When last season finished the Sabres had just missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Tensions were high amongst the fans and fingers were pointed. Some fingers were pointed at the head coach Lindy Ruff, some fingers pointed at the players (mostly for being too soft), some fingers pointed towards injuries and some fingers pointed at Darcy Regier and Sabres management.
By the time the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisted the Stanley Cup it seemed that all fingers pointed directly at Darcy Regier and Larry Quinn. After-all they were the guys that broke up our championship team. They let Jay McKee, J.P. Dumont, Chris Drury and Daniel Briere leave via free agency and they traded away Brian Campbell. There was nobody else to blame, it was all their fault.
Things were so bad in Sabres camp that Larry Quinn stated publicly that they were going to hold meetings to decide the future of head coach Lindy Ruff and General Manager Darcy Regier. The meetings were probably more of a PR move than anything else and both guys kept their jobs as expected. After the meetings there was a promise of change within the organization. At the time we had no idea what that meant but now it's clear they meant a complete overall of the teams philosophy.
Regier has made plenty of moves this off-season and he still has over a month to make even more moves. We can't grade the entire off-season but enough has been done for us to recap the past month and a half.
|2008 - Jaroslav Spacek||80||8||37||45||2||38||4||0||0||0||130||6.2|
Spacek was the Sabres best defenseman last year but he was too much money for the Sabres to even consider re-signing him. The Sabres have plenty of defensive depth in the organization and it was obvious that Spacek was not going to fit in their long term plans. He was eventually overpaid by the Montreal Canadiens and the rest is history.
|2008 - Teppo Numminen||57||2||15||17||-4||22||1||0||1||0||34||5.9|
By all indications Numminen is a great guy and he was once a great hockey player. Unfortunately age and injuries had finally caught up to him and made him half the player he once was. It was probably a tough decision but Numminen eventually decided to end his career and officially retire from the NHL.
|2008 - Mikael Tellqvist||6||230||2||1||0||1||9||2.35||125||116||.928||0|
Tellqvist was looking to be a starting goalie and that wasn't going to happen in the NHL. Tellqvist decided that there was no better time than now to head back over to Europe and join the KHL. He was solid in his short time with the Sabres but did not fit into the Sabres plans with Lalime still under contract.
|2008 - Steve Montador||78||4||17||21||17||143||0||0||0||0||117||3.4|
Montador was the one player that the Sabres targeted from the outset of free agency. Nobody expected the Sabres to sign anyone on July 1 but they surprised us all by signing Montador. Montador is a solid stay at home defenseman that brings some toughness to the lineup. He isn't going to be the toughest player on the ice in most cases but he gives the Sabres some sandpaper on the blue line.
There is no doubt that Dipenta was brought to Buffalo to add some veteran depth to a group of young defensemen that will start the season in Portland. He is another player that won't shy away from physical play and he has won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks. This was purely a depth move.
|2008 - Cody McCormick||55||1||11||12||-5||92||0||0||0||0||66||1.5|
McCormick was signed for one reason and one reason only. He is 6'3" and 215 pounds. In addition he won't back down from anyone. His stat line isn't impressive but his 92 penalty minutes in only 55 games jump right off the page. He also had 115 hits last season which isn't listed above. McCormick is likely to bounce back and forth between Buffalo and Portland and play a physical game at both levels.
|2008 - Mike Grier||62||10||13||23||8||25||0||1||2||0||108||9.3|
This is the Sabres most publicized signing of the off-season because he has a history with the Sabres. Grier brings even more toughness to the Sabres lineup and he can contribute offensively as well. He is the perfect fit as a third line right winger and will eat up minutes on the penalty kill. It was obvious that Lindy Ruff liked Grier in is first stint with the Sabres and he will probably lean heavily on his talents again this season.
There is still a month before training camp starts and just under two months till the season begins for the Buffalo Sabres. If the team didn't make another move how would you rate Darcy Regier this off-season. What would you have done differently? What was his best move? What was the worst