It seems all but a foregone conclusion that the Buffalo Sabres will trade Derek Roy when the NHL offseason officially begins. In fact, Roy’s imminent departure is pretty much the only topic where disgruntled Sabres fans universally align. In a town that appreciates grit and hard work, it’s hard for the fanbase to warm up to a player whose “go-to” move seems to be drawing a diving penalty.
Scott Michalak from BuffaloSabresNation.com puts “getting rid of Roy” at the top of his offseason checklist.
Trade Derek Roy: this is the perennial favorite, so we’ll get it out of the way, right away. We don’t like him here, and so we tend to, as fans, undervalue him sometimes. However, GM’s don’t. He’s a fine 2nd line center in this league. He’s certainly movable, and can fetch a good commodity – be that a pick, prospect, player, or him as part of a package for a 1st line player. If I’m playing Bucky Gleason playing GM For a Day, I’m getting Roy out of town. It will at least make the readers happy.
Knowing what we all know about Darcy Regier, it’s silly for us to automatically assume Roy will be playing elsewhere come the 2012-13 season opener. But aside from Regier’s famous inability or unwillingness to move unproductive or unpopular players, here are five reasons why the Sabres should actually consider keeping Derek Roy.
1 – Point Production
Dude puts up points. Even factoring an awful 2011-12 season, Roy averages .77 points per game for his career. By comparison Thomas Vanek has averaged .81 ppg in his career. Jason Pominville .79 ppg. Danny Briere .79 ppg.
On average, Roy is good for about 63 points per 82 games. An average season would have had him ranked the league’s 44th leading scorer last year. You could say he would essentially be most teams’ second or third leading scorer.
2 – Bang For Your Buck
Roy has one year at $4 million dollars left on his contract. For an average season, Roy’s production costs about $63,000 per point. While at face value, that number may make you want to vomit in your mouth a bit, it’s actually pretty good value if you have a look at bang4yourpuck.com which breaks this down.
3 – Don’t Sell Low
Roy’s value is at an all-time low. He’s coming off an awful and injury plagued season. Many think his 2010 season-ending torn quad tendon injury lingered into 2011 and ended up causing even more issues this past season. If career average is a better indicator of a player’s future performance, then the memory of last year might be clouding Roy’s likely contributions this coming season. You just never sell a stock when it’s at the lowest value.
4 – 3rd Line Center Role
Roy’s best seasons came when he had Danny Briere and Chris Drury playing ahead of him at center. He had an offensive feast (153 games, 53 goals, 91 assists, +50 in 2006-07, 2007-08 seasons) when matched against opponents’ 3rd defense pairing. Call me crazy but Tyler Ennis is starting to look a lot like Danny Briere, and Cody Hodgson is showing signs of an all-around game that brings back visions of Chris Drury. If those two start taking up top two center icetime, Roy’s return to the 3rd line could be the best thing to happen both for him and the team.
5 – The Power of the Almighty Contract Year
You don’t have to look any further than the Sabres own Drew Stafford to witness the downside of the “contract year” phenomenon. But the phenomenon cuts both ways, and let’s not forget that a big part of the disappointment with Stafford’s 2011-2012 season was the monster year he posted in his – you guessed it – contract year. With piles of cash dangling ahead, guys (in all sports) routinely find a way to kick into overdrive and hit career highs while playing out the last year of a contract. As Samuel Johnson said, “Nothing more wonderfully concentrates a man’s mind than the sure knowledge he is to be hanged in the morning.” Millions of dollars in Roy’s next contract hang on this upcoming season, and few things seem more reliable than his at least trying to rise to the occasion. And that effort just might be enough to earn him a bigger contract elsewhere, and help the Sabres accumulate enough regular season points to give us all something to watch next May.