The Buffalo Sabres had two fundamental necessities they had to add heading into this year's trade deadline: an offensive defenseman or a gritty forward. Darcy Regier kept the deals short and sweet by acquiring Raffi Torres from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Nathan Paetsch and a 2010 second-round pick.
Then, he sent Clarke MacArthur to Atlanta with a third and fourth-round pick arriving for him. Although the puck-moving defender didn't arrive, Regier made two fantastic moves that are sure to assist Buffalo for the stretch drive heading into the postseason and the future.
Two players, one that wasn't utilized quite enough and the other who couldn't create peace of mind with his actions, have concluded their time in Buffalo. In return, a player who is a symbol of hard-work and tenacity enters the equation along with a couple of early draft choices.
An analysis of both trades after the jump:
|2009 - Raffi Torres||60||19||12||31||-8||32||7||0||3||0||99||19.2|
Allow me to introduce the newest leading-scorer on the Buffalo Sabres. Torres has that sandpaper element and toughness that the organization has often wondered if they'd ever see during those losses where players are often worried about taking a hit in the dirty areas. And the 28-year-old adds an extra forward with a scoring touch (one goal away from his fourth 20-goal campaign).
The salary is very manageable at $2.4 million and some have gone as far as to mention this is one of the best deals of day, maybe not in terms of it being a blockbuster, but how it suits the club. Michael Peca thinks of Torres as a game-changer and while that may be questionable, he's an energetic guy who can pick this team up in the midst of an awful period.
Paetsch's numbers have dropped in every category from games played to points since 2007, his first full year in the NHL. Able to play defense or the wing position, he has some work to do in order to further develop and possibly become a stalwart elsewhere which he wasn't here because of how many defensemen are already aiming for a roster spot.
The 26-year-old has offensive potential and fine skating ability much like Kris Russell and Anton Stralman of the Blue Jackets. What really could boost Columbus' depth is his eligibility to play either defense or up front considering their consistency issues from game-to-game and the fact that new interim head coach Claude Noel hasn't quite found the best line combinations.
Of course, the x-factor is the second-round pick that can land them a player whose road into the league wouldn't virtually take very long. Physicality and zest were what Buffalo needed and they found it from a player than can also contribute onto the score-sheet regularly. Regier basically solved the problem and then some with just an individual who didn't really fit into the blueprint being sent the other way.
|2009 - Clarke MacArthur||60||13||13||26||-14||47||3||0||3||0||99||13.1|
I wish I could call MacArthur an enigma but I can't. He had his moments but they weren't like that of Maxim Afinogenov's or even Ales Kotalik. What I'm referring to are the modest point streaks followed by much larger droughts that became habits. The former third-round pick didn't carry a large salary; it was just time to move on to a different place.
His defensive lapses were the subject of criticism and it wasn't as if the production (79 points in 187 games) made up for it. Unless MacArthur plans on becoming someone as potent as Ilya Kovalchuk on one side of the rink, he'll have to take a greater hand into back-checking, defensive responsibilities, shot-blocking, etc.
Afinogenov, who has been a successful story for the most part with the Thrashers, will likely have some advice prepared for his
former new teammate. MacArthur's time was winding down in Buffalo and his new destination could serve him tremendously as they aren't very adequate at keeping pucks out of their net (third-worst in the Eastern Conference).
John Anderson may give him the green light to attack immediately and plug him somewhere on the powerplay. I'd like to welcome Torres to the team and wish MacArthur the best of luck in his future.
You have to do what you have to do and Darcy Regier did what he had to do.