Tag Archives: Derek Roy

Glory and Turmoil for Derek Roy

The Ascent

Derek Roy broke onto the Sabres scene during the 2003-04 campaign with a modest 49 games and 19 points.  Then came the lockout.  Players struggled to find places to play hockey, but Roy was merely delegated back to spending the 2004-05 season with the Rochester Americans.  He put up another good season with the Amerks scoring 61 points in 67 games. With the return from the lockout and the start of the 05-06 season Derek Roy was fortunate to not have any pressure placed squarely on his shoulders.  He was a young player on a team full of veterans that included Mike Grier, JP Dumont, Chris Drury and Danny Briere who were expected to do most of the heavy lifting.  Roy played a significant amount of that season with Chris Drury and Mike Grier on what became a line that consistently matched up against the opposing team’s top line.  They were not expected to do the bulk of the scoring but Roy managed 46 points in 70 games for his first full season.

With the departure of JP Dumont, Mike Grier and others after that season there was an expectation that some of the Sabres younger talent would emerge, including Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek and Roy.  Roy has a fantastic year during the 2006-07 season, during which he saw a return back to the middle and registered 63 points in 75 games and an astounding +37 rating.  Roy was the benefactor of still being on the team’s third line nestled behind Chris Drury and Danny Briere.  He was able to out skate most team’s third lines which in many instances are a checking line used to raise energy. Often they didn’t match Roy’s skill level.  By the end of the 2007 NHL playoffs there was an overwhelming optimism about the Sabres.   Fans were pretty certain that Chris Drury OR Danny Briere would exit, but that Roy would then make his move up to one of the top two lines to complement the returning player.

The Moment

It seems to go without reason that any blog post about the Sabres recently can’t go without mentioning 7/1/07, however when the Sabres failed to re-sign both Danny Briere and Chris Drury the immediate backlash of expectations fell squarely on Roy’s shoulders.  Roy was the newly anointed #1 center on a team that had come over back-to-back conference finals runs and seen essentially every veteran leader from those two seasons leave town.  Darcy Reiger anointed both Roy and Tim Connolly as two of the top 20 centers in the league and that the Sabres were on solid ground with the center position.

Much like Thomas Vanek, the contract Derek Roy became inflated by the pressure the front office felt after letting their two captains walk out the door.  Roy received a six year contract for$24m and the heightened expectations had arrived.

The Aftermath

The Sabres struggled during the 07-08 and 08-09 seasons and missed the playoffs both times.  Roy however, did not struggle as much registering 81 points in 78 games in 07-08. His total would fall in the following season but still marked his second best season.  The 2009-10 season saw his point total dip a single point, but the Sabres returned to the playoffs.  During the playoffs however, Roy only registered 2 assists in the six game series against the Bruins and rumblings began.  In the ensuing offseason fans began to question whether Roy and Tim Connolly were good enough to carry this team like their predecessors.

At the beginning of the 2010-11 season Derek Roy proved he belonged.  He proved the worth of his contract and was the Sabres best player.  He averaged 1 point per game while registering 10 goals and 25 assists before being injured.  The problem for Roy was he was the best player on the worst team in the league.  He had no help.  Tyler Myers had entered the season on a sophomore slump and Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford were non-existent through those opening months of the season.  After Roy’s injury the sentiment was that the season was a wash and that the front office needed to oversee wholesale changes to the lineup and position themselves for 7/1/2011.  It was then that the team went on a remarkable post January 1st run that saw them post the 2nd best record in the league and make the playoffs as a six seed.  The series battled for six games and the Sabres became decimated by injuries.  The prevailing thought was that if the Sabres had advanced to the 2nd round that Roy would be in a position to return.  Instead his hard work and determination to return was bumped up 1 game.  Roy returned, but was not in game shape nor in position to carry the team offensively and defensively with the absences of Jason Pominville and Tim Connolly.  The season was over, but the questions lingered.

Here and Now

Due to the remarkable second half run, fans began to question Roy’s value to the team and what he was actually contributing.  People questioned whether he was a team player or merely looking to fill his stat sheet at the expense of the team.  Fans wondered if his $4m cap hit was justified and whether he should be part of the team going forward.  As we approach July 1st, those questions are going to weigh heavily on the minds of fans while waiting on news of what prized free agents Darcy Regier can attain or what trades he can swindle.  The fact remains though that Derek Roy has incredible value to this team going forward in a multitude of ways.  First, he’s a player that has averaged 0.82 points per game for his career (Danny Briere’s is 0.80) and that at $4m per year is a relative bargain as a potential top two center.  Secondly, if the Sabres decide to pursue a center through the trade market, Derek Roy may need to be a key ingredient to achieve that.  Teams are most likely going to be reluctant if not, unwilling to part with a top center or top center prospect without receiving someone to fill that spot in the roster.

