After starting the season 2-0, in large part due to finding themselves the beneficiary of some calls that usually tend to go against them, the Buffalo Sabres find themselves at 2-3 after five games.
I'm digging a season where every game matters, by the way.
By no means are the Sabres in panic mode after dropping three straight. But given this abbreviated campaign, wins and losses at least seem to carry more weight than usual -- even though I keep telling myself it's still all relative.
That said, this type of situation certainly makes me feel like I'm much more justified when overreacting to what's going on on the ice. So maybe you think I'm crazy when I suggest that the Sabres trade Tyler Myers as soon as possible.
There are three main reasons I say this: 1) The Sabres are in need of an elite center, 2) they desperately need more offensensive weapons than merely Thomas Vanek, and 3) Tyler Myers apparently is a 6-8 pussy.
Despite adding some much-needed grit to the lineup with the additions of Steve Ott, John Scott, and Marcus Foligno, I'm still convinced the Sabres are two bold moves away from being taken seriously. Assuming one of these bold moves isn't going to be a change behind the bench, the next best thing is to go after Ryan Getzlaf (which I wrote about last season and would link to right now if I weren't using a work computer with a Windows 1927 browser).
It seemed to be conventional wisdom last year that a trade for Getzlaf started and ended with Tyler Myers. Assuming this were even possible this year, I doubt Darcy Regier would move him (which is another issue unto itself, but I digress), but I think you at least offer him up.
Maybe this is what you should expect from a 22-year-old who throws a $10 million signing bonus in the bank, but if all you're going to get out of a 6-8 defenseman is a guy who can skate the puck out of the zone (when he's not putting the puck right on an opponent's tape), well, we've already got four other ones who can do that.
Put simply, if you're not going to use a 6-8 frame to bruise the opposition, you're not worth very much (and certainly not $5 million a year). Now that Grigorenko is up for the year, I can't off the top of my head think of any center in the league who'd be better than Getzlaf at showing the new kid the ropes on the job. To say nothing about the instant firepower you'd add to both regular shifts and the power play. And Getzlaf's also 6-4.
I'm not arguing the Myers can't or won't improve. After all, you'd have to count on the Ducks valuing him as highly as they value Getzlaf (maybe even a little less given that Getzlaf's in a contract year). This move would be risky because Getzlaf is a free agent at the end of the season, but I'd think Regier would be able to offer him several million good reasons to stick around in Buffalo, especially with Myers's salary off the books.
I was happy to read today that Robyn Regehr and Alex Sulzer are going to be scratched in favor of Mike Weber and T.J. Brennan tonight. It shows that perhaps nothing is set in stone on the back end. But with eight NHL defenseman on the roster, you have to think there are some moves in the works.
Brennan, especially, needs to be playing every night now that he appears to have proven he's ready for a full time gig in the bigs. He can't be sent to Rochester because he'd almost certainly be claimed immediately. And if his AHL fight two weeks ago against Syracuse Crunch winger Richard Panik is any indication (Panik gave rookie Zemgus Girgensons a concussion with a cheap hit), he's already proven he's tougher than Myers too.
The biggest disappointment for me so far this year is the absence of Brayden McNabb, who last year looked like he was poised to give this team a much-needed physical upgrade on defense for years to come. At 6-4 himself and now a 2013 AHL all-star, he belongs with the parent club as well.
The Buffalo Sabres are stacked at D. It's time to utilize Myers's greatest asset -- his trade value -- to simultaneously add some more size and spark down the middle while making room for defensemen who are willing to clear the front of the net and make their opponents pay the price in the corners.