Marilyn Sarvis, Buffalo Sabres Correspondent
It’s true, the Buffalo Sabres have been quiet in this off-season- they haven‘t signed any of the big names out there, nor have they made a big trade. Every year, there are a few teams that open up their wallets and sign the biggest names on the market. The Buffalo Sabres run by GM Darcy Regier have never, and will never be that team.
However, the players themselves don’t seem to think they’re in any trouble; they’re quite confident with who they’re going to play with this coming season, even if some fans and media in and around Buffalo have criticized the lack of a big signing or trade. Regier has added former-Sabre Mike Grier and two defenseman in Steve Montador and Joe DiPenta, as well as forward Jeff Cowan.
Darcy Regier has a reason to stay (mostly) inactive during this offseason. He knows the talent that the Sabres have in their current roster. The Buffalo Sabres are a playoff contender as they are. They missed the playoffs in the past two seasons by the slim margin of four (07-08) and two (08-09) points.
Unfortunate injuries and growing pains have been the main problem for this still relatively young team. They received what they were looking for just last season- a solid leader in Craig Rivet, who spent a good chunk of the season injured.
There are no more excuses after now- this team has grown together and played well despite the lack of a post season, and this season will be the litmus for Regier’s competence as a GM and his assurance that this team will perform well as it is.
As for the future of his team, Regier puts his confidence in the draft and youth that is developing- in prospects currently signed to entry level deals, as well as prospects who will wait another year or two for a crack at the AHL level.
The Sabres held Rookie Development Camp again this year at Niagara University’s Dwyer Arena in early July- fans got to see a few glimpses of the future- watching prospects a call-up away like Mike Weber and Nathan Gerbe sharing the ice with younger prospects like TJ Brennan and Luke Adam.
This season there will be an abundance of young talent in Portland waiting for a call up to the big show, and while Tyler Myers isn’t eligible to play in the AHL this year, many believe that he will play a few games with the Sabres- that is unless he has been studying Chris Butler, who was called up last season and spent the remainder of the season with the big club, playing 47 games.
It remains to be seen what this training camp will bring and who will end up on the final roster, however, it seems likely Regier will make more moves with the time he has remaining during the off-season, with 8 defensemen and 14 forwards on the current roster.
Until the actual season begins, though, plenty of publications will likely downplay the Sabres choice to develop and use their home-grown talent. Regier and the rest of Buffalo, however, will wait to see how this team, with a core that has been together for years, will perform.