Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier entered Monday with the tough decision to be either sellers or buyers Monday. The Sabres were neither, but still Regier made the right moves.
The first move by the team came in trading center Paul Gaustad to the Nashville Predators for a first round draft pick in this summer’s up coming National Hockey League Entry Draft.
Gaustad has been a fan favorite, but his salary at $2.3 million doesn’t really justify his skill set. Yeah, he is good defensively and one of the best in the NHL on face-offs, but the NHL is turning into a high scoring machine as many teams are now copying the Detroit Redwings and other top Western Conference teams.
The second move came in trading forward Zack Kassian to the Vancouver Canucks for rookie center Cory Hodgson. The final trade saw the Sabres sending defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani to Vancouver for defenseman Alexander Sulzer.
Many Sabres fans are upset over the team trading Kassian, but the matter of the fact is the team is stocked at forward and that means he wouldn’t have made the team any time soon. Also, the Sabres are thin at natural centers and flipping Kassian for Hodgson was a smart move.
The reason being Hodgson can play right away. Even though Hodgson is only a rookie he is having a solid season as he already has 16 goals and 17 assissts. Sabres forward Thomas Vanek in his rookie season scored 25 goals, so if Hodgson keeps playing well he will finish with 20 goals this year and will become a key player for the Sabres for many years to come.
Also, fans need to remember the Sabres also have center Luke Adam waiting in the wings. With Guastad being traded that will open up significant playing time for both Adam and Hodgson on the team. Time that they wouldn’t have ever saw with Gaustad on the team.
In the end, today wasn’t about this season it was about winning for many years to come and Regier has setup the team for just that.