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After their most promising first period of the season the Buffalo Sabres proceeded to play two of their worst. Buffalo led after 20 minutes tonight, historic by their standards, but the Philadelphia Flyers closed the show with four unanswered goals as the Sabres lost their third straight, 4-1.
With five penalties and countless defensive breakdowns over the final 40 minutes, the Sabres essentially threw Ryan Miller under the bus. Miller surrendered three goals but still played excellent in stopping 42 shots as Philadelphia threw 45 in all at him, including 33 over the final two periods.
“We have to play a certain way to give us a chance to compete,” Sabres interim head coach Ted Nolan told reporters after the game. “Doing stupid things like we have been isn’t going to work.”
Ironically Tyler Myers’ power play goal from Ville Leino and Tyler Ennis with 1:42 left in the opening period allowed the Sabres to skate into the first intermission sporting a 1-0 lead. It literally was the first time this season Buffalo led after 20 minutes of play in 23 tries.
Defensive mishaps by Steve Ott and Myers finally began taking their toll in the second period as Mark Read scored twice in a 1:40 span to give the Flyers a lead after two, 2-1.
Any Sabres fans attending the game in Philly should’ve wisely headed to the exits at that point. Buffalo is now 0-16 this season when trailing after 40 minutes.
The Buffalo Sabres are making multiple lineup changes for their game in Philadelphia against the Flyers tonight.
WGR’s Paul Hamilton reports that forwards Mikhail Grigorenko and Luke Adam as well as defensemen Brayden McNabb will be on the ice for Buffalo tonight. Getting a seat in the press box will be forwards Corey Tropp and Brian Flynn along with defensemen Mark Psysk.
McNabb will be paired with Jamie McBain this evening. Based on Wednesday’s practice forward combinations Grigorenko will skate with Marcus Foligno and Ville Leino while Adam will be paired with Zegmus Girgensons and Steve Ott.
I find it particularly interesting that Grigorenko is in the lineup. It was just around 48 or so hours ago the team tried to ship him to Rochester on a conditioning assignment before ultimately ending up back in juniors, but the league rejected the Sabres/Rochester assignment.
Ryan Miller is getting the start in net for Buffalo and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Ray Emery.
After a disastrous start to the season similar to the Sabres, the Flyers have turned things around a big way. They’ve gone 4-0-1 in their last five games and 5-3-2 in their past 10. Perhaps the biggest contrast between the teams is their start to games. Philadelphia has led after the first period 10 times this season while Buffalo has failed to hold a single lead after 20 minutes. In fact, Buffalo has been outscored a mind-blowing 31-4 in the first period this season.
Buffalo has historically struggled playing in Philadelphia; going just 20-47-12-3 all-time against the Flyers in their building.
Following tonight the Sabres return home and don’t play again until Sunday, when they face the Detroit Red Wings at the First Niagara Center (5pm).
Following an ugly 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues last night on their home ice the Buffalo Sabres have made a pair of roster moves; calling up defensemen Brayden McNabb and forward Luke Adam from the Rochester Amerks.
Meanwhile the NHL announced that it has rejected Mikhail Grigorenko’s conditioning assignment with Rochester. Buffalo sent him on that yesterday in what’s expected to be a prelude to him returning to juniors when completed, but clearly the league won’t allow it.
Adam, 23, has been on fire with the Amerks in scoring 13 goals through his first 15 games to share the AHL lead with Nikita Jucherov (Syracuse). He has 14 career NHL goals and 11 assists in 75 games with the Sabres and was up with the team for four games during last year’s strike-shortened season. He scored a career-best 10 goals in 2011-12. Adam was a second-round pick by Buffalo (No. 44 overall) in 2008.
McNabb, 22, last played for the Sabres in April of 2012. He has 25 career games with Buffalo under his belt and has recorded a goal and seven assists. In 15 games with Rochester this season McNabb notched two goals and 10 assists with 29 penalty minutes and carried a plus-five rating. McNabb was taken by the Sabres in the third-round (No. 66 overall) in 2009.
