Watching Regier watch the market set itself is infuriating

(WECK 1230) — Another first-round pick was moved today to ensure a team makes the playoffs. This one was moved inside the trading team’s division. Predictable names have had their long-rumoured asking price met and moved. Names not many knew were available also moved to new locales.

Darcy Regier has moved from his office chair to his car and back.

It’s irresponsible to verbally crucify any general manager for not dealing yet when a move could be announced any moment and render any critical opinions moot… unless you’re someone like me who advocated the oft-insecure Regier should set the market himself.

The Senators have sent Mike Fisher to Nashville for a first-round pick and also moved forward Chris Kelly to Boston for a pick. Yep, the latter was in division. Boston closed down Marc Savard for the season and then acquired playmaker Rich Peverley from Atlanta to fill his role. Worse? They gave up an actual asset in Blake Wheeler, underperforming as he may be.

It’s not just Boston whom Regier figures has “lost its mind.” The Canadiens gave up a couple picks to get James Wisniewski from the Isles when Andrei Markov was lost for the season. The rationale was “Why wait?”

Then there’s the Maple Leafs. Bryan Burke is generally regarded as a shrewd hockey mind, and he has eschewed traditional wisdom by not once, but twice working with a first-round pick within his own division. First he sent picks to Boston in exchange for Phil Kessel two years ago. Today, he used the same trading partners to acquire a first-round pick and the kid Boston took for Tomas Kaberle.

The rub of this whole thing — and it is infuriating — is that Burke out-Regiered Regier. The Sabres general manager only likes to give up picks when he can get them back. Well check the math with the primary pieces in the two trade:

Boston gets: Tomas Kaberle, 1st rder 2010 (Tyler Seguin), 2nd rder 2010 (Jared Knight), 1st rder 2011

Toronto gets: Phil Kessel, Joe Colborne (1st rder 2008), 1st rder 2011, conditional second round pick.

Look at that! He gets Kessel and use of Kaberle for an extra year in order to — what? — move a couple spots around? Colborne, for the record, is a pretty well-regarded prospect.

Sorry to be blunt, but with every move that goes down — admittedly with time to spare — Regier looks more and more like the wimpiest general manager in hockey. Quite literally every team in the division has made moves for now or the future. Regier has Paul Byron in the NHL well before he’s ready, which used to be the against the GM’s credo.

This is brutal stuff, and unless he’s operating on a no-trade list that involves every player on the team, here’s hoping Terry Pegula is seething. The new owner is about to inherit a team that falls behind in future prospects (Ottawa and Toronto) and playoff prospects (Montreal and Boston) every single day.

Email: nickonweck@gmail.com

15 Responses to Watching Regier watch the market set itself is infuriating

  1. If Pegula is seething with similar impatience, prepare for your hockey team to be a lot worse.

  2. Mike says:

    He’s in love with the team, obviously.
    I hold out hope that he’ll do something more than get Dominic Moore/Raffi Torres/whomever at the trade deadline.

  3. Nick says:

    At least you are consistent with your “take a QB and wait for him to be good” football draft philosophy and you’re “never trade picks to be better now” hockey philosophy. I’ll give you that, though I fail to see how having a better center now would make the Sabres a lot worse, especially with Connolly in the wind next season and that void needing to be filled.

  4. I concur with Darcy that trading high draft picks to rent a player for 2 months will often backfire on you. I think the selling sides in both of the TOR/BOS deals came out clear winners. The Sabres have not been among the bottom of the league in order to take advantage of their weak divisional partners, unfortunately.

    Nick, you’re like most fans concerning trades. Just make one! The grass is always greener with the player you don’t know as well.

    Also, I’m listening to Mike Schopp and Sabres’ homers talking about Terry Pegula today, and it’s official: You’re all insane. I’d suggest bailing now Mr. Pegula, because in the 97% chance you don’t win the Cup by 2012, you will be a pariah.

