Just a few thoughts about Bucky Gleason's column today which, shockingly, did not include a single reference to James Wisniewski. (You'll be happy to know he more than made up for it in his chat.) Again, I won't argue too hard with the opinion that re-signing Tim Connolly at his price was a bad move. I can't certainly understand feeling that way. But I do have a few smallish things to address.
In the days leading into the deadline, talk around the league was that Connolly wasn’t interested in returning to the Sabres.
I have to admit to being very curious about this and who exactly was talking. Connolly has never struck me as the kind of guy who would go out of his way to say nice things just to say them. Let's face it. He comes across as a major prick sometimes. But he said a number of times in the past few weeks that he really wanted to stay in Buffalo and he sounded very sincere which is something else he does not exactly specialize in. Yesterday he also sounded genuinely pleased that it worked out here. Granted, he had just signed a nine million dollar contract. I just think it's intersting that the league was evidently talking about this and yet the only place I heard anything like this was from Bucky. In no way am I accusing Bucky of making something up. I'm sure he does have his sources. And lord knows pro athletes occasionally say things they don't actually mean. I just think it's interesting.
Nobody would deny Connolly’s talent, but Roy is a better center and will make $1.5 million less in the next two years.
I've seen Bucky use Roy's contract as a measuring stick a few times now and I think that's a little deceiving. One, Roy's contract was signed two years ago now. The cap has gone up every year since then and when the cap goes up, salaries go up. I think a rising cap makes it very hard to compare salaries from year to year. I'd say that Roy is more talented than Jason Pominville too and Pominville is making more as well, partly because his deal was signed a year later. And two, Roy's contract is an amazing bargain and has been pretty much from day one. He's underpaid and that makes it a little bit of a cheat to use his price as a comparison, I think.
Signing him was their big move on a day in which their rivals in the Eastern Conference playoff race made stronger attempts to get better. The only team that didn’t make a key trade before the deadline was Florida, which kept defenseman Jay Bouwmeester with the idea it was better with him than without him.
I think this is overstating things a lot. All the other teams made moves but I don't know that most of them were particularly strong. Most of them were smallish moves made by teams that are in a good position and just need some tweaking. I don't know that there's a huge difference between Pittsburgh addressing a need for tough wingers by getting Bill Guerin and the Sabres addressing the need for some depth in the middle by getting Dominic Moore.
Essentially, the Sabres traded away a rental free agent who should have been gone two years ago in Ales Kotalik for a rental free agent who will be gone after this season in Dominic Moore.
Darcy Regier danced around the question about the team's plans for Moore beyond this season but I think it's natural to assume part of the reason they made the deal is because they like him and want to get a closer look at him. I'm not saying that means he'll definitely be back here next year. I have no idea how he'll work out and what kind of contract demands he's making. But Bucky doesn't know those things either. His assumption that Moore definitely will not be back next season bugs me.
Henrik Tallinder, who acknowledged a few weeks ago he needed a change in scenery, is still here.
This bugs me too. The only exchange I've seen any record of regarding needing a change of scenery is Jerry Sullivan's column last weekend. In that column, Sully said he asked Hank if a change of scenery can be good for a player and Hank responded with, "Oh, yeah." Sully was interpreting that as him suggesting he could use a change of scenery and I'm okay with that interpretation especially since Sully made it clear that it was his interpretation. But that is decidedly not the same thing as Hank saying, "I need a change of scenery," which is what Bucky is implying here. Unless he's talking about a different conversation, he's veering awfully close to putting words in someone's mouth.
That aside, hello, Hank is still here because Darcy didn't like anything that was offered for him. Pretty simple. I can understand dumping Max for nothing - although I think the alternative of trying to get something out of him first is better if there really were no offers - but Hank is more valuable than that. He's one of the teams best trade assets and if getting good value for him means waiting until the off-season than I think that's what you have to do. We're already looking at a very young defensive corp next season with Chris Butler, Andrej Sekera and Mike Weber. Pull out Teppo Numminen and maybe Jaroslav Spacek and that's even more experience gone. I would feel much more comfortable having another veteran d-man in place before we deal Hank. I mean, really. I think in this area I'll trust the judgment of the people who actually know what all the offers were rather than someone who's listening to rumors.
Tellqvist didn’t cost more than the change in your ashtray. The Sabres didn’t give up any extra draft picks or any warm bodies under the age of 25.
But that's... good, right?
I guess part of my problem with this column is that I'm just not sure what Bucky really wanted the Sabres to do. He's been saying for months that the Sabres aren't good enough to make any kind of playoff run this season and they should focus on being better for the next couple of years. Outside of re-signing Connolly, I don't really see why what they did at the deadline flies in the face of that enough for Bucky to be such a pompous grouch the last couple of days. Is his complaint that they didn't do enough to get better for this season? Or that they didn't do enough to get better for the future? Because if it's the latter, the trade deadline is not the only time you can work on building your team. I would actually argue that it's probably not a very good time to do that if you're not either selling everything off or close enough to winning that you can do some tweaking. Half the teams in the league are still in the playoff hunt right now. There were very few big, future impact deals made. It's during the off-season, once the playoffs are over, that teams are really going to be examining their rosters and deciding what to do with various assets. I would think the off-season is also better suited to someone as deliberate as Darcy. I just don't get the level of outrage and disgust he's shown the last few days in his writing and in his chats.
But again, what do I know? I'm just a blogger.