If you’re a Buffalo Sabres fan that happened to be using the bathroom at approximately the same time of the opening puck drop, you had the misfortune of missing their entire offensive output.
Tyler Ennis banged home a perfect pass from Ville Leino just 10 seconds into the game to put the Sabres in the lead over the St. Louis Blues. Unfortunately they spent the following 59:50 unsuccessfully trying to get a second puck past Jaroslav Halak.
The Blues dominated the vast majority of the contest and frankly often made it look easy in handing the Sabres a convincing 4-1 loss. At 14-3-3 St. Louis is off to their best start after 20 games in franchise history.
Against Buffalo, it was quite apparent why.
Buffalo’s only lead of the night lasted all of 59 seconds before Brenden Morrow scored the first of his two goals to tie it up. Vladimir Tarasenko scored on the power play while Ennis was in the penalty box with 36 seconds left in the first to give St. Louis the lead… and the Blues were never seriously threatened again.
Morrow scored in the second period and Magnus Paajarvi struck in the third for the Blues final tally.
At least for the time being, it appears the Buffalo Sabres huge youth movement is coming to a close. Former general manager Darcy Regier stacked a 2013-14 roster anticipating “suffering” with teenagers, but with Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan now calling roster shots, that plan mercifully has been scrapped.
2013 first-round draft pick Rasmus Ristolainen along with forward Johan Larsson are on their way to Rochester to join the Amerks.
It’s also anticipated that 2012 first-round draft pick, center Mikhail Grigorenko will be returning to juniors while rookie defensemen Nikita Zadorov is definitely on his way to the (juniors) Ontario Hockey League.
Grigorenko will first be assigned to Rochester on a two week conditioning assignment before returning to juniors.
As of this morning, no new players were on the ice for team’s game-day skate as they prepare to take on the St. Louis Blues tonight. Nolan did not reveal who will be joining the Sabres during his presser following the skate, though he said players have been called up from Rochester but will not play tonight.
Patrick Kaleta and Luke Adam are the top candidates to fill a forward spot or two while a defensemen decision will likely come down to Alexander Sulzer or Brayden McNabb.
One of the topics an impassioned Ted Nolan spoke of upon being re-introduced as the Buffalo Sabres interim head coach Wednesday morning was that in the grand scheme of things, the team is in the entertainment business.
Were you entertained Friday evening?
I don’t know what to tell you if your answer is no. In front of a raucous, capacity First Niagara Center crowd where Sabres fans were outnumbered by Canadian fanatics, Buffalo performed admirably on both ends of the ice in defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-1.
In his first Buffalo post-game press conference in 16 years following the game, Nolan continued to stress entertaining the hometown fans.
“It was really fun for me to look up once in a while and see how much fans enjoyed this game,” Nolan said. “That’s what we’re in… the entertainment business so hopefully they had good entertainment, and it was fun for us for sure.”
Aside from any showbiz value, the Sabres won in regulation under Nolan’s debut—something they did exactly one time in 20 games under Ron Rolston.
Depending on your perspective either a new era of Buffalo Sabres hockey commences tonight or a return to an old one. The Sabres take on fierce rival Toronto at the First Niagara Center in the first of a home-and-home series that concludes tomorrow in Canada.
16 seasons after his departure, Ted Nolan returns behind the bench for the Sabres. Of course, that was made possible by the hire of Pat LaFontaine as the team’s newly created President of Hockey Operations. LaFontaine personally handpicked Nolan for the gig while he begins the search for a new general manager in the coming days.
Before proceeding with tonight, this needs to be said–Darcy Regier was a better general manager than he’ll be remembered for, even if it takes a lifetime for fans to recognize as such. The Sabres are desolate right now and Regier unmistakably outlasted his welcome, but years from now recent evens shouldn’t be the only definition of his legacy. Bottom line is in 16 years of being in charge Regier teams made a Stanley Cup once and the conference finals three other times. There are far worse ratios of success around other NHL cities.
