Tag Archives: Tim Connolly

GM For a Day

This past Sabres season was as fun as it’s been to be a fan in the last five years, but let’s be honest with ourselves that it was fun, but nothing is more fun than winning and it would certainly be a lot of fun if the Sabres were still playing.  The series against the Flyers taught us several things about this team both good bad.  There is some really good young talent on this team in Nathan Gerbe, Tyler Ennis, Tyler Myers and company.  However there are some concerns with the group as well.  There is no depth along the center position and most notably a top flight center.  There is no true complement to Tyler Myers in developing a shutdown pair.  The new regime in charge of the Sabres make you feel like this is the offseason to get things done.  Ownership seems committed and if they truly are committed the Sabres seem in prime position to make some things happen.  Here’s how I would play out the Sabres offseason.

1.  Let Andrej Sekera walk.  This one is going to be the first decision that would make fans cry bloody murder, but Sekera had a very good season for the Sabres and is a RFA.  He’s an offensive defensemen and played in 76 games for the team and registed 3 goals and 26 assists.  He is likely to get to go to arbitration or they should hope that he gets an offer sheet from another team.  If anything happens with Sekera the Sabres will need to decide what direction they want to go.  This move has typical Darcy Reiger written all over it by bringing him back and paying him more than his $1.1m this year. I make this move because Marc-Andre Gragnani can be everything that Sekera is and hopefully more.  The team still has Jordan Leopold and a deep farm system (See Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb) on the blue line.  I think Sekera is a fine player, but the Sabres need more grit along the blue line and can use his salary to attract someone amongst the free agency pool.

2.  Sign Drew Stafford, but certainly do not overpay him.  There is no way to justify paying Stafford even close to Thomas Vanek’s contract.  Vanek’s contracted was inflated because of the RFA offer that the Oilers forced and the Sabres needed to keep a player they felt could be part of their core.  Stafford is coming off a 31 goal season in which he only played 62 games.  He deserves a pay raise and the Sabres need to keep as many top six forwards on this roster as possible. I would think the team would try to do something around a 4 year/$20m deal to keep him.  I’m not convinced I’d even go that far for someone who had a career high 52 points in 2010-11, but the team is likely to try and keep a lot of their young parts and Stafford is one I would try to keep.  I would like them to get a deal more like what Justin Williams received from the Los Angeles Kings (4 years/$14.6m).

3.  Sign a top rated defensemen.  If and when they let Sekera walk the team needs to add to their blue line and most people will agree to that.  Most fans in Buffalo have become interested in Christian Ehrhoff or Kevin Bieska from the Vancouver Canucks and both are under 30 meaning the Sabres would likely need to send a good contract their way in terms of dollars and years.  Both players made between $3-$4m this past season and will both want a raise moving forward.  The talent  pool in free agency really seems to lie along the defense and the Sabres are going to need to make sure they are players in this market if they let Sekera, Steve Montador and potentially Shaone Morrisonn go.   All of which I would.

4.  Do what It takes to get a top flight center.  I’m not convinced that the Sabres will be able to land a top center this offseason, but this need will carry into the beginning of next season.  The Sabres have a lot of moving parts to make this happen.  They will be part of the Brad Richards sweepstakes this offseason, but so will many other teams and that will likely drive up the price.  The Sabres may be better served relying on their rich farm system and middle level NHLers to make a deal.  No one within the organization seems to be untouchable at the moment outside of maybe Myers and whether the team pursues a Daniel Briere or Jordan Staal (although unlikely) or whoever the team has several highly rated prospects as well as good NHL players to send in return.  This roster doesn’t need complete overhaul, but bringing in more elite talent is going to be crucial and it starts in the middle.

5.  Bring Mike Grier into the front office in some capacity.  He has come out and stated the he’ll either come back to the Sabres or be done.  I’m not completely adverse to the idea of him being on the team for one more season, but his body did go on him slightly and I’d rather him have some other role within the organization.  One thing I feel about the “Pegula Era” is that they truly will adopt a family tone within the organization.  That being said I think this is a great place to start and have him within the front office and potentially working his way towards being a general manager.

6.  Start the hate mail, but if possible I would strongly consider re-signing Tim Connolly but for a much lower salary.  That being said, is that something he is willing to do?  A true #1 center is the primary goal this offseason in my opinion and the return of Derek Roy would have to bump Connolly down to a third line center, but that is where he could flourish.  He was the team’s top penalty killer and on the first power play unit.  The guy has some value.  That being said, would he return for a lesser salary and lesser role?  I doubt it and it may be the best for HIM.  However, if the Sabres could bring him back for a lower price I would do it.  All that being said, the free agency market for centers is very poor and the market value will be driven up by demand.  Anything over the $2m/year mark would nullify this entire opinion.

