With National Hockey League Free Agency well under way, teams like the Buffalo Sabres are making moves to help their team rebuild. The problem for the Sabres is that General Manager Darcy Regier doesn’t appear to address their needs.
According to, The Buffalo Sabres on Sunday traded for New Jersey Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder for forward Riley Boychuck.
The problem is Sabres fans already know what they got in Tallinder. The reason why Tallinder was drafted by the Sabres and played for them for eight seasons before signing with the New Jersey Devils prior to the 2010-2011 regular season. Sabres fans understand that Tallinder was brought back to be paired with defenseman Tyler Meyers and get back to the way he was playing as a rookie, but they show little concern.
Meyers is going into his fifth season with the Sabres, but the Sabres aren’t ignorant, and understand two things. First, Meyers is young and it takes time to learn how to become a solid defenseman in the NHL.
That lesson was taught to Sabres fans by former defenseman Brian Campbell.
Campbell first played for the Sabres in the 1999-2000 season at 20-years-old. It took an additional four full seasons before Campbell reached his potential during the 2005-2006 season, which was his sixth season in the NHL. That lesson is the reason why Regier appears to lack understanding of his team’s needs and potential.
In addition to Meyers, the Sabres traded last week for defenseman Jamie McBain, who is also going into his fifth season in the NHL. The other Sabres defensemen are Mark Pysyk, Chad Ruhwedel and Brayden McNabb, Christian Ehroff, Mike Webber and Alexander Sulzer. Of those five Pysyk, Ruhwedel and McNabb havenever played in half of an NFL season.
This means the Sabres have five defensemen who are still in need of development.
The only real way for a player to develop in the NHL is through playing. This is the major reason why there is such a stark difference between college and junior league hockey to the NHL. There is even a bigger difference between the NHL and AHL.
The difference is speed, skill and player development. The NHL is the best of the best in the world of hockey, which means every situation has to be addressed in a certain way, and failure is not an option.
A good example is conditioning. Meyers, after a dismal start to the 2012-2013 regular season, admitted he didn’t come to training camp in the shape he needed to be. The top players in the NHL come to training camp in elite condition.
Sabres fans understand that the proof is in the way players play. Some players, like Meyers are taller than others and offensively gifted, which means that they already possess more strength than others, and already garner the physical ability to dominate their opposite number.
Then there are others like Webber. Webber is not a fast, skilled, player. He is a third line, stay at home defenseman. That means he has to have more muscle and be stronger than others in order to physically dominate his opponents.
Simply. Regier doesn’t get what it takes to build a franchise, which is playing players who do get it like Sabres forward Thomas Vanek.