Regier “won” more trades than he lost. Let’s not forget Regier acquired centerpieces like Danny Briere, Chris Drury and Doug Gilmore in deals with other teams as opposed to free agency. When this team began collapsing over the past two seasons and veterans needed to be dumped, Regier got good value back for trading Paul Gaustad, Jason Pominville and Robyn Regehr.
If Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadarov, Zegmus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko and a few of these other kids turn out to be excellent pros down the line and this team turns things around with them playing prominent roles, begrudgingly or not a lot of credit must fall back to Regier.
According to a report from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Buffalo Sabres will be granted permission to interview current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant general manager Jason Botterill for the job vacated with Darcy Regier’s firing yesterday.
Typically it would be a waste for me to “confirm” anything, because really—who cares? In this case, however, I have heard from a team source that Pat LaFontaine will indeed interview Botterhill and not only that… Botterill is an extremely strong candidate for the gig.
Botterill is a former Sabre who had stints with the team between 2002-04. Botterill scored three goals and had eight points in 36 games with Buffalo.
Far more significantly, he’s in his fifth season with Pittsburgh and despite being just 37 has risen up the ranks of the league’s budding general managers. Botterill’s primary responsibilities in Pittsburgh are managing the team’s salary cap and negotiating player contracts. By all accounts he’s regarded as a solid talent evaluator.
While LaFontaine is likely to interview other candidates and some may be bigger household names, especially Rick Dudley, Botterill could be in the driver’s seat after he speaks with the Sabres brass.
LaFontaine and team president Ted Black were on WGR550 this morning with co-hosts Howard Simon and Jeremy White. It was a pretty entertaining interview. You can listen to it on their audio vault by clicking here.
Had you told me roughly 24 hours ago most Buffalo Sabres fans would be waking up to news that not only would Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston both be headed to the unemployment line but it would be Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan (Ted Nolan!) assuming their responsibilities, I’d have instantly concluded you’d be a fugitive from a psych ward. I mean, it’s remarkable enough for even one between Regier and Rolston to be put out to pasture, let alone both— and at the same time nonetheless. In most sports cities it wouldn’t be quite as shocking, but this is Buffalo we’re discussing and still in the infancy stages of the “suffering” era of Sabres hockey.
Then insert LaFontaine and Nolan to the mix. Heck, throw in Terry Pegula actually presiding and speaking at a Sabres news conference and I’d have found the script for Sharknado 2 considerably more realistic.
But that’s unerringly what transpired when the Buffalo sports world got turned upside down this morning. LaFonatine is the (newly organization created) President of Hockey Operations and Nolan is back for a second stint as head coach. To offer a bit of perspective on how unforeseen Nolan’s hire was, the last time he coached the Sabres, Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” was number one on the billboard charts.
Fitting song title, because that’s precisely what Rolston and Regier are now. The only one that could possibly be more fitting is another Sir Elton classic, “Circle of Life.”
The Buffalo Sabres, seemingly out of nowhere have announced that Pat LaFontaine has been named the team’s President of Hockey Operations, a position the team has not had until this morning.
But that’s not the only blockbuster.
The Sabres have also fired general manager Darcy Reiger along with head coach Ron Rolston.
LaFontaine has brought back Ted Nolan to serve as head coach. Owner Terry Pegula labeled Nolan as “interim” head coach during this morning’s press conference. LaFontaine said Nolan will (at a minimum) finish out the season as head coach.
Wow… Just feegin WOW.
Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News was the first to report of Regier and Rolston’s departure.
LaFontaine spent six years as a player with the Sabres (1991-97) and became one of the organization’s most productive and popular players in franchise history.
His 148 points in 1991-92 is a record for most points in a season by an American-born player and still stands today.
In total LaFonatine played in 865 career NHL games; scoring 414 goals and dishing out 488 assists for 902 points.
