While the move could find him in the minors after a poor year, you’d have a better bet that he’ll make a lot more jack come a somewhat successful year for the Broadway Blueshirts.
Kennedy has made big strides during his second year at every level he’s played (He did not see a second year in the American League). While the NHL is the best of the best, you’d be hard-pressed to convince me Kennedy couldn’t do it in 2010-11. He went from 19 to 61 points with Sioux City, followed by a 19 to 43 point jump at Michigan State.
Kennedy’s offensive numbers suffered during his rookie year thanks to an ill-advised position switch to center, but the diminutive forward broke out of a massive slump late in the year, posting four goals and four assists in his final 15 games. He posted three points in the Sabres’ first-round loss to Boston and, save for one crucial embarrassment versus vet Mark Recchi, was identifiable on the ice (something that couldn’t be said for all of the team’s forwards).
I’d expect Kennedy to have a Peter Mueller-esque year without the first-round status. Line him up for around 15 goals and 30 assists providing he gets time with real forwards and not Derek Boogaard.
Some in the media will contend that Kennedy walked himself out of town by asking for money the Sabres clearly didn’t want to give him, and there’s a bit of truth to that. As we saw with Clarke MacArthur, arbiters didn’t have a real grasp on the whole “hockey” thing this year. As for the Sabres, let’s hope the depth Darcy Regier thinks he has is legit.