Reading plenty of stories today in the wake of the Predators matching the Flyers' offer sheet for Shea Weber and I was taken aback by a tweet from NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen about how the Flyers have been striking out all summer.
No Ryan Suter or Zach Parise. No Rick Nash. No Weber. I'll throw in no re-sign of Matt Carle or Jaromir Jagr and the somewhat-goofy trade of James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn too. All that's seemingly left for them to grab among big names are Shane Doan (above) and Bobby Ryan. You would think GM Paul Holmgren is not going to sit by idly.
Hmmm. That's not good news for the Sabres.
Doan visited with the Rangers last Friday and met with the Flyers on Saturday. He's also hitting Montreal this week. Doan's agent, Terry Bross, confirmed to me via email a couple of days ago that he's had multiple conversations with Darcy Regier but that Doan's potential decision day is "still fluid" pending the outcome of the ownership mess in Phoenix. At present, there is no visit scheduled for Buffalo.
It's plainly obvious Doan's No. 1 choice is to stay with the Coyotes or he would have gone somewhere else already. Given that, if he doesn't make a decision to stay in Phoenix, he's almost certainly going to go to New York, Philly, Pittsburgh or perhaps Detroit over Buffalo. And don't count out Vancouver or the Rangers either, even though the Blueshirts just traded for Nash. What a double play that might be.
Then there's Bobby Ryan. The Sabres have wanted him for months. He's from South Jersey, across the bridge from Philly. He's OK with getting out of Anaheim. Is he landing in Buffalo or Philly or maybe Boston?
The Flyers have to part with Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier. Similarly, the Sabres don't figure to be interested in moving Tyler Ennis or many other of their young forwards. They have an overabundance of defensemen they could move, either on the roster now (Andrej Sekera and Jordan Leopold) or on the cusp of getting there (Mark Pysyk) but the Ducks will want a forward. Or two.
It all comes down to the Sabres' recruiting problem. The word gets around this is a good place to live with a great owner. But it's not attractive to players who want to win a Stanley Cup -- yet. Are you going to go to Pittsburgh, Philly or New York or come to Buffalo, where the team took a step back and didn't even make the playoffs last season?
If Regier lands either Doan or Ryan, he'll be pulling a major rabbit out of his hat. The Flyers, meanwhile, think they darn well better get at least one of them.
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