The Buffalo Sabres have been down this road before. But, this time they took control of the situation. Thomas Vanek is no longer a Buffalo Sabres. Last night news broke that Vanek was traded to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson, and two draft picks (2014 1st round, 2015 2nd round).
I’m not going to give you a bunch of stats here; all I’m going to do is give you my point of view. Rumors about a Vanek trade have popped up dating back to last year. It was becoming clear that he no longer wanted to wear the Blue and Gold of the Sabres. Vanek is in the last year of a seven-year deal; he only got because the Sabres front office was unable to lock up Chris Drury or Daniel Briere.
While I agree he is a star in the league; I do not believe he should have been given a seven-year deal. The Sabres should have let him go to the Edmonton Oilers when they signed Vanek to an offer sheet. During the past seven years the Sabres have failed to surround Vanek with players that could help him. The Sabres also have failed to put a competitive team on the ice with the big-ticket talent. All of that has brought us to last night. Vanek wanted out, and the Sabres needed to unload him while they could still control the situation.
Moulson will be a UFA like Vanek. That part of the trade is a wash. Here’s the “victory” Buffalo gets yet another first round pick, and adds a second round pick for the future. This trade gives Buffalo two 1st round pick in 2014, and 3 second round picks in 2015. With the Sabres near the bottom of the league in points; look for Buffalo to try to package something together and make a run for the top overall pick in the 2014 draft. Also, don’t forget Ryan Miller may bring an extra first round pick if he gets moved.
Sabres fan don’t like Darcy Regier because of the on ice product, but stock piling pick is something he does very well. As I write this I can’t help but wonder is there a way to have Darcy work trades, and put someone else in charge of the on ice talent? Probable not, but wouldn’t that be nice. If Terry Pegula wants to keep Darcy around; then he needs a new title, and the Sabres need a hockey guy running the team.
This move is part of the rebuild, and there are no fouling fans the Sabres are rebuilding, and it’s going to be done through the draft. The question is how long will fans wait? I think the Sabres are a good 3 years away from becoming what fans expect; a contender. What’s next? Time will tell but as long as Darcy is in charge of the on ice product trades like this are about the only good news Sabres fans have. This was a good trade, now show me more!