I don’t want to get into speculation as to what this means for current general manager Darcy Reiger, but I strongly suspect this won’t bode well for his future with the organization. Check back later this morning for more details as they become available.
The presser will be streamed live on the Sabres team website.
The superstition theorists surely will be out in full force, saying the Buffalo Sabres finally ended their season-long winless ski d at home Tuesday because the team worse camouflage jerseys in warm-ups prior to the game…. Or because a faulty elevator led Rick Jeanneret led to broadcast the game alongside partner Rob Ray at ice level between the respective team benches.
It’s all a bunch of nonsense.
Buffalo skated off the ice with two points for the first time in 10 tries this season at the First Niagara Center for one reason and one reason only— because on this evening Ryan Miller was the best goaltender on the planet. Miller was spectacular throughout and at times verged on ridiculous in stopping 43 shots and the Sabres went on to defeat the Los Angeles Kings in a shootout, 3-2.
It was only one night but on this one Miller outdueled fellow American Jonathan Quick in a preview of what could the two United States goaltenders in the Olympics this coming winter. Quick only had to face 17 Buffalo shots before suffering what appeared to be a groin injury in overtime and was replaced by Ben Scrivens.
Cody Hodgson scored Buffalo regulation goals as the Sabres turned a 1-0 deficit into a one goal lead by the early third period, almost exclusively because Miller put his team on his back and prevented them from being skated out of their own building.
Scrivens was no match for Miller, who became the NHL ‘s all-time winningeist goaltender in shootouts with 47. Matt Moulson scored for Buffalo before Tyler Ennis would lock down the victory after Miller, to the surprise of no one stoned Mike Richards and Trevor Lewis.
There’s so much that’s ugly about the 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres season already it’s daunting figuring out where to begin. Of course the discernible choice is their 3-15-1 record for seven points in 19 games on the season, good for dead last in the entire NHL by three points.
Since the Sabres are home tonight hosting the Los Angeles Kings at the First Niagara Center a candidate could be Buffalo’s winless 0-8-1 mark on their own ice; the only team in the league without a single win to celebrate in front ticket buying home fans.
Perhaps the numbers 26-3 should’ve been at the top, seeing that’s the goal discrepancy the Sabres have been outscored combined in their 19 first periods of play this season. I’m not sure how that could possibly be more indicative that Ron Rolston doesn’t have his team ready to play when the opening puck drops.
Which brings us to the most astounding stat of them all. Rolston has exactly two wins in regulation over his last 24 games as head coach. It’s almost impossible to fathom how a coach at any level in sports can have a job with that kind of ratio. Then again, these are the Buffalo Sabres and “suffering” truly is the blue print.
The Buffalo Sabres conclude their three-game western road trip with a skate against the Anaheim Ducks. Buffalo has split the first two games; upsetting San Jose in a shootout Tuesday before getting blanked by the Los Angeles Kings last night.
It won’t be easy. Anaheim is 6-0-1 over their last seven games and have yet to lose at the Honda Center.
Buffalo played decently last night against the Kings despite losing by a pair as their special teams failed them. Buffalo went scoreless in four power plays while surrendering both Los Angeles goals shorthanded.
The Sabres have seven points this season through their first 18 games, good for dead last in the NHL. However, if “Mission Tank Job” is in full effect the team better be careful—they’re just two points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers in the race for being the worst, although the Flyers will have four games in hand after tonight.
The game is a rematch from five days ago at the First Niagara Center. In that contest the Ducks won, 6-3 on the strength of five unanswered goals after Cody Hodgson gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead in the second period. Corey Perry scored twice and Ryan Getzlaf added a goal and two assists as Anaheim scored on Ryan Miller six times in 29 shots.
The Buffalo Sabres played reasonably well against a quality Los Angeles Kings team Thursday night at the Staples Center. Unfortunately for them their special teams failed them, and it cost them big-time in a 2-0 shutout loss.
