team in points with 44 (18 goals-26 assists).
The Sabres have struggled when 5-on-5 all season as is evident by the plus/minus statistics. Only five Sabres players have a plus rating and Derek Roy is one of them with a plus two. Even more impressive is the fact that Roy had a slow start to the season and found himself in the minus for the first month of the season. Included in the list of five players are rookies Chris Butler and Nathan Gerbe and Gerbe played only six games. That makes Drew Stafford (+7), Derek Roy (+2) and Adam Mair (+2) as the only players with a plus rating on the Sabres roster.
Derek Roy has proven to be the Sabres best player and it's time that the world take notice. The scary thing is... Roy hasn't reached his full potential yet. It took Roy some time to adjust to the pro game but he has steadily improved and should continue to improve.