Somebody In Buffalo Needs To Say No To Terry Pegula And To Jack Eichel

I heard this quote on Chiclets yesterday on my way home from New York and it genuinely bummed me out. The Sabres fans deserve better. Sure, they can be a little bit annoying in my mentions because they constantly tweet me saying that the Hawks should trade Kane back to Buffalo as if that would be a better situation for him just because he was born there. Other than that though, I love Sabres fans. They care so fucking much. They don't get the love/attention that they deserve because the team stinks and has stunk basically since Dominik Hasek except for one small run with Chris Drury and Danny Briere. 

The first time I learned about the Sabres was just from going to the United Center. I've probably seen every team come through the United Center in the last 15 years or so and NOBODY travels like the Sabres fans. They're loud. They try to get chants going. You see a TON of those great jerseys walking through the concourse. I would find most other fan bases annoying. Not the Sabres. They're just good people who love their team. It's the same passion they have for the Bills, but with maybe less alcohol because they do it 82 times a year instead of 8. Or maybe not. I don't know. 

I remember being happy for Buffalo when Terry Pegula bought the team and they drafted Jack Eichel. It seemed like they finally had what they needed to make Buffalo a consistently good team. A true bonafide stud center and an owner who genuinely loves the team who has deep pockets and has no problem shelling it out. Unfortunately, that has become a double edged sword for the Sabres. 

Somebody needs to learn how to say no to the Pegulas. The vibe I get is that they're desperate to get good players around Jack Eichel and make the team what it should be. Nothing but free agent quick fixes. And that has fucked them big time. They're paying Jeff Skinner $9M. He's been a healthy scratch many times. Okposo...was overpaid from the word go. Pegula came in with a bang and signed Matt Moulson to a huge deal when he was already on the backside of his career. This is something the Sabres have been doing before Pegula too. People seem to forget about the Ville Leino and Christian Erhoff signings that were both unmitigated disasters. It's time to stop. Someone has to step in and tell the Pegulas that Taylor Hall isn't going to save the day. That paying a premium for Jeff Skinner won't fix their problems, it'll only create more. They've been through a ton of GMs and coaches. They need to hire someone with a spine and a vision and the power to say "NO" when the Sabres are looking for headline wins and quick fixes. It's not going to work. It never does. It reminds me of when Dan Snyder bought the Redskins and he immediately went out and signed Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders. That shit just never works in hockey. You can't spend your way to a championship. You need to build from the ground up. 

And that is why someone else needs to say no to Jack Eichel. I know Eichel wants to win. He deserves to win. I'd love to see him chase down a Cup. Having said all of that...that is the exact reason why someone with the Sabres needs to step in, sit him down, and simply say "Jack, we love you, but we can't trade you". Jack Eichels don't grow on trees. When you get a player like that you better hold on to him for dear life and that is exactly what the Sabres did by signing him to an $80M contract over 8 years. He's locked in. The is no way trading Eichel makes the Sabres a better team. It'd be almost impossible to get back equal or greater value for him and it's clear that the organization has a problem drafting and developing guys so even if they did get a treasure trove in return it's not like that solves anything. The best thing for the organization is to really strip it down, but from the hockey ops side first. Hire a consulting firm. Scour the NHL for the best development and scouting personnel imaginable. Pay a premium for them. Take the money that you would normally dump on Hall, Skinner, and Moulson and invest in international scouting. Have a guy in every rink across North America trying to find more Jack Eichels so you don't fuck up lottery picks year in and year out. Tell Jack that it's his org, but not his decision. His job to build the culture he wants. He needs to help bring along Cozens, Jokiharju, Dahlin, and Jack Quinn. And then when some of these ALBATROSS contracts are off the books and the team has flexibility they have the prospect capital to get Eichel some help. The way out of this is not through trading the best player the Sabres have had since Ryan Miller and Hasek. 

Just one outsider's opinion. Do the right thing. Just say no.