FanPost

Making the Most of the Offseason


One of the most fun things to do in the offseason (at least from my perspective) is to look around the league and see what kind of assets could be added to improve our team for next year. Ideas have already been thrown around (trading for Brad Richards, etc.) but I thought I'd throw my two cents in. These aren't necessarily moves I think Darcy is likely to make but they are certainly possible moves for a team to make and it would be great if that team was us.

 

First up is Patrick Sharp and Chicago. I'm not an expert on the Salary Cap but I'm pretty sure if entering next year you have 14 players signed and a projected -700,000 cap space (the cap isn't projected to change much for next season) you're in a bit of trouble. Even if Chicago bought out Cristobal Huet's contract and filled the rest of their roster (3 forwards, 2 defenders, 2 goalies) with the cheapest players they could find they still wouldn't be under the cap. According to buyout rules they'd have to pay Huet $2,812,500 each year for the next 4 years, they'd be $2,162,502 over the cap according to capgeek. They're going to have to move someone. Brian Campbell, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Jonathan Toews all have some form of No Trade Clause and thus aren't going to be moved. My proposition would be to trade Drew Stafford and a pick for Patrick Sharp. Obviously Chicago is losing out on this deal but from their prospective they would be shedding 2 million from their salary cap and the pick could soften the blow of trading a steady 20 goal scorer for someone who has only scored 20 goals once. They might even hope that Stafford could step it up and provide enough offense that the drop-off from Sharp would be less noticeable. Sharp makes 3,900,000 through 2011-2012 and would bring leadership (wore the A in Chicago) and goal scoring (20, 36, 26, and 25 goals in his last four seasons) to the Sabres. He's also a relatively big body who I think would look great opposite Vanek on a top line. Chicago might also look to simply trade Sharp for picks in order to free up more cap space by signing a league minimum player to take his place. If that's the case, I'd be for that trade as well provided the pick compensation wasn't exorbitant.

Reasons it could happen:

  • Buffalo has the cap room to accomodate the trade and Chicago desperately needs a bit more cap room.
  • Trading a RW for a RW is simple and won't leave either team weak at a position.
  • Chicago could be the change of scenery Stafford needs much like it was for Sharp five seasons ago.

Reasons it won't happen:

  • Chicago is actually relatively weak at center outside of Toews and Sharp had been pushed inside for them but Stafford will not be able to make the same transition.
  • Chicago is likely to look at options such as trading Huet before this and though it might be difficult to find a team willing to take on Huet's contract based on his production there's always a chance.
  • Buffalo has little in the way of cheap but good players to offer Chicago, and those are likely to be the kind of players Chicago targets in any kind of trade.

 

 

Next up is a player who was first brought to my attention by fellow commenter Ogre39666 in another post. Ogre suggested trading Pominville, Butler, and Legace / 3rd rounder for Joni Pitkanen. Pominville actually has a NTC of sorts and is, in my opinion, unlikely to be moved (especially to Carolina, a team I think would definitely be on Pommer's No Trade List). That being said, Carolina is in trouble right now with Brind'Amour on his way out and the team in relative disarray. They'll likely be looking for youngsters for the most part and might be enticed by a package including some combination of Tim Kennedy, Nathan Gerbe, Mark Mancari, Chris Butler / Andrej Sekera, and / or pick(s) to go along with their 7th overall pick in this year's draft. At just 26, Pitkanen could be a staple on our blue line for a while and would help make our defense a real strength of our team with lots of young talented players. We also have the cap room to absorb his $4,000,000 salary for this year and would be able to extend him next year pending what happens with Connolly and what it costs to retain our many youngsters (Tyler Myers is going to command a hefty contract in 2012-2013).

Reasons it could happen:

  • Teams rebuilding often look for new young talent to build around, something the Sabres seem to have quite a bit of.
  • The Sabres could use help on their PP desperately and Pitkanen could be a PP QB.
  • Acquiring another offensively gifted D-man would take pressure off of Myers to fulfill that role and could mitigate any sophomore slump he might experience.

Reasons it won't happen:

  • No GM likes trading away lots of young talent, especially before its been given a chance to show its full potential.
  • Trading mostly forwards for a defenseman leaves each team with an imbalance at a position, Carolina would be short on defense (where they are already thin) while the Sabres would be overstocked.
  • Pitkanen is a big (and young) part of Carolina's roster and would likely require more than unproven youngsters to pry him away.

