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?