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Friday, 24 February 2012

Increasing trade value

Like I've said many times in previous blogs, it's no secret the Sabres have been struggling this season and because of those struggles the Sabres are likely to be sellers this trade deadline. One of the players who has been struggling most of the season is Derek Roy, but on Sunday in Buffalo against the Penguins (a game I had the pleasure of attending) Roy possibly had his best game since returning from injury last year. He scored twice and added an assist in aiding the Sabres to a 6-2 thumping of the Penguins. He was also named the first star of the game (an honor that could have easily gone to Ryan Miller).
But lately, the struggling Derek Roy has been picking up his play, which is good news for Sabres fans and Sabres management as this is undoubtedly helping increase his trade value.

The Sabres drafted Roy back in 2001 and he has been a solid player, but in the last year of his $4 million contract it is possible that his days in Buffalo are numbered. The Sabres have been shopping Roy around and are more than willing to trade him. But with him riding a 4 game point streak and just notching his 34th point of the season, why trade him if they can't get anything decent in return? With Roy starting to play like his old self the Sabres are no longer desperate to trade him. Not to mention Roy wants to stay in Buffalo, this team is finally starting to play. Players are coming back from injuries, big contract players are starting to earn their money, and Miller is playing like Miller again. But if this team is healthy next season are they going to be dangerous? Heck if they manage to squeak into the playoffs do they stand a decent chance to exceed expectations?

It came as a bit of a surprise to most that Roy found himself on the top line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville, but this move was originally just to showcase him to help get some more attention, score some points and get a deal done. But the unusual threesome seems to have some chemistry, so why trade Roy when he is enjoying success on the top line? Part of the reason Roy was not having much success this season, was his status on the depth chart, which also has been hurting his trade value. Instead of playing with Vanek and Pominville, Head Coach Lindy Ruff decided to bury him on the third line with newly acquired Ville Leino and veteran Drew Stafford. Roy is a decent playmaking center who thrives outside the number 1 line, so it would make sense if he was traded to a team that needs a winger who likes to dish the puck. The fact that he plays center is an asset for the Sabres, most teams are eyeing Blue Jackets center Rick Nash. However, 29 teams want Nash, but there is only 1 of him to go around, so the Sabres could get lucky and find teams that lose the bid for Nash over reaching for Roy. He's a veteran and a potential point a game player who would be a solid second liner on any team and a stop-gap liner on some (Like the Sabres). Now I may be biased but Derek Roy is the second best center on the market, behind Nash.

But the Sabres don't necessarily have to trade Roy, he's got two 70 point seasons and 3 seasons with at least 30 points. He can produce, when he's paired with the right wingers. The Sabres are currently 6 points out of 8th and have gone 7-3-2 in their last 12 games, Derek Roy's resurgence has definitely helped turn around this Sabres team, Roy has 2 goals and 5 assists during this stretch. So If Darcy Reiger can't get anything decent in return for Derek Roy, then he should hold onto him. With Roy playing well it gives Reiger the upper hand, if he doesn't receive any decent offers he can keep Roy and not regret it. However, as most Sabres fans know, decent return to Reiger mens something different than what it means to other GMs.  Having Roy centering Vanek and Pominville seems to be working, he's always had chemistry with his long time Sabres teammates. So if someone needs to spike Lindy Ruffs coffee to make sure he doesn't screw up this chemistry then so be it! But back to the Roy trade, what Reigier should be asking for is a solid NHL ready player and a high draft pick, not just draft picks that we have to wait 3 years to see how good/bad they will be. For teams that want to compete and win the cup, they don't trade for the long term future they trade for now, a player that can help push the team into the playoffs.

Any team would be more than happy to acquire Derek Roy, which is good news for the Sabres as we control what can and will happen to Roy. He's tough 2 way hockey player that can put up 60 points, plays the penalty kill and would fit nicely on any teams 2nd line. Although the present isn't nice to look at it, it's his history, always been a solid leader and playmaker. Roy picking up his play does two things for the Sabres; it makes Roy's trade value go up, as teams see he still has what it takes to be a solid player/playmaker. It also gives the Sabres the option to keep Roy. I'm extremely excited to see what the Sabres will do come trade deadline, If I was the GM I would ship Roy out of town, I think a change in scenery would be great for him. Plus I'd net a solid player and a good pick in return that will help the team make a push to the playoffs.
But when push comes to shove, we'll just have to wait and see what Darcy Regier has planned for Derek Roy, is he part of the Sabres future?

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