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Buffalo's Summer


Mach_9
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It's a ways off but there is a lot of talk about the coming summer for the Sabres, as we're going to have to retain both Briere and Drury, or at least try. I was thinking today, about what might be the best thing to do if we're unable to keep both, and I had this thought. What if we moved Drury, either Kotalik or Kalinin, a 1st round pick, and either prospect Marek Zagrapan or the rights to Tim Connolly for Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic from San Jose? Marleau is a slightly better version of Drury, the way I see it, and he comes at a similar price tag to what we'll be paying Drury (probably a little less at $4M). Vlasic helps the Sabres out with defensive depth and fits right into the system; young mobile defenseman with tremendous offensive upside but a great physical game and plenty of time to develop. In this scenario, we lock up Briere (as good as Drury's intangibles are, I think there are a couple of places where we can replace them - Marleau being an example - while Briere is the heart of the team and has an overall skill level that can be replaced but brings an unidentifiable intangible to the table that I think is harder to replace) and Marleau becomes are great utility, clutch face-off, penalty kill, power play, gritty leader type. He even looks a bit like Drury, come to think of it...

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is going to be very difficult to keep both Drury and Briere, to such a point that I am about 95% sure that one of them will be gone. Even with possibly getting Connolly off the books (if he decides to retire) and Biron since I expect him gone next season it will be difficult to keep them both. This is just going to become a reality in the salary cap era (which I do support). As for the trades you suggested, I personally don't want to make many moves during the season considering how the team is playing.

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Right now I think that the Sabres will look to move Kotalik during the regular season and might not be too worried about re-signing all of their players with the rookies we have waiting in the wings. I wouldn't be surprised to see Hecht and Kotalik moved for a big, mobile D-man, or something of that sort. Dury and Briere are obviously the focus of all the uncertainty that comes to mind when we mention the coming off-season, but I'm not sure what to think about it. Briere is money in the bank and totally clutch. Drury's offensive production hasn't been as good as we'd want it to be after a hot first month. Ironically, Briere might be fined for diving too often, which brings up some questions about just how much of a shove Ovechkin did give Briere and how hard he actually tried to stay on his feet. Right now with the Sabres I feel like 90% of the team is tradeable if the deal is right. Obviously - I'd only want to make one or two deals and keep things pretty well the same, but the only people I see as being untouchable are: Briere, Vanek, Campbell, Miller and maybe Finny.

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