I know that you think I've lost my mind. You are probably saying " uh oh, D.O. has officially lost his mind", followed by " and he thinks Bucky is an idiot?" I haven't lost my mind. In fact it's quite the opposite. I have looked at these two players and I see a similar but more talented player in Derek Roy than I do Danny Briere.
In many ways Briere and Roy are similar players. I think that Roy learned a lot from Briere and it shows in the way he plays. All of the things that people hate about Derek Roy (i.e. taking dives, lazy back checking, lazy shift changes, getting out-muscled in the corners, afraid to take a hit) were traits of Briere. Despite being similar players Briere was looked at as a hero and Roy is chastised by the fans.
It is not a surprise that Roy plays a lot like Briere. Briere became a superstar while he was with the Sabres. As a young player I'm sure Roy looked up to Briere in many ways. Why wouldn't he? Briere was a successful player despite being criticized for his size. Derek Roy was similar in size and was hoping to be as successful as Briere and therefore he modeled his game after him.
We sometimes forget that Derek Roy is only 25 years-old and will be only 26 when next season begins. At the age of 25 Danny Briere was traded from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Buffalo Sabres because he was not living up to expectations. Admittedly the Coyotes were giving up too soon on a player that had scored 32 goals just one season earlier but the point is the same.
Shouldn't we learn from other people's mistakes? It's not hard to find a message board or a blog that thinks that Derek Roy should be traded away. Somehow Derek Roy is being blamed for everything that is wrong with this team. It's funny that the same people that were (and maybe still are) upset that Danny Briere was allowed to leave are calling for Derek Roy to be traded away despite being the most consistent player on the team.
Last season was only the fifth season in the NHL for Derek Roy. In his five seasons he has accomplished more than Briere had accomplished by the age of 25. Roy has averaged over 20 goals a season and has scored over 20 goals in three of his five seasons. Roy had a career high 32 goals in the 2007-2008 season matching the career high for Briere. Briere has had 32 goals twice in his career and once before the age of 25.
Before the age of 26 Briere had some flashes of briliance with the Coyotes but it wasn't until 2005-2006, at the age of 28 while with the Sabres that Briere established himself as a superstar. In that season he scored 25 goals and 33 assists for 58 points in only 48 games. He followed that up with the best season of his career, scoring 32 goals and 63 assists for 95 points in his last season in Buffalo.
If Roy is following the same career path as Briere than his best days are still ahead of him. Giving up on Roy at this point of his career would be a huge mistake. Like it or not, Derek Roy is probably the best player on this team. He can play in both ends of the ice (when he wants to), he is crafty with the puck and he makes other people around him better. That is another trait that Briere had...he made other people aroud him better.
Only time will tell where the two players career will go from here but at the current pace I expect big things from Derek Roy. He is an outstanding player that is on the verge of becoming a superstar.
The Size Comparison
Derek Roy Career Stats
|2008 - Derek Roy||356||108||171||279||+38|
Danny Briere Career Stats before turning 26
|2008 - Danny Briere||282||77||81||153||-18|