Buffalo Sabres: An Offseason of Promise Ended with Subtle Disappointment

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The Sabres went into the offseason with a spending limit: the cap. Terry Pegula made it clear that the Sabres, for the first time since the cap was established, were to spend to the limit.

The desire to show this was “Hockey Heaven” won the fans over.

An early signing of Christian Ehrhoff made everyone excited. Robyn Regehr’s arrival made everyone equally thrilled. With those two, the Sabres successfully acquired a defensive and offensive defenseman. Ville Leino joining the team could only add to it, even if the price tag had a little bit more than necessary.

The loss in the Brad Richards race was less hurtful once everyone found out that he was interested pretty much solely in the Rangers.

However, the Sabres failed to make good on one thing many people will come to realize soon: sign a No. 1 center.

Derek Roy is no No. 1 center. He was playing well last year before his injury, however it seemed that the team, especially linemate Thomas Vanek, excelled in his absence.

Brad Boyes is at best a second line center, but that’s a stretch. He should be manning the third line, which for his price tag is a little disappointing.

Paul Gaustad has no place being a top center. He is a great faceoff man, but the rest of his game lacks the fine skills required to be in the top of the lineup. 

So who is the Sabres’ top center? Roy is by default. However, with the moves the Buffalo Sabres have made, that’s a disappointment. People sat by thinking the Sabres had one more cap-clearing move to make to sign a big-name center. That never came.

Without it, the Sabres aren’t in deep trouble, but a disadvantage. Think of the best teams in the league, the Stanley Cup champions of past. Every team had a star center.

If Terry Pegula wants to make good on his promise for the cup, he better get in Darcy’s ear quick to find a center. Otherwise, it’s going to be a struggle to be a playoff team. There’s time, but it’s running out until the season starts. A midseason trade is possible, but why wait? 

This offseason started with a lot of promise, so preseason seems about the time to cap it off on a positive note as well.

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