There is no question that one of Darcy’s strong suits is his drafting ability, in the past 10 years the Sabres have drafted 20 players that have seen significant time at the NHL level. Most recently, at the 2012 draft Regier upset many teams by drafting Mikhail Grigorenko at the 12th position and then trading back into the top 20 to take Zemgus Girgensons at the 14th position. Both players are highly regarded centres who fill a need on the team and could see action this season.
Darcy’s recent dabbles in free agency can be met with mixed views, acquiring the rights to Christian Ehrhoff from the Islanders and signing him prior to July 1st is viewed as a great move that strengthened the teams d-corps; the Ville Leino signing was originally viewed as a great move but has yet to pan out with Leino only posting 8 goals and 17 assists in 71 games. Prior to the Pegula era Regiers free agent signings are vastly underwhelming, including the likes of Rob Niedermayer and an array of AHL players.
The trade front has been kind to Regier during the Pegula era boasting returns of Robyn Regehr, Cody Hodgson, Alexander Sulzer, and most recently Steve Ott. Trade acquisitions Pre-Pegula include Toni Lydman, Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, and Jochen Hecht among others. All of these players made a significant impact on the organization and were brought in while Regier was shackled by unmotivated ownership.
It is quite clear that Darcy is flourishing under the new supportive ownership that has essentially given him a blank check and said build us a Stanley Cup Winner. In years where his actions were limited by owners who were unwilling to pay to keep star players and not motivated to bring a cup to Buffalo, he struggled to bring in talent through free agency but was able to draft players including the infamous “core” and make trades to improve the line-up.
One thing however is apparent, Darcy Regier has always been motivated to bring Buffalo a Stanley Cup, he has never truly had the means to do so however. Though he has not yet delivered, it is important to note the key word in this sentence. Yet.
The team has made strides toward becoming a true contender and if Regier can keep doing what he has since Pegula took over we may just see Buffalo become Hockey Heaven in the eyes of the entire NHL, not only Buffalonians.