The Sabres would be best served by keeping Roy if possible and preserving his spot on the team and still trying to land a top tier center.  Depth down the middle is paramount in this league and if Derek Roy and say Brad Richards/Paul Stastny/whoever are the Sabres first and second line centers, I think it makes them a much more formidable opponent not only in the regular season, but also in the playoffs.  The talent pool of younger NHLers and AHLers is extremely deep for the Sabres organization and its time that Darcy starts playing some of his poker chips for the here and now of the organization rather than hedging his bets.

 Brian Bund is a Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills fan currently residing with his family in Syracuse, New York. He is a contributing writer at Hockey Heaven, Buffalo Wins and the author of the The Buffalo Sports Fan blog. You can reach him on Twitter at: @brianbund

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Sabres @ Devils Reaction

I’ve been doing something a little different which is why this might read a little different.  I’ve been writing notes while watching the game so it’s more of a running recap.  I had a family function last night so I DVRd the game and avoided my phone and all other things until I watched it and luckily don’t have Kramer as a neighbor to walk in and ruin it for me.

 

-That first goal was what I needed to see, just a hard working, full fledged attack that resulted in Vanek putting it in the goal.  People may call those garbage goals, but to me those are the goals that win games and they didn’t get on Friday.  I thought that Pominville should be playing with Vanek and Roy, but I think having Hecht in the center gives them a little more stability.  Even though Roy is a better player I’m really enjoying watching that line play.

 

-A side note on garbage goals, to me those types of goals aren’t garbage.  Bad bouncing pucks are garbage goals. Those are the result of hard work and putting yourself in the right position which is what Vanek does more often than not.

 

-What a great shot by Elias and great play by Gionta for taking two Sabres with him right before then.

 

-Langenbruener totally elbowed Gerbe on that play in the neutral zone right before their second goal.  I can’t stand Bobby Holik, not sure why I just feel like he always kills the Sabres.

 

-I’m glad that Nathan Gerbe finally got on the score sheet.  He’s had a great couple of games and deserved to get there.  What I like about his game right now is he’s just keeping it simple and threw the puck to the net.  Also was very glad to see that Drew Stafford found the wide open net this time.

 

-Mair’s fight with Leach was beautiful.  The thing I like about Mair, Gaustad and Kaleta as opposed to just Peters is that all are ready to throw down, but aren’t total liabilities out there and allow us to roll the four lines we need to.

                                                                                             

-Harry Neale’s color commentary cracks me up.  Example, end of the second where he was ‘fairly certain’ it was too many men on the ice and it was an offsides.  That stuff happens, but just seems to happen to Harry some where between 2 and 1,037 times a game.

 

-Great play by Vanek at the beginning of the third where he back-checked and prevented a point blank opportunity for Gionta.  Just another perfect example of how much better he’s gotten in his own zone

 

-Just when I rip Harry Neale he made a great call on Stafford who played a great game last night and took that penalty that led to Roy’s goal.

 

-After Roy’s goal he made a great play that led to Vanek’s goal. How many multi goal games has Vanek had this year?

-Overall, very solid performance by Lalime also which is what we needed.  Also nice to see them win the second game of a back-to-back and bounce back after Friday’s loss.  As a fan this was the type of game I was hoping for and they provided.  Leading up to Wednesday’s rematch I can still feel good about the way the Sabres have played over the last 5 games and get excited.  But through past experience will definitely not get too excited.

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Sabres Leafs Reactions

What an unbelievable play by Roy on that first goal.  Took up three defenders and then Lydman made a nice jump on the play and was able to score the Sabres 4th goal by defensemen.  Yes, 4. 

 

More importantly, Derek Roy has finally come around and has scored 15 points in his last 14 games.  Guess him and Vanek don’t need to be on the same line.

 

I’m not sure how I really feel on this, but when someone’s stick shatters and it’s the short change why don’t they just skate to the bench quick.  I realize that they can block the shot, but they are basically defenseless and can’t put any pressure on the puck?  I think I read John Bucigross write that once, but I can’t remember. It happened tonight on the PK and just seemed like he was 15 feet from the bench and would’ve been better served getting a stick.

 

Jochen Hecht is so deceptively fast, he either catches up to someone or pulls away from them.

 

Sekera continues to make bad turnovers in the zone.  He made a terrible, terrible play that led to Toronto’s goal.  After the turnover they were scrambling around and you could almost feel the goal was coming.  He did make a good one-on-one play right after and then took a stick right to the face which came at a great time because Toronto had dominated the last three minutes of the period.

 

Miller put forth a solid effort, but I hate that they basically scored two blue line goals.  This was a tale of two games.  The Sabres did a phenomenal job through the first 37 minutes, but the Leafs definitely won the last 23.

 

I think Stafford is dreaming of wide open nets.

 

The power play is awful.  It’s the one thing that is really hurting.  They aren’t scoring enough goals and they are blowing these opportunities and doing so badly.  Through four power plays tonight they had one shot and that four minute power player was a disaster.  I’m not sure what they can do to improve it, but it needs to become a point of emphasis because they really are playing pretty well as a whole besides that.

 

God I hate the Leafs.

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