Above is Darcy Reiger, the current GM of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.
It is hard to admit defeat. Especially is sports, where winning isn’t everything, its the only thing. Some believe it’s hard to tell when to admit that the current roster of a team is not going to work, and trading away the players with the most trade value and getting draft picks to rebuild the team is the best option. Rebuild is a scary word in every context. A rebuild is committing to failure for a few years in order to create a contending team for the sustainable future. This post is to asses some NHL teams and break down if a team needs to rebuild or not.
Buffalo Sabres : 21 -21 – 6, 48 points
The Sabres have an interesting situation. And by interesting, i mean not good. After playing poorly the first half of the season, they pulled the trigger on a deal that sent their captain Jason Pominville to Minnesota for Matt Hackett, Johan Larsson, and a 1st round pick (Nikita Zadorov) and a 2nd round pick next season. This was more than enough return in my opinion for a great player in Pominville. This move was an obvious indication on what direction Darcy Reiger has for the Sabres. Whats odd is the Sabres have not made any other significant moves regarding other tradeable veterans on this club. For starters, i know teams have inquired about forward Thomas Vanek’s services. He had a great season last year, and his highest trade value would most likely be right now. Not moving him this very moment to me is a huge mistake, Buffalo could should him almost anywhere and be guaranteed good return. Good return for me in a player such as Vanek is a prospect, an NHL capable player now, and a 1st/maybe 2nd round pick. This clears cap and allows the Sabres to go after free agents in the 2014 free agency, which by the way, is LOADED. Although Vanek’s contract will come off the books next season, why use him this year, not make the playoffs, then get out-bid for him next off-season? Another player that could be moved, Goalie Ryan Miller. His numbers these last few seasons, to me, are very underwhelming, but give him a change of scenery, and he could shine. I heard talks of Miller to St. Louis was a possibility at a time. Chances are that Buffalo would receive Goalie Jake Allen back in the trade, who played 15 games this season as a 22 year-old and posted a 2.46 GAA. Very impressive to me, couple him with some draft selections and sign me up for that deal. I’ve heard reports of trying to couple Vanek and Miller in a single deal, which to me makes NO sense. There’s no way a team would be able to give fair return for two players of this caliber, let alone want to in the first place. The point of these deals is to keep the team away from another 10th spot in the East and end up with a pick around 10 – 17 and be just bad enough to keep them mediocre long enough to make Sabres fans blow their collective brains out.
Washington Captials : 27 – 18 – 3, 57 points
Making the playoffs is good; Winning the division 4 of the last 5 seasons is good; Having the MVP of the league is good.
So why are the Washington Capitals a bad team?
I mean seriously, i am convinced this team, as currently constituted, can not compete in the playoffs, and i have every reason to believe it is true. The Caps have been bounced out of the playoffs in the first or second round each of the last 5 seasons. If 5 seasons isn’t long enough to realize what you have, then there is something wrong. Maybe it’s the goaltending, maybe it’s the defense, but to me it’s management. Ovechkin is a one in a generation player, so why waste his talents with sub-par top-6 forwards and not respectable net-minding? Sure, Nicklas Backstrom is a great player, Semin was until they didn’t resign him, Green is when he’s not injured, there are just too many if and buts to me. During this season, they traded top-prospect Filip Forsberg for winger Martin Erat. Sure, Erat is a good player, an above average forward for his own right, but trading the franchises 1st round pick for him? I don’t see it. If this team really wanted to win, they would have added a bit more to that deal, and got Pominville or Vanek. Decisions like this lead to the ultimate demise of the team. This team hasn’t and can’t take the next step to me unless a deal goes down, and they have yet to prove me wrong.
Dallas Stars : 22 – 22 – 4, 48 points
Stars fans, your organization finally did something right. They hired Jim Nill. For starters, lets break down what they did before the season ended: They traded Jagr for Bostons 1st pick, they traded Derek Roy for Vancouver’s 2nd round pick, traded Brendan Morrow to Pittsburgh for D’man Joe Morrow, and made minor other deals ultimately resulting in a failed season. Jim Nill was hired and drafted RW’er Valeri Nichushkin. He was a steal with the 10th pick, and will be a top-six forward some day in the near future. Then, he pulled off a traded i seriously still don’t believe happened. He traded Loui Eriksson, who was close to a point-a-game player for Dallas (highly underrated, but has hit his ceiling as a player), Joe Morrow, who was the return for Brendan Morrow, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser for young gun Center Tyler Seguin and veteran Center Rich Peverly. This deal is the definition of a blockbuster trade, and will work out for Dallas in the long run. Can i definitively say that Seguin won’t be a headcase and will blossom into the player he can be? No, but i would bet stacks and stacks of money on it. And if Peverly can produce like his Atlanta Thrashers days, than Jim Nill is a pure genius.