 

 

Another player mentioned in another post (though I can't recall where) was another Blackhawk, Dustin Byfuglien. His $3,000,000 salary for this year might prove to be too high for Chicago and might put him on the trading block. Byfuglien is a big kid who has shown some talent at putting the puck in the net (17, 15, and 19 goals in his last three seasons in Chicago). At the same time he was a -7 this year on a very good Chicago team, a worrying stat considering John Madden (-2) and Jack Skille (-3) were the only other negative players on that team. Like Patrick Sharp, Byfuglien would only be moved as a means to free up cap space and thus Chicago would likely want either a replacement RW in return (such as Stafford) or picks. If given the choice between Sharp and Byfuglien, Sharp is the easy and obvious choice. However, if Sharp is not available Byfuglien would be an admirable consolation prize. The Sabres have the room to welcome Byfuglien but are likely to have much more interest in Sharp. I hope the Sabres don't overvalue Byfuglien after that hat trick he scored against the Canucks (it's likely to be his only career playoff hat trick) but if the price (in picks) is right this could be a good trade. Considering Chicago's situation Byfuglien should be available for very cheap. Other players that could similarly be available include Kris Versteeg and Dave Bolland.

Reasons it could happen:

  • Chicago needs to make room in their salary cap and dropping Byfuglien's 3 million salary would go a long way.

Reasons it won't happen:

  • The Sabres might be weary of adding a player who doesn't seem to be effective at both ends of the ice, Byfuglien is a career -15 in five seasons, only one of which did he have a positive +/- in.

 

 

 

And lastly, a regular FA signing, though admittedly it's a super long shot. The San Jose Sharks are not going to be able to sign Patrick Marleau. Not if they want to keep Pavelski and Nabakov. Personally I'd rather get my hands on Pavelski, even if it meant giving up picks because he's an RFA. But realistically, the Sharks would be insane to let Pavelski go anywhere and I just don't see that happening which leaves Marleau the odd man out. Now I know this is exactly the kind of signing that Darcy never makes, but it's fun to dream sometimes anyway. Marleau made $6,300,000 this year in San Jose, a hefty contract but one the Sabres could absorb if they were committed to it. To do so the Sabres would have to let at least one of Tallinder and Lydman go (which will probably happen anyway), resign Kennedy, Weber, and Kaleta to cap-friendly contracts in the $1,000,000 per year range (possible), get Marleau to agree to keep his current salary or take a slight pay cut (possible but not likely), and be willing to spend right up to the cap (not very likely). If those four things did happen and the Sabres did somehow land Marleau he would not only be a great addition to our top line (Marleau is a true point-per-game player taken 2nd overall in the 1997 draft) but would take tons of pressure off our other centers by allowing them to play on lines more suited to their abilities (Roy would become a second line center, Connolly a third).

Reasons it could happen:

  • The Sabres will be able to attract players who want to be playing hockey after the regular season ends.
  • The Sabres have (though just barely) the room to absorb a big contract like Marleau will command.
  • Marleau is easily the best center available in the FA class this year and center is a position of need for the Sabres.

Reasons it won't happen:

  • Marleau is going to be one of the hottest commodities in the FA market (along with Kovalchuk) and practically every team is going to be interested. Other teams with much more cap room (Florida, NYI, Carolina, LA) and desire for a number one center will be willing to throw much more money than the Sabres can his way.
  • Darcy Regier.



Well, there you have it. Again, not moves I think are likely to happen just ones that are plausible and would, in my opinion, be great for the Sabres. I think in the end we all know Darcy is likely to make some move but it will likely be relatively unexpected and low profile. I'm not complaining, most of these low profile moves have worked out well, but sometimes you just want your team to make a splash. I didn't place these trades in any order, but if I had to I would say that trading for Patrick Sharp would probably be my favorite, followed by acquiring Patrick Marleau. Trading for Byfuglien, Versteeg, or Bolland would be my least favorite of these trades.


P.S. - I would also be in favor of offering Sam Ganger a ludicrous contract to either steal him form Edmonton or force them to pay exorbitantly for him but Brian Burke might beat us to that. I hate Kevin Lowe.

This is a FanPost written by a member of the community. It does not necessarily express the views or opinions of Die By The Blade.

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