Let me start, by saying that I am a Buffalo sports fan. I love the city, and want to see a championship like many other Buffalo sports fans.
The biggest issue right now for the bottom teams around the league, mostly in Buffalo, is the debate of tanking to acquire a future superstar. Do you ship off your quality first line players, and stockpile 1st round picks, with the hopes of having those 17 year olds develop into studs? Or do you mortgage the future, by shipping away future draft picks, to bring in quality talent for a playoff push.
Here in Buffalo, you’re either for the Tank, or completely against it. Here at McEichel.com, we are obviously for it. My reasoning? Darcy Regier started to gut the roster long before Tim Murray took over. The team has a tremendous foundation in place, with a great farm system, that’s filled with potential top 6 forwards and quality defensemen. Allow these players time to develop, and in a few years the Sabres roster will be a force to be reckoned with.
On the other end of the spectrum, you are thought of as not being a true fan because you are rooting for your beloved franchise to fail. I do see the validity in this side, you are almost in a sense rooting against your team. Edmonton has had a plethora of first round picks, and yet they are constantly cellar dwellers. Having top picks doesn’t guarantee studs and future success.
Many feel that one player cannot help push a franchise over the top. Building a roster composed of mediocre yet effective players, will keep you near the playoff bubble. In that case, mortgaging the future comes into play, allowing 1 year rentals on studs in order to make a cup push.
I am not rooting for my team to fail, I just don’t see the point in making our team middle of the pack this year and to pass on a generational talent that will be a cornerstone player for years to come. This draft is loaded with talent and for a rebuilding franchise, the smart move is stockpile draft picks. Get as many picks in the lottery as possible, with hopes of landing one of the top 3 picks.
By no means am I stating that GM’s around the league should completely rip apart their rosters to acquire as many 1st round picks as possible. For the teams that aren’t going to make the playoffs, “Fire sales” happen every year at the trade deadline. This has become a huge issue in 2015 with 2 names that are already household names, without having logged any NHL ice time. No team wants to remove all talented players, in order to leave a roster full of inept, and lackadaisical players. The end goal is to have a good young core that hits its stride at the same time. The assumption of removing anything with a heartbeat to acquire draft picks isn’t true, and will get that general manager fired in a heartbeat.
Tanking is never a fun option, or enjoyable. The Sabres case is unique because the team wasn’t going to rebound in 1 quick season. Why over pay for free agents and ship off talented prospects in an attempt to bring in quality NHL players? The Sabres will be a scary roster in 2-3 years, there is just too much talent in the farm system for them not to. Believe it or not, when the team shows signs of making the turn, Tim Murray will trade away future picks and a few future prospects to bring in missing talent to make a cup push.