  5. Zach says:

    Really? Burke always makes his splash well before the deadline. He did it last year with Phaneuf/Giguere and he’s doing it this year with Kaberle. Darcy will make a move and I would put my life savings on it. What exactly would you like him to do?

  6. Nick says:

    Well, that’s the point. We’d judge the move anyway, of course. But if guys like Fisher are being moved for a 1st, that’s good. Not to mention a lot of these guys are locked up beyond this year in Fisher’s case. Wheeler is an RFA. Versteeg is through 2012. Toronto, Ottawa, Boston… three teams that had a guy available who would’ve helped the Sabres in some regard and been on the roster next year. In Fisher’s case, he could be a captain on this particular squadron.

  7. Mike says:

    Yeah, but I seriously doubt Fisher would have ever come to Buffalo over Nashville.

  8. Jay says:

    I think the point is is that once again, probably to the disbeief of Darcy Regier, other GMs in the NHL seem capable of making deals sooner than 2 hours before the trade deadline.

    Are any of these moves ones that I would want the Sabres to have made? Not necessarily. But this idea that Regier has to wait EVERY YEAR for other deals to occur and “set the market” before he can pull the trigger is a pantsload.

  9. Bob says:

    Darcy doesn’t need to make any trades. His own words were the Sabres are a Stanley Cup contender, Connelly and Roy are two of the top 20 centers in the league. He has made great investments , Pommenville $5.5 million year, Connolly $4.5 mil a year, Hecht $3.5 mil a year. There isn’t another GM out there that would even consider any of the above for a trade. The Sabres are well set for the future, another year of playing together and getting better. Great job Darcy. I hope the first move made by the new ownership is to ship you out.

  10. boonies says:

    the sooner this Human Dialtone is shipped off to do open air scouting in the Bering Sea-Yukon district the better…Elmer Fudd has had his try, let Ted Black watch him in action and see how long he lasts..
    .I hear knives sharpening somewhere hehheheheh…

  11. Pominville has been a solid top 20 winger since his 30 goal season. $5.5M is not a bargain, but he’s lived up to his value. Connolly was a risky extension that highly paid off until the foot injury, he was a top 10 center before that.

    Decisions that were bad: Craig Rivet $3.5M, Rob Niedermayer $1.25M.

  12. Jay says:

    Connolly was a TOP 10 center until his foot injury?????

    Pominville has been a SOLID TOP 20 winger since his 30 goal season (4 years ago, by the way)??? As in LEAGUE-WIDE???

    ‘K then.

  13. Connolly was PPG+ for most of last season. That’s awesome value at $4.5M. He’s been very disappointing since the foot injury, that goes on Darcy, but it’s a risk I can’t hate him for taking.

    I stand by my Pominville comment. He has special offensive ability and sight. Wish he’d have a more accurate shot, though. And by most reports, good team guy, works hard, etc… I think he’s like many on the Sabres, he’d be much better utilized if we ever had a true sniper (hopefully Stafford is finally rounding into that).

  14. Jay says:

    Connolly since his injury has simply returned back to what he’s been the majority of his Sabres’ career. And EXACTLY why he should not have been resigned 2 years ago.

    You’re not the only one that wishes Pominville could hit the net more often. Unfortunately, that’s part of the gig. How special can your offensive talent be when the most fundamental aspect of that – scoring goals – just does not happen often enough? Won’t argue that he works hard or is a good team guy, but there are plenty of players not making $5.5 million in this league that do that. He’s not a dog, but there’s just plenty of better wingers in the NHL.

  15. Mike says:

    Read this article from Maine Hockey Journal:
    http://mainehockeyjournal.com/2011/02/21/9685/

    Holy cow, do you think Tim Kennedy sounds motivated against his old team? That really has to sting Regier. I was honestly willing to give Regier the benefit of the doubt about Kennedy last year when he bought him out, but that decision is looking worse and worse by the day.