Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GM for a Day

Oh, happy day!  Bucky's GM for a Day column has arrived.  Patrick Sharp for unnamed prospects (and picks)?  Check!  Sheldon Souray?  Check!  I should probably be frightened at how well I know Bucky's thought process.

I hit on my problems with Sheldon Souray last post but one line in Bucky's column really stuck with me.  "Dependable when healthy."  I'm not sure that phrase even makes sense.  The fact that he's been so unhealthy the last few years is what makes him the opposite of dependable.  I also get the feeling every time Bucky talks about Souray (he's come up in previous off-seasons) that he thinks his size automatically makes him a big, physical defenseman and I really don't believe that's the case at all.  Maybe I'm mistaken, but I don't think Souray plays very much defense either.  Which is scary in light of his whopping 4 power play points last season.  Maybe - just maybe! - there's a reason Edmonton would love to get rid of him.  Bucky uses the word "unload" to describe Edmonton's desire to move him.  That's a bit of a red flag word, isn't it?

My main problem with Bucky's proposed roster is the defensive corp: Tomas Kaberle, Sheldon Souray, Tyler Myers, Craig Rivet, Steve Montador, Chris Butler, and Mike Weber.  That doesn't seem like a very good defensive corp.  He removed two of the biggest minute eaters and the two primary penalty killers and replaced them with two guys who don't play particuarly good defense.  The other defensive options - Pavel Kubina, Joe Corvo - aren't much better.  And while I would take Paul Martin, I think Bucky is wrong that he isn't going to get a raise from someone.  One season of playing less than 73 games isn't going to undo his reputation.  That's crazy.  For all the talk over the last few years about the Sabres misreading the market (and there's some truth in that for sure), Bucky consistently does the same thing.  When he's attempted to pin an actual number on a player, he's often way off which just goes to prove that this really isn't that easy.

I'm also a little surprised that Bucky went on and on about gamers and then lumped Jochen Hecht in with the deadweight.  Okay, he's overpaid for a 20 goal scorer.  But with the exception of one season, he's been one of the  most responsible, hardest working players on the roster.  I won't harp on it too much since Bucky didn't push for it hard but still, I'm not sure how you even come up with that idea.  (On a side note, I don't think his ending works as well as he probably thinks it does.  He spends the whole column talking about how the Sabres need gamers and then ends with, "Adam Mair is a gamer.  (Get rid of him!)")

For the record, I tried to punch the numbers into Cap Geek's salary cap calculator to see if Bucky ended up within his $57 million target, but I kept losing track of his moves. Even though I kind of called it, it was pretty lame of him to trade Sharp for unnamed picks and prospects.  And at the end of the column he just started throwing names out there so I have no idea who he was really adding to his total and who he wasn't or if he was even keeping a total or just hoping it all worked out. I know he didn't account for Mike Weber needing a new contract.  I'm assuming it won't be a huge bump but still something that needs to be taken into consideration.  I'm sure he doesn't know anything about Cap Geek, being scared of the internet and all which is too bad because it's an awesome tool and pretty fun to just play with..

I don't know, I guess the bottom line is that I'm not sure how much better Bucky's proposed roster is than the one we had last season.  Patrick Sharp would be a definite upgrade at center.  Kaberle does probably make the power play better which would be very nice.  But is that enough offense to compensate for a defensive corp that seems more likely to leave Ryan Miller out hanging more than this past season's did?  And what about the penalty kill?  Will it be worse?  Or would an improved power play balance that out?

Let's hear some opinions.  What do you think of Bucky's plan?  What do you agree or disagree with?  Who do you really want to get rid of and who do you really want to pick up?  Am I worried too much about the defense and penalty killing?  Is it okay to get a little worse there if it means getting better on offense?


CriminallyVu1gar said...

I'd love to see us get Martin, maybe $5.5M would do the trick? He currently makes $4.5M I believe.

One guy I really want is Zybnek Michalek from Phoenix. Very solid player and underpaid at $1.5M. We could give him a nice little bonus and still make out with a better and cheaper Dman than Tallinder and Lydman.

One thing I don;t want to see is us going after Volchenkov. He's the same player as Lydman at the same cost with worse playoff performances, and more time injured. No thanks.

joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joe said...

Here's the thing about your comments about the Sabres not having enough defense with Bucky's version.

If there's one thing I believe in with Regier and Ruff, it's that they have a history of being able to find defenseman and groom them to be 20-25 minute guys. That's been the most consistent thing going for Ruff and Regier over the years. Even back to the 90's they could find someone, whether it was Rhett Warrner/Jay McKee or even developing Hank and Toni from 2005,they know defense. In other words: They can always find that steady stay-home defenseman.

As for the puck-moving blueliner, that's something the Sabres have always lacked (besides Campbell). They have always been bad on the point in getting pucks on net.

If it's Souray and Kaberle for Lydman/Tallinder, I would have confidence in your home boy Regier in developing guys like Weber and Montador into stay at home guys.

Now, I'm an offensive guy, so I'm biased towards them. However, if you look at the two teams in the Finals, they had a number of defenseman who could carry the puck in and be offensive threats, that's something we can't say for the Sabres. Plus, those teams that weren't screaming defense when watching them play. New NHL, right?

