By John Vogl
Darcy Regier says maybe the Buffalo Sabres could have enjoyed another late surge and sneaked into a playoff spot. But the odds of winning the Stanley Cup this season were extremely slim, so the general manager was determined to look toward the future.
"The preference is to build for a Stanley Cup rather than a playoff spot," Regier said today after trading captain Jason Pominville to Minnesota for two prospects and a pair of draft picks, including a first-round selection this June. "It's no fun being where we are. There's no enjoyment, but there is an opportunity."
Pominville, who went to the Wild along with a fourth-round pick in 2014, is the third veteran to depart Buffalo during the past week. He joined defensemen Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold, who combined to net the Sabres three second-round picks and a conditional fourth.
"This will give us the opportunity to stock the shelves," Regier said.
It's an immediate step back, however. Pominville had 10 goals and 25 points for the Sabres. Aquisitions Johan Larsson, a forward, and Matt Hackett, a goaltender, will report to the Rochester Americans.
The Wild made an initial inquiry about Pominville about three weeks ago, Regier said, but the interest quickly disappeared. The captain has a modified no-trade clause in which he can submit a list of eight teams to which he cannot be traded, and Regier asked Pominville for it just in case any talks resumed.
The Wild called Tuesday night, Regier said, and the deal (which includes Buffalo getting Minnesota's second-round selection in 2014) came together today.
While Regier said he did not want to bring up the "R" word -- rebuild -- it's clear that is the Sabres' path since they lack, in the GM's words, a "foundation."
"You want to make the painful period as short as possible," said Regier. "It's really difficult to put an exact timeline on it. It's difficult standing here to say it's going to be a year or two."
taggedDarcy Regier | Trade deadline