Los Angeles scored both of their goals on Jhonas Enroth on the power play. Meanwhile Buffalo went 0-for-4 with the man advantage. Simply put, it was the difference in the game.
Mike Richards scored late in the first period to give the Kings a 1-0 lead while Sabres defensemen Tyler Myers was in the penalty box for interference. The Sabres have now been outscored a mind-numbing 22-2 in the first period of games this season.
The key moment of the night came roughly halfway through the second period. Ville Leino drew a holding penalty on former Sabre Robyn Regehr to give the Sabres a power play. The man advantage was gone after just 26 seconds when defensemen Jamie McBain clipped Jake Muzzin with a high stick and 45 seconds later Drew Stafford took a lazy slashing penalty, and suddenly it was the Kings on the power play. Anze Kopitar took advantage and just like that it was 2-0 Kings.
How much of an enigma is Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson? On one hand, he’s sometimes deplorable in his own end. Don’t believe me—then take WGR’s Matthew Collar word for it and read this excellent article on Hodgson’s defense. He breaks down Hodgson’s defensive flaws better than anything I’ve seen.
On the other, he’s exceptionally imaginative offensively and one of the precious few Buffalo attackers the opposition needs to account for at all times. He’s already been benched for a period by Rolston and frankly, could’ve easily found himself a game-night scratch by now due to a lack of defensive prowess, but I couldn’t fathom this already sluggish offense without him.
Along with Matt Moulson, Hodgson is the team’s most skilled player. He has give goals and 13 points through the team’s first 17 games, putting him on pace for 24 and 63. Those are decent, but not great numbers for a front line center. To be fair, Hodgson’s split time between talented wingers Thomas Vanek (pre-trade) and Moulson while a barrage of third line mates have been shuffled to the top with no success, although Tyler Ennis looks like he’s could become a mainstay based on recently improved play.
By the way, Moulson has six points in four games with the Sabres and 14 overall in his last 10.
We’ll see if Hodgson, Moulson and the rest of the Sabres can ride the momentum from their improbable win Tuesday night in San Jose when they take the ice in Los Angeles to face the Kings on the second stop of a three-game west coast road trip that concludes in Anaheim Friday night.
The Buffalo Sabres are the worst team in the National Hockey League. The San Jose Sharks are most definitely not. In fact, they’re an elite group of players and some can reasonably argue as good as it gets in the league. So if you correctly predicted pregame the Sabres would take the ice riding the coattails of a 2-13-1 record on the season, let me know what you’re selling next as I’d love to buy.
Buffalo went out west and knocked off the Sharks on their home ice in most improbable fashion, a 5-4 shootout victory. The loss saw San Jose fall to 10-1-4 on the season.
Cody Hodgson beat Antti Niemi for the game-winner on the Sabres fourth attempt of the shootout after Ryan Miller stopped three straight following a conversion by Logan Couture on San Jose’s first shot. Matt Moulson also scored on Buffalo’s first chance before Niemi turned away Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.
The best part of the game, at least if you’re a Buffalo fan is the contest should’ve never reached a shootout. Tommy Wingels poked in a rebound off a Tyler Kennedy shot in overtime that got past Miller and would’ve won the game as a CSN replay clearly shows, but somehow the refs missed the call and even more incredibly, wasn’t reviewed in Toronto.
The Buffalo Sabres simply get harder to figure out with each passing day.
One the way one hand, Darcy Regier essentially warned fans this season would entail plenty of “suffering” as the team tries to rebuild themselves into a contender via letting the young players and grow through playing in the league, perhaps before they’re mentally and physically ready, and of course through more future (and likely high) draft picks.
That’s fine and dandy I suppose. But tell me this—how are the “kids” like Marcus Foligno, Nikita Zadarov, Mikhail Grigorenko, etc. going to stay on the right track when they’re viewing games from the press box? Grigorenko was a healthy scratch in Buffalo’s last game against Anaheim and has already spent three games in the press box.
Now it appears Foligno and Zadarov are poised to do the same this evening.