Now, if the Sabres decided in real life to let Toni and Hank walk and replaced them with Montador version 2.0 or a cheap replacement, I would be pissed.


Yes, I didn't dig his whole prospects and picks for sharp deal. It would have been better if he did research and found a press clipping of the Hawks GM saying that he liked Nathan Gerbe in the 2000 whatever draft. At least give me a reason why Toronto or Chicago would be interested in Stafford or Whoever.

In the perfect world, Bucky's moves look good for the Sabres. Highly unlikely they will happen though.

James W said...

Souray is a train wreck defensively. He has a huge shot and can beat guys up in front. Oh yeah, and he can't stay healthy.

That's not what I want for $4.5M in salary & a $5.4M cap hit.

I like the idea of getting Patrick Sharp. My guess is that Chicago would ask for Ennis + 1st rounder for him.

Coincidentally, that is likely the package that Toronto would ask for in exchange for Kaberle.

I would be very surprised if any team would be able to land both Kaberle & Sharp this off season.

At the end of the day, this is one of the absolute worst "GM for a Day" columns that Bucky has put out there for all the reasons you point out.

He has no roster at the end of it and he has no concrete list of trades & UFA signings that you can see if everything works against the cap AND a reasonable guess as to the Sabres internal player payroll budget.

Anonymous said...

The Jochen thing is bonkers.

And in response to James' comment, if Ennis is asked as the prospect in either of the deals, I hang up the phone.

Anne M said...

1. I agree with everyone who says Bucky is nuts to think Sharp is available for picks and prospects. Please.

2. Bucky trashes Connolly for averaging 56 games per over the past three seasons. OK, I get where he's coming from on that. Let's just take a peek at Souray's average over the same period. 48! And he's 5 years older, so I doubt he's getting healthier or more reliable. Great point about "unload" being a red flag, too.

3. I'm totally down with Paul Martin (though I highly doubt the Sabres get him). Again, Bucky's lack of consistency pointed up here--Paul Martin is pretty freaking reliable when he's healthy. More so than Souray! I am also more or less down with Kaberle, especially if Stafford is part of that deal. I am 100% over Stafford and the sooner he's gone, the better.

4. "His 21 goals last season were less impressive when discounting his knack for scoring from terrible angles." This is just a dumb, pointless thing to say. Do the goals count for less if they come from terrible angles?

5. I'm actually on board with the general concept that the Sabres need some tweaking and I can even swallow "gamers" as the category of player they need. But, much as I like Adam Mair, I don't think he really qualifies. I want the gamers to have BOTH the heart/leadership/other squishy intangibles AND decent-to-good skills (perhaps with a specialty, say awesome on PK or good at clearing the crease on the PP). They need to be able to turn that squishy stuff into something on the ice. Mike Grier is the quintessential gamer to me.

Heather B. said...

Criminally, I'm not really super familiar with Michalek, but the numbers certainly sound good. I was a little surprised Bucky didn't mention Volchenkov, but I agree with you. I like him, but I think if a defensive d-man gets overpaid this off-season, it's going to be him.

Joe, I see what you're saying, but Bucky mentioned in his column that he was looking at the roster he was building as a step up from last season's roster, moving us closer to being a contender, and starting over with guys who aren't as developed seems like a step back. And I agree with you on the need for an offensive d-man, I just don't want to replace all the defense we lose with offense instead. I need a better balance than what he presents here. That is partly personal preference though, I know.

James, I hadn't really thought about it but I think you're probably right that no one is likely to score Sharp - if he's even the Blackhawk who gets moved - and Kaberle because of a similarity in packages asked for. That's a good point.

I just went back to check something in the column and discovered that it now has a roster with salaries attached. Wonder if that was supposed to be there all along or if that was an addition?

Anne, I kind of get where Bucky is going with Sharp. Chicago is in a pickle and they need to shed salary without taking too much back. But "picks and prospects" is so generic. Which picks? How many picks? Which prospects? The details make the deal and since Sharp was a player he was really targeting, I would have liked to have seen Bucky put a more specific price on him. (I also don't think there's any way Gerbe is going to be the main prospect in a package for Kaberle.)

I didn't even really think about his commentary on Jochen's bad angle shots but you're SO right that that's a silly criticism. I'd much rather watch Jochen take 25 ridiculous shots and occasionally bank one in off the goalie's head than watch Connolly and Roy dipsy-doodle for 15 minutes while never taking any kind of shot. I'm pretty sure that at some point last season, I saw Bucky make the observation that most goals in the current NHL aren't pretty, skilled ones but pucks that find a weird hole or get the right deflection. So hey, let's get rid of the guy who's pretty good at those kinds of goals.

Vanek's Hair said...

Bucky's GM for a Day is always a humor column for me. He obviously has no idea that signing players to extensions or free agent contracts (sorry to get all legally technical) require both the offer AND acceptance. His column always presumes acceptance of his offer.

The random name dropping is funny. Especially since he wants "gamers" (whatever that means) and yet he wants Lee Stempniak, who ended the 2010 Playoffs tied with me in goals. Gamer is another sports cliche I despise.

I have no use for Souray. A terrible team is trying to dump him so exactly how does that make the Sabres better? Tomas Kaberle I can honestly take or leave. And Matt Ellis stays? Really. Fine, he gives an honest effort every night, unfortunately "honest effort" does not translate to "producing goals"