As a lot of people point out (Joe @ BuffaloWins) July 1st is when this new management team will earn its keep among fans.  For the last several years the fans have heard that things were going to change and the Sabres wouldn’t stand still only to watch Lydman and Tallinder be replaced with Leopold and Morrisonn.  Terry Pegula comes across as genuine as you can through a television and I truly believe that the motto within the organization is a win at all costs mentality so now they just need to prove they are capable of making the right decisions to get there.   I, for one am very eager to see the path they chose to get there.

Twitter: @brianbund

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Tim Connolly’s Return (and assumed departure?)

So Tim Connolly is coming back on Friday to play and I don’t know what to want or expect.  For his sake and knowing what we’ve seen he’s going to play well while he’s out there, but there’s two ways to look at it and by all means and all kidding aside I hope he’s healthy for the remainder of the year. 




You could hope that first he comes back and puts together a great 15 game or so stretch and there becomes some interest in him and the Sabres front office can use him as trade bait and get something for him before they don’t resign him at the end of the year. 


On the other hand if he’s healthy he’s a little shy of a point a game player and plays both special teams.  He could make the Sabres have a great third line for their playoffs and potential playoff run. 


If you could guarantee me that he was going to be healthy for the whole remainder of the year, I would take the second option and ride him through the playoffs and wish him luck at the end of the year, but given his history, I would probably lean towards the first option and try to get value for him if there is any and let Ellis, Gerbe and other Portland players get NHL experience and potential playoff experience.  Either way, as long as he’s healthy it will obviously be beneficial to have him back.  How long?  I’m not holding my breath.

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The weekend ahead

So we head into the last weekend before I get married and it’s a jam packed Buffalo sports weekend and for the love of god the bleeding needs to stop.  The Sabres play back-to-back home games against two teams lower than them in the standing in games they need to win to regain some stability and the Bills just better not lose to KC or I’m going to….well nothing I still watch the last 5 games like a sad, lost puppy. I’m not going to be able to watch most of next Friday’s and Saturday’s game with getting married and all, so I plan to watch as much as I can this week (although I will watch some of Texas Tech and Oklahoma tomorrow night). 


I’m not going to spend much time breaking down the Sabres games, but if you happen to be there go check out tgetman in section 311.  Ryan Miller needs to stop giving up rebounds, the defense needs to stop turning the puck over and being out of position and if Tim Connolly could just take a Midol and get on the ice that would be great too.  What a waste of $10 million.  Glad he has a million dollar house here in Syracuse, piece of shit. Anyway, the bottom line is these are games the Sabres should win and I think they need to win.  Everyone (including myself) got all excited after the start, but this team is going to finish somewhere between 6th and 9th in the conference. Deal with it.


The Bills however need to win if only for the selfish fact that I’m getting married next weekend and don’t want to be miserable all week because they lost. Other than that here’s how I see this weeks game broken down:


Trent Edwards and Taylor Thigpen are going in opposite directions. Thigpen is actually putting games together, throwing the ball to his receivers (what a concept) and managing the game.  Trent Edwards has spent the last month looking like a backup quarterback that Buffalo already has on the bench. Chris Brown’s blog  and his article show that Josh Reed has practiced this week and I have to root for the Pats, which is not all exciting.  However, getting Reed back should provide Edwards with another quality option and I think Steve Johnson still sees more balls thrown his way again this week, so enjoy the bench a little more James Hardy.  But can we please take a shot down the field?  Cleveland dropped 7 or 8 guys all game and unless you stretch them deep there won’t be anyway to throw.  Just a crazy thought.

What the hell happened while I was gone?

What the hell happened while I was gone?


As for the running game, just give the ball the Marshawn 20+ times a game, seriously. Yes he needs to hit the whole harder but he’s a back that feeds off carriers.  Also, I’m a fan of the ‘Wildcat offense’, but can’t we put both Fred Jackson and Marshawn back there together?  With just Jackson the defense knows EXACTLY what we’re going to do.  Am I wrong? Larry Johnson, have fun in rehab.marshawn


I think the biggest thing that I’m hoping Perry Fewell took from last week is that we need to blitz the quarterback.  Mitchell is a much better blitzer than a cover guy.  Bring the heat of the edges and let Stroud, Johnson and Kyle Williams do their part up the middle. 


Turnovers win in the NFL and the Bills don’t have a single “ball hawk” on defense without Angelo Crowell (how smart was that move).  Point is we need to create turnovers and I think McKelvin needs to hopefully be that person with Greer in question for the weekend. 


All being said I think the Bills bounce back and win the game 31-14 and get a solid game from Edwards.  Just to get our hopes high enough to live through another moment like Monday night.


Editor’s Note:  I swear to god if Randy Cross is calling the game I’m going to mute it.  I’m not sure why I even hate that condescending prick anymore, but I hate his guts and his arrogant piece of shit comments.  Just a thought.

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