The Sabres take on the Sharks in San Jose tonight and practice line combinations yesterday indicate both young players will be healthy scratches. Foligno was an extra on a line with Grigorenko, Steve Ott and Corey Tropp. Zadarov was paired with John Scott at practice; the kiss of death to one’s playing status.
Buffalo Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta has cleared waivers and at least for the time being, will report to Rochester of the AHL to continue his playing career.
The Sabres put Kaleta on league waivers Saturday after he completed serving his 10-game suspension, and has been banned for a total of 19 games over the past three seasons.
Kaleta still has a full year on his contract and a $1.25 million cap hit.
The following was general manager Darcy Regier’s statement after Kaleta’s release Saturday morning:
“This was a move we thought was necessary to help Pat change his game and preserve his career in this league,” Regier said. “We believe in Pat as a person and we hope he will continue his career in our organization and, if the circumstances are right, with the Buffalo Sabres.”
The 27-year old Angola native has 27 goals, 51 points and 506 penalty minutes in 306 career NHL games with Buffalo since being drafted No. 176 overall in 2004.
When, if at all will Kaleta be back with the Sabres? Regier suggested he’s got a lot of work to do.
“I think there is a significant amount of work that he will have to do to redesign his game in order to give him an opportunity to play. When we talked about it internally, if it was with us, it had to take place in Rochester.” Regier told reporters Saturday.
Regier also confirmed that the team tried to trade him without success before waiving him Saturday
The Buffalo Sabres flirted with disaster at the First Niagara Center Saturday night, playing arguably their best opening 20 minutes of the season against a quality opponent and scoring the game’s first goal around seven minutes into the second period.
But fear not—when push came to shove the Sabres accomplished what they’ve done all season. They manned down and did the right thing— executing majestic blunders all over the ice and the Anaheim Ducks scored five unanswered goals in routing Buffalo, 6-3 to keep the team on pace to never win a home game again.
The Sabres are now perfectly winless in nine tries at home this season.
Their aspirations for being the worst team in the history of the franchise stayed flawlessly on track Saturday. At 2-13-1 the Sabres have earned a mere five points through 16 games, putting them on pace to finish with 26 for the season. The 1971-72 Sabres finished with 51 points in 78 games, the fewest over a full season in team history.
By comparison to this year’s version, those ’71 Sabres look like a dynasty.
The Buffalo Sabres were thoroughly dominated on the road Thursday night at the New York Rangers and deservedly lost, 2-0. Had this been the 1993-94 Stanley Cup champs version of the Rangers, or even the Rangers of two years ago that finished with the most points in the Eastern Conference, the loss would be far easier to assimilate.
It only felt like Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Brian Leetch and Co. were patrolling the ice against a hapless Buffalo team yet again lacking the “compete” it takes to be good in this league. In reality, the Rangers that hit the ice this evening were 4-7 on the season and had been outscored by 19 goals through their first 11 games.
On this night the Sabres heroic run towards putting out the worst product in franchise history was on full display in falling to 2-12-1 on the season, getting out shot through 53 minutes, 41-19 before New York eased the foot off the pedal and went into a semi defensive shell. Buffalo ended with 29 shots on Henrik Lundqvist, even if 28 felt like they came in the final 120 seconds.
The way the offense was going, Buffalo could’ve play straight through until next Tuesday without putting three pucks in the net.
Sure, the Buffalo Sabres dropped another game last night, 4-3 to the Dallas Stars. Then again, it wasn’t just “another” game. Lindy Ruff returned to Buffalo for the first time as the Dallas head coach and to the Sabres credit, gave him a video tribute he richly deserved. Also credit of the fans, who showed them a token of their appreciation with a rousing standing ovation that appeared to nearly move Ruff to tears.
It was a feel good moment at the First Niagara Center, as was the debut of winger Matt Moulson. Acquired less than 24 hours in the stunning trade with the New York that sent Thomas Vanek to the Islanders, Moulson literally wasted no time in making new fans in Buffalo. He scored on his very first as a Sabre and added another goal late in the second period for a multiple score debut.
