Here we sit, in late August. While most people sit and monitor the internet on Doan-Gate, I am waiting for the Sabres to make the move that will make their fans sit up and take notice. I will not agree with the critics, or fans, that state the Derek Roy for Steve Ott trade fits that bill.
The Sabres had been trying to trade Roy for two seasons, and Ott fills a role with the Sabres that was sorely missed in the 2011-12 season. That trade is also reactive, in my opinion; it’s reactive to the fact that Ryan Miller was plowed like a snow bank in December on Washington Street.
What the Sabres need, is a Rick Nash Move. The Rick Nash move that the Rangers pulled off after six months of rumors surrounding his acquisition. There was and is a similar rumor involving Buffalo and Ryan. The Sabres need to save Bobby Ryan.
Bobby Ryan is something the Sabres need. Not necessarily the fact he is a winger, of which we are overloaded with. It is the fact that they need a kid that will put the puck in the net for 30+ goals, 65-70 points, and put a body on the power play near the net that teams will fear. The Sabres have a guy like this already in Thomas Vanek, however, it would be nice to roll out a second power play unit with Bobby Ryan.
The man will not come cheap, and I know this. However, when you look at what the Rangers gave up for a more veteran and productive winger, it made me start to think. The Rangers gave up little production and proven talent for Nash, Brandon Dubinsky (10g 24a 24 pts), Artem Anisimov (16g 20a 36pts), and a mid-level defenseman prospect in Tim Erixon. When you throw in the 2012/2013 first round pick, that package really isn’t anything to write home about. If all three players make the starting night roster for the Blue Jackets, they will make up a combined cap hit of $7,825,000.
I started to break down some numbers. I took Rich Nash’s numbers for his first four full seasons. Bobby Ryan has been in the NHL for 5 seasons; however the first season I did not count as he was a late call up and only played 23 games. For purposes of my discussion, the Rich Nash years will be 2002-03 through 2006-07 (lockout effective 2004-05). Bobby Ryan’s first four full years are 2008-09 through 20011-12.
Both Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan found their scoring touch on the goal side from day one, once allowed to open it up for a full NHL season. Nash started slower, with 17 goals in his first full season, versus Bobby Ryan who netted 31. The difference over the first four years is glaring to my eye. Bobby Ryan through his first 4 years scored 131 goals versus Rich Nash’s 116. Bobby Ryan also has more assists at 118, versus Rick Nash at 91. The difference of 42 points in that first four years may not mean much to most people, but when you look at last season’s Sabres, only four veteran players reached that number (Pominville 73, Vanek 71, Stafford 50, Roy 44). Bobby Ryan’s goals at 31 last season would have placed him in the team lead, and point total at 57, in third.
Statistics are well and good. What will I be willing to given up? Well, if Bobby Ryan continues to improve, and continues along the lines of the goal production of Rick Nash, I would say enough.
Looking at the package to send back to the Ducks, would have to include Drew Stafford. He is affordable at a good price in this market at four million per season, and netted 50 points this past season. To me, Stafford is an upgrade over Dubinsky. The Second piece would be Luke Adam. He is a center which the Ducks have publicly stated is a position of need at the NHL level.
Compared to Anisimov, I think this would be a wash talent wise. Lastly, you could blow them away with an ‘A’ prospect Mark Pysyk. He would be an upgrade over a prospect like Tim Erixon, who was sent from the NY Rangers to Columbus. I feel that Bobby Ryan if healthy could equal a career to that of Rick Nash. Tack on the first round pick in 2013, and we have my proposal.
Terry Pegula stated back on February 22, 2011: “From this point forward, the Buffalo Sabres’ reason for existence will be to win the Stanley Cup.”
Well. Here you go, Darcy. Make that jump; give up the top D prospect to catch the big fish. Make that effort, support that statement. Save Private Ryan from Anaheim, and suit him up in the Blue and Gold.