Perhaps no one is catching more flack for the Sabres first round playoff collapse than general manager Darcy Regier. Among the chief complaint from fans is his inability to help the team at the NHL trade deadline.
Last year the lone move Buffalo made was sending a second round pick to Toronto to acquire forward Dominic Moore. After scoring 12 goals and 41 points in 63 games with the Leafs, Moore produced all of one goal and four points in 18 with Buffalo. The Sabres missed the playoffs.
This time around was different. Buffalo was leading the division and in a dog fight for seeding near the top of the Eastern Conference. Other teams close in the standings made moves left and right around deadline time for talent, and for the second straight year Regier overvalued the core of his roster and acquired but one player.
Regier sent a second rounder to Columbus to acquire Raffi Torres, who had scored 19 goals in 60 games with the Blue Jackets. Just as Moore flopped the year before, Torres did the same once he joined the Sabres. Battling a sore wrist soon after joining the team that had many wondering if Regier had traded for damaged goods, Torres failed to score a single goal for Buffalo in 14 regular season games and notched just five assists.
Regier admitted Thursday that the move was one that simply didn’t pan out.
“It didn’t benefit him and it didn’t benefit us and it didn’t work,” Regier said. “When we looked at him we looked at him from the standpoint of a bigger body and someone who had played well for Columbus in the playoffs the previous year. Quite honestly for me personally I wasn’t looking at his 19 goals as much as I as looking at his, hoping that he could give us some board work in corners. “
Things got worse in the playoffs. After continuing his scoring drought four games deep into the eventual series loss to Boston, Lindy Ruff was desperate for more offense. Nathan Gerbe was inserted into the lineup and Torres was assigned a seat in the press box.
“There is a lot of things that come into play,” Regier said. “ If you don’t feel like your getting enough offense whether its Tyler Ennis or Gerbe it’s a tough decision we make as an organization and sometimes people come out of the lineup and he was one of those guys.”
An unrestricted free agent, it’s a certainty Torres will move on to another team this summer.
“I felt badly for him, he’s an unrestricted free agent and he’s a good player,” Regier said. “I hope things work out very well for him.”
Right now there are a lot of people hoping Regier will join him elsewhere. All indications given by Larry Quinn Thursday say that’s not happening. Whether he likes it or not, some of the “core” players Regier has locked up haven’t and won’t get the job done. He needs to get creative and find the pieces that will get this team to the next level.