Friday, July 27, 2007

I Love Derek Roy and I'm Not Ashamed to Admit It

Derek Roy and the Sabres came to an agreement, 6 years/24 million dollars. That's a lot of money right now, but I think Derek is going to be worth it, particularly by the middle of the contract. I was cruising message boards this morning, trying to see if the arbitration hearing had taken place and I was genuinely surprised at how much fans seem to be underrating Derek. One criticism that kept popping up over and over is that he had the luxury of playing with two of the most offensively gifted players in Thomas Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov. While it's true that they're gifted, I think sometimes those kind of players are tough to play with. They're quick and creative and not always easy to keep up with. During his time in Buffalo, Max has frustrated more linemates than he's flourished with. Plus that line stayed productive even when Max was out and Stafford was in so really folks, let's give Derek a little bit of credit, okay? I think his versatility - he can play on an offensive line or a defensive line - makes him more valuable then some of the younger forwards. He has the capability of being a strong two-way player when he's using his brain and he's already one of our better penalty killers. He's scrappy and doesn't shy away from hitting or being hit the way some guys of his size do. He totally gets under the opposition's skin. And for a team that is allegedly dying for leadership, he has a lot of potential in that area. He captained the Kitchener Rangers to a Memorial Cup in the OHL and is clearly an important part of the core group of guys. Don't get me wrong, Derek could definitely do with some maturing. I think he dove a lot less this past season than he did the previous season but he still goes down a little too easily sometimes (although let's also keep in mind that he is tiny and sometimes tiny people get knocked down). And he definitely needs to quit with the whining about every call/non-call he doesn't like. He lets that stuff bother him too much and he starts taking stupid penalties. But I think maturity will come. He's 24 years old and he's only been in the league for three years. He's gotten noticeably better every year and I think he still has some room to grow. If salaries keep going up or even stay where they are now, four million for Derek is going to be a good deal. As much as he frustrates me sometimes, I love watching Derek play and I'm glad he'll be around for a while.

After putzing around on the ol' internet for a few minutes, I can't believe how many people are complaining about this deal. People were moaning and groaning about the lack of foresight management had about Briere and Drury but now that the ownership is taking a chance on a young player and locking him up long-term, the same people are moaning and groaning about it. What exactly will make you guys happy? Anything? Is every deal from here on out going to be greeted with complaints like, "I can't believe they wouldn't give Briere 5 million/5 years in the off-season before the 2006-2007 season but they're going to give this yahoo this contract!" Everyone agreed last off-season that 5 million for Briere was ridiculous. Everyone agrees this off-season that 7 million for Briere was ridiculous. Derek's deal in the current market is much more reasonable and has far more upside that either of the Briere contracts did in their markets. I really feel like it's time we moved past comparing everything to two guys who are not on the team anymore. Is Buffalo always like this in the off-season or am I just noticing?


Gambler said...

Okay, first of all, I adore the fact that you have a "Chill Out Buffalo" tag. Hee!

Overall this looks like a good deal. I love Roy, too, for as much as he drives me nuts, and I'm glad he'll be around long term. Still, I gotta say, while this contract looks good for the Sabres, it makes me nervous for where the NHL is heading financially. I mean, if this is what Roy gets now, what are we going to have to give Miller in a couple of years? Or Campbell next year? It's nuts.

At least this means that if Roy leaves Buffalo in 6 years as a UFA he can't try to play the same "they don't appreciate me" games Drury and Briere did. Because 6 years and $24 mil at this point is a hell of a lot of faith.

I informed one of my co-workers about this deal today, and he promptly declared that I had ruined his day, and that Roy is a "terrible hockey player." When I tried to point out that no, he's actually not, he countered with "You're right. He's a horrible hockey player!" Between that guy, and the guy who did an actual spit take when I said I'd rather we overpay Vanek than overpay Drury or Briere, I think my entire workplace should be filed under "Chill Out Buffalo."

brian s. said...

I am so glad that Roy signed for 6 years. Can you imagine if he hadn't and Buffalo lost their top 3 centermen in one offseason? He is a decent defensive forward, is on the verge of becomming a really good playmaker, and will be one of the leaders on this team. I don't see any problems with this. Now let's work on next years free agents so we don't have to worry about this again.

Becky said...

I think 4 mil is a bit much this year, but as soon as next year it could look like a steal - definitely at the end of 6 years. Big picture time.

Wild guess, I would bet Roy wanted respect aka money, and the Sabres wanted years. Deal!

It's amazing how much the financial landscape has changed in the NHL within a month, isn't it?

Heather B. said...

Gambler, I think I've only used the "Chill Out Buffalo" tag twice, but I probably could've used it more. Buffalo isn't exactly shy about its feelings, you know? I love that about us but man, it can be exhausting especially when you're on the opposite end of the spectrum.

You're right about salaries though. It's crazy. I'm currently reading a book called Money Players that's about the NHL and what led up the lockout. I'm not very far into yet but some of it is sounding awfully familiar...

Brian, I'm hoping the talk about dealing with Campbell and the other UFAs is serious. I'd love to not have to live through another off-season like this one again. I'm sure losing Campbell wouldn't inspire the passion that losing Drury and Briere did but still... way too much stress.

Becky, I think your guess on the money/years is right. I kind of got that feeling from a couple of comments from Roy and Regier too. And I can't believe how much things have changed. Last season almost everyone agreed that Briere's 5 million arbitration award was crazy. Today it would look like a freakin' bargain! How do things go so crazy so quickly?

Kate said...

Even in the deep woods, I went out of my way to find out what happened with little Roysie. Hoo-ray! I like it.

Buffalo is such a whiny bitch. We will NEVER be satisfied, so I'm not paying attention to our yapping anymore. This deal is EXACTLY what everyone has been squawking for....but does Buffalo like it? No.

One thing I think this deal shows is Darcy's willingness to change. Everyone has been crying about how Darcy "Makes the same mistakes, EVERY YEAR!" Well Buffalo, time to shut your pie hole. This is NOT the same mistake. At the VERY WORST it's a different mistake. :)

I like long term deals, and I'm not afraid to say it.

Heather B. said...

Kate! I'm so glad to see you! I went to bed last night feeling like it just wasn't right not talking to you about Derek's contract so all in now right in my world!

Kate said...

Awww! Hi Heather! For awhile it looked like there would be blissful internet access in the woods, but now the signal is gone. I had to drive into town this morning to find a signal. I can't tell if it's the internet, or the internet as it relates to hockey, or my new hockey internet friends, but I am full-on addicted to the interwebs right now.

I'm happy about Roysie. I can feel myself starting to heal from free agency day. You might be disturbed to know that I have been watching DEVILS games on Google because I wanted to shore up my love for a secondary team. That's how scarred I've been.

I can't WAIT for hockey to come back! *pommerdoodling*

D.O. said...

First of all, this is a great post about Roy. I can't argue with anything that has been said. I also love the deal for Roy and I think we will look back on this deal and be thankful that we are only paying Roy $4 million/season. I can't stand how quickly Buffalo fans jump on and off the bandwagon. Keep up the good work I love reading your posts.