Head coach Ron Rolston found himself impressed with every facet of Moulson’s game.
“He’s a hockey player. Like in every zone, he’s solid. In our zone, D zone, he was solid,” Rolston told the media during his post game presser. “[He] plays his position, got pucks out on the wall, makes little plays through the neutral zone, gets to the net, give-and-go. He’s a hockey player. That’s all I can tell you. He’s good and I’m glad we have him.”
It appears the Sabres may have found themselves a nice combination on their top line with Moulson, Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis, who had an assist on both Moulson goals and played extremely well Monday night in an increased role.
Buffalo Sabres fans have been waiting for the day former head coach Lindy Ruff returned to town. That day has come as his Dallas Stars face off against the Sabres tonight at the First Niagara Center.
Ruff met the media following his team’s morning skate. Courtesy of the fine folks over at WGRZ-TV, here’s that video:
Make sure to check back tonight following the game for a full recap, including reaction from both the Sabres and Ruff. Between Ruff’s return to Buffalo and the debut of Matt Moulson just 24 hours after the Thomas Vanek trade, it figures to be an intense evening of hockey at the arena.
The Buffalo Sabres dropped a bombshell Sunday night, confirming a report by Newsday that the team has sent forward Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson and a first-round draft pick in 2014 as well as a second-rounder in 2015.
As of now, Buffalo has five picks in the first two rounds of 2014 draft.
Moulson is an accomplished goal scorer, having scored at least 30 in three consecutive seasons (2009-12) before scoring 15 in 47 games with the Islanders last season. Like Vanek, Moulson is in the final year of a contract that will see him become a free agent when this season is over.
Unless of course, the Sabres are able to sign him to a long-term extension before that. Buffalo will have quite the salesmen job in front of them, although building around a guy like Moulson could be a nice—and incredibly expensive selling point.
He has six goals and three assists in 11 games this season.
“I believe this will help improve our hockey club going forward.” Sabres general manager Darcy Regier told reporters at tonight’s press conference to announce the deal. “Matt will address our current needs and provides us with support, leadership, scoring.”
Regier indicated the trade didn’t come suddenly out of the blue.
“It was a deal that was off and on here for a while,” Regier said “It was something we feel we needed to do. It was important to get first- and second-round picks.”
As for Vanek, he finishes his Buffalo career with 254 goals; the fifth-most in team history and just 13 behind Danny Gare for fourth. Vanek had at least 25 goals in all seven of his full seasons with the team, excluding the strike-shortended 2012-13 season.
Regier commented on Vanek’s reaction to deal, saying “I think he was shocked, he was very professional, he was as good as he could be.”
One of the primary reasons for trading Vanek is the probability they’d lose him for nothing after the season. Vanek is scheduled to be a free agent after the season and didn’t seem excited about being part of a long-term rebuilding effort. There’s also strong indications in league and team circles that Vanek will sign with hometown Minnesota during the offseason.
Well, it was almost a good weekend in the Sunshine state.
The Buffalo Sabres fought and clawed their way to a third period lead in Tampa Bay Saturday evening, but goals my Martin St. Louis and Ondrej Palat over the final 5:51 gave the Lightning a lead they wouldn’t surrender as they defeated the Sabres, 3-2.
The regulation loss for Buffalo, coupled with wins tonight by the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers moved the Sabres into dead last in the NHL with five points. Buffalo is 2-10-1 through 13 games.
A primary reason Buffalo failed to sweep the weekend in Florida after defeating the Panthers last night is their customary ghastly first period of play. I’m not sure what Ron Rolston’s game-day routine consists of but whatever it is, it’s time to toss it in the trash.
The Sabres have surrendered the game’s first goal 12 times in 13 contests this season, with tonight’s affair in Tampa no exception as Buffalo trailed after 20 minutes, 1-0.