Darcy Regier was a guest today with Boomer Gordon and Mike Ross on XM Radio and it was the most candid I have heard him speak all off-season. Usually Darcy is very vague when he speaks and doesn't divulge a lot of information but this conversation was different. Darcy was pretty outspoken on a number of Sabres and NHL related topics.
Darcy spoke about the Sabres off-season (you'll be surprised what he said), how the mid-level player is becoming extinct, Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers and how salaries can create chemistry issues within a team.
Darcy was asked specifically "if he was happy with the Sabres off-season and if he was basically done". His answer was an emphatic "NO". He said "we're still working on some things but honestly it's a difficult market". I tend to agree that it's difficult to make a move with another team because of salary constraints that most franchises are facing.
The Sabres are in a position that they need to dump some salary to make anymore moves and that is not likely to happen anytime soon. There are still players available via free agency that can help other teams without giving up any assets, so most teams won't be in a hurry to give up assets for over-priced players.
I don't expect the Sabres to make a blockbuster deal and I certainly don't expect them to sign one of the upper-level free agents that are still available but there may a couple of minor moves left before the season. I would like to see a third line Center and possibly a puck moving defenseman.
Drew Stafford Negotiations
There is not a whole lot of new information to report. Regier stated that he was working hard to get Stafford signed and he was hopeful that a deal would be done before the pre-season starts. He better work harder. Stafford is a key part of this offense and he needs to be here throughout training camp in order to get comfortable going into the season.
Stafford put up career highs is goals and points last season and is likely to get a big raise. He is still young and is likely to get even better over the next couple of seasons. He has the talent to become an elite player in this league and I would hate to see that happen somewhere other than Buffalo.
Darcy sounded like a school girl he was so excited about Tyler Myers. You could tell by the pitch of his voice that he was excited about the future of Myers and he implied that future could be this season. Myers will definitely have an opportunity to make the club but he may be pushed out by a numbers game. If the Sabres can't trade away a defenseman than Myers will likely be playing this season in Kelowna. Myers will play in a Sabres uniform at some point this season but it's not clear if it will be the entire season at this point.
The Demise of the Mid-Level Player
The salaries that are being handed out to the star players have created salary issues for many teams in the NHL. Because of the increase in salaries the mid-level ($1-$2.5 million) players are being affected. They are forced to either sign for less, retire or play in another league (in this case Europe). James Mirtle had a post about this topic last week.
Along the same lines as the topic above is the chemistry issues that this causes. With a salary cap there is only a specific amount of money that is available for salaries. If only a couple of players are using up that salary there is less for the other players. It's easy to see guys that are making a million a season being cold towards the $6 million player. This is probably an issue with every team and not the just the Sabres but I would guess that is an issue here as well.
In all it was a very interesting interview by Darcy Regier. It seems like he is reluctant to talk to the local media but seems to open up when he talks to the national media. Could that have something to do with the attacks a couple of years ago? It probably does and that is a shame.