About a year ago now I started my tenure as a writer here at Die By The Blade with a fanpost that was moved to the front page. It was entitled My Offseason Moves. Clever I know. The premise was/is obvious. If I were Darcy Regier, what tweaks would I make to upgrade the roster?
There are three ways in which to build a team in the offseason: trades, free agency (both unrestricted and restricted), and the draft. Last year, I dealt with each of those in one larger post. This year, I'm breaking them down and analyzing each aspect individually. Oh there's one more big difference. Instead of spending Tom Golisano's money, now I'm spending fifteen percent more on the payroll, though it remains uncertain what that will actually translate to.
Nevertheless, if I am the GM (and a $60M cap to work with) these are the following moves that I would make to improve this club. Check out Part One-the Draft after the jump.Draft
1st Round (# 16) Sven Baertschi-LW Portland Winterhawks, WHL. The Switzerland native very may well be off the board by the time the Sabres pick, but if he is available-he's the pick. Baertschi, who was the third leading scorer (34-51-85) for the Winterhawks during the regular season and the team's second leading scorer in the playoffs (10-17-27), was named the WHL's Western Conference rookie of the year.
The Swiss winger has excellent hands and vision and is pretty good in his own zone too. He's also a WHL product, which has produced three first round Sabres' selections the last three years (Mark Pysyk, Tyler Myers, Tyler Ennis). Baertschi actually compares quite well with Ennis, though he's slightly bigger. He eats, breathes, and sleeps hockey, as his coach states "we have to tell him to get off the ice 45 minutes after practice ends. He stays out there forever to work on his game."
Sven Bärtschi - Turbo Time (via YanthaCanada)
Other Possibilities: Boone Jenner-C Oshawa Generals, OHL
Brandon Saad-LW Saginaw Spirit, OHL
Matt Puempel-LW Peterborough Petes, OHL
Next Up: Part Two-Restricted Free Agents