What Darcy could do… and what he will

(WECK 1230) — Because I think it’s foolish to yell “do something” without any idea what that something should be, I’d like to proffer some ideas for Darcy Regier before things get cooking at Noon on Thursday.

Here’s the thing: I think Regier has determined that whatever value he figured he’d get for Tim Connolly and/or Derek Roy, it didn’t come close to being met before the draft and it won’t be met as well as it will be come the 2011 trade deadline.

So, pencil Connolly and Roy into your depth chart, as well as the Sabres contracted players. I’ve included RFAs Tim Kennedy and Patrick Kaleta. Your depth chart pre-free agency likely starts like this:

F- Vanek – Connolly – Stafford

Hecht – Roy – Pominville

Kennedy – Ennis – Grier

Gerbe -Gaustad – Kaleta

D- Myers – Weber

Montador – Butler

Rivet – Sekera

G- Miller

Bench- Enroth, Gragnani, Mancari

Now, what do I think Regier will do? Not too much. I think he looks at the value he won’t be getting for Roy and Connolly, and then thinks he still has to make a decent splash to his forwards. He wants to move Drew Stafford to free up a couple million dollars, because he wants to keep Henrik Tallinder and Tyler Myers together.

Tallinder will stay for cheaper for an extra year on the deal, so Regier does it. Hank gets four years and $14 million. This is not usually in Regier’s repetoire, so for him it’s acting out of character. There’s one. Now, he re-signs Matt Ellis on a one-year deal. Lindy Ruff loves the guy and he’s a no-harm signing.

Still, he needs to do some things to make this team more effective. Ellis is fine for an extra forward, but he’s got some pressure from up-top and pressure from his post-season words. First, he wants a defensive-minded winger who fits on a fourth line and the penalty kill. Looking around, he sees a guy who’s played for every team in the NHL and carries a solid reputation with hockey fans.  It’s 37-year-old Dean McAmmond signing for one-year and $700k.

But he still needs a bigger name for his right wing. He finds it in a guy who completed the Penguins power play for years and whose absence cost them dearly. With Petr Sykora, Regier can claim a Cup winner with a penchant for playing the power play, and get him on the cheap. Sykora’s two year, $4 million deal gives the team cap space for the deadline, too. If I’m adding correctly, Buffalo is $5 mil clear of the ceiling.

No, he couldn’t land a point man, but Tyler Myers will be ready for added responsibility this year and between Rivet and Butler there will be a second unit point man.

This allows Regier to recycle old interviews and say things like:

“We wanted to keep Lydman, but the market wasn’t what we thought it would be.”

“We knew we had to address leadership, and Sykora and McAmmond are respected veterans in the league.”

“We’re happy to keep Tallinder because he’s a guy we’ve grown in and knows our system.”

“We were in the market for ______, but it continues to amaze me the dollars and term being thrown out there.”

“We looked at Kaberle, but the ask was too high.”

F- Vanek – Connolly – Sykora

Hecht – Roy – Pominville

Kennedy – Ennis – Grier

McAmmond -Gaustad – Kaleta

D- Myers – Tallinder

Montador – Butler

Rivet – Sekera

G- Miller

Bench- Lalime, Weber, Ellis

So, how about me? Well, I’d love to believe Eklund’s insane suggestion that the Kings would trade Wayne Simmonds anywhere, but I have a couple shreds of intelligence left that tell me Los Angeles has no reason to trade a hard-hitting, young, defensively-able but offensively-potent forward who makes $525k this year. For the record, if he’s available, I’ll do a backflip (and I’ve never done a backflip before).

So…….. I’m dumping Connolly for two dump trucks of toilet paper. Actually, I’ll send him to Atlanta for the rights to RFA Ben Eager and a third-round pick. Don’t worry, I’m just clearing up some cap space, and Connolly’s going to be more jazzed than a Marsalis to bum around Georgia with Clarke MacArthur. Eager’s an RFA who won a Cup and will cost me $3.3 mil for three years. NET: $3 mil

Next, I’m on the phone with Don Maloney and Phoenix. He doesn’t like the idea of paying Martin Hanzal what he could command, and is willing to take a look at Drew Stafford, who has more skill and production on his resume — not to mention another year before RFA-dom — but less heart. Enter Hanzal, an RFA center who has progressed defensively, doesn’t mind punching people in the face and can score while working hard in the corners. I get him for Stafford and a pick, and I sign him for four years and $10 million. NET: even.

Now, I need a guy in the room whose going to play his ever-loving guts off. I want a guy teams love to hate. I want a guy I hated until I saw him come out of the press box injured to stick up for an injured teammate when his bench was quiet. I’m giving two years and $4 million to — I can’t believe I’m saying this — Darcy Tucker. NET: minus-$2 mil

I’m re-signing Lalime for a buck to keep Miller happy, and issuing Matt Ellis a one-year one-way to show the room I reward effort (plus Lindy loves him). So I’ve got all the Lydman and Tallinder money remaining. Honestly, I could sign either, but instead I go big. I make the move no one expects. I sign Anton Volchenkov for surprisngly reasonable money, and I pair him with Myers for a long, long time. Six years, $30 million. Honestly, if it takes more than that, you’re overpaying for a guy with very limited offensive upside. Besides, Montador and Rivet come off the books next year, and that money goes to Myers.

F- Vanek – Roy – Tucker

Hecht – Hanzal – Pominville

Kennedy – Ennis – Grier

Eager -Gaustad – Kaleta

D- Myers – Volchenkov

Montador – Butler

Rivet – Sekera

G- Miller

Bench- Lalime, Ellis, Weber

I’m sure I screwed up the math somewhere in here, but it’s been two hours and I want to watch some “Law & Order: SVU.” Maybe “Criminal Intent.”

How about you? Show me your moves.

Email: nickonweck@gmail.com

5 Responses to What Darcy could do… and what he will

  1. TheTick says:

    I’ve said it before, Darcy Tucker is one of the few pro athletes I’d want to kick in the nuts if I met him.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicholas Mendola. Nicholas Mendola said: Alright, here's what I think Regier will do…and what I'd do: http://bit.ly/bRER7U #Sabres #NHL [...]

  3. Brandon says:

    Im pretty positive Sykora already signed in the KHL for next yr.

  4. [...] Nick Mendola has a pretty good idea of what Darcy may or may not do on deadline day and after to get this team ready for next season in his in depth look inside the general managers mind. [...]

  5. Jesse says:

    Tucker’s career is spent. Especially for a top line role. Regier will “be suprised by the market” for Volchenkov so don’t even think about him. Rivet won’t be back for opening night, we will sign a veteran for cheap as an insurance policy for our early season and possible mentoring in Portland.