I heard many Sabres fans and media members on Buffalo talk radio several years ago proclaiming they needed to make vigorous moves in addition to the “tank”. If you were not a fan at that time or were comfortably nestled under a voluminous boulder, the lottery that year had a different set of NHL rules.
The rules stated that the team in last place could win the lottery, and the right to draft Connor McDavid, however, if that team failed to secure to the top pick, they automatically received the second selection. That particular year had two generational players as they say. The Oilers won the lottery and obviously selected McDavid. After Tim Murray cleaned up the tears like a child, the Sabres drafted Jack Eichel. The team’s success has not been there, yet he has been everything advertised. So Murray’s efforts of making sure they did not win successfully landed him his franchise player. His love affair or “man crush” on Mcdavid no longer meant a thing as he would be playing way out in Alberta.
Aggressive moves by the GM, Tim Murray, landed the Sabres both Evander Kane and Ryan O’Reilly. These two players were both high on fans and media’s “wish lists”. It is not very often that radio show hosts and thousands of fans specifically name one player, let alone two, that would be almost a dream if they were secured in a trade. As huge of a story as it was when they landed the two players, the route out of town was far less the talk around town. A few people complained about the Kane deal not bringing back enough in return, the way it was designed, ended up landing Buffalo a first-round pick.
O’Reilly got the Sabres several assets as opposed to a player of potentially equal value. Both teams can not win every trade. With the number of people who wanted O’Reilly chased out of town because of comments he made, especially with the size contract he was being paid, those same folks sure change opinions when O’Reilly ends up being the stud we knew he was. Now, he is on a winning team and is in the finals battling for the Stanley Cup.
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The reason I bring these two players up is that many folks suggest that the Sabres lost out on the O’Reilly trade with the Blues. Others at the time thought we were burned by the Sharks when Kane headed west. Some of these same fans who now complain about the O’Reilly Factor, the no spin zone, are also yelling to not overpay Jeff Skinner.
I just really do not want to be around those complainers if Skinner leaves, because we would get absolutely nothing in return. Nothing. Not a handful of role players like we received from the Blues. No draft choice with incentives to climb up to a first-round draft pick. Nothing. Skinner just jumps in his car and drives away only to return with the enemy team that he signs with when they come to play in Buffalo. The cries of Chris Drury and Danny Briere would fill the airwaves.
Pay Skinner. Pay him now. Paying him big bucks does not make him impossible to part ways within a couple of years if circumstances change. Teams do it all of the time. One of the celebrations of the current ownership group was the willingness they have to pay for players they desire because the intentions are to win. Terry Pegulla stated the Sabres only reason for existence was winning a Cup. He said if he needs the money he will go drill an oil well. This acquisition of the Sabres was strictly to secure them the Buffalo community. And, of course, bringing a winning team back to the area. Pay him. You can not replace that productivity and talent.
Let us be crystal clear on this. Sign Jeff Skinner fast. No grey area blunders that blindside us. No miscalculations. Misjudgments are not an option here. Mis-interpretations, misunderstandings, over-estimations, misreckoning, mix-ups, underestimation…NO-EXCUSES! Get rid of those pre-meditated excuses out of any Darcy Regier handbook.
Sign him. Sign him now. Best be that I digress immediately.
Things We Know About The Buffalo Sabres This Week:
- Ralph Krueger is confident the Sabres will sign Jeff Skinner. Krueger: ‘I work on the basis that Jeff Skinner is a Buffalo Sabre’. I hope the GM and player feel that way.
- Buffalo should take a serious look at moving Sam Reinhart back to center with the glaring opening existing with O’Reilly being traded. Casey Mittlestadt has the tools but is too young to be expected to be a second line center. That will change, but for now, they need a contingency. I am fine if they go trade for Matt Duchene, but I do not see Buffalo as his destination nor the salary cap being friendly to that kind of commitment.
I am going to put the tee-shirt “Negative Stanley” gave me that fits me and another full grown adult if needed. It says in basic script lettering “Cup Crazy 2020”. I can feel it. I can feel it. Well, I can feel something. It may be that Chick–fil-A from lunch, that was actually dinner based on the cars wrapped around the building three times. It’s really overrated. That may be the case for Cup Crazy 2020 as well. Come back and see us again and we may discuss lobbying for a Waffle House Food Truck at Larkan. Waffle House. Healthy, delicious, classy…Sign me up.