The top 5 list: Players that need to get out of Buffalo













5) Derek Roy
Honestly, I’ve never understood why so many fans hate Derek Roy. Seriously, the guy plays all 82 games a year. He only costs about 4 million per. He gets you 25-30 goals a season. All I ever hear from fans and media members is that Roy doesn’t play the right way. Whatever the hell that means. I guess the right way is Lindy Ruff’s way. I really think if the fans didn’t like Ruff so much, Roy wouldn’t be such a major punchline. Everyone knows that the two guys can’t stand each other.

Now, I do understand the logic of what the “bad” Derek Roy does. He’s a turnover machine. He constantly whines. He has a tendency to dive more so than Greg Louganis. And from what I gathered on the web (They are always right), he parties a little too much.

Here’s the bottom line: If the Sabres really want to improve the core of their team, they have to trade someone of value. Roy is that valuable chip. You’re not going to get much for Drew Stafford and Tim Connolly besides cap relief and getting rid of a serious case of herpes. Roy has a very modest salary and would be better suited for being a number 2 or 3 center some where else. In my view, Roy’s failure in Buffalo is mostly due to him being viewed as a number one center. Sorry, but he doesn’t fit that mold.

4) Drew Stafford
Michal Grosek. That’s who Drew Stafford reminds me of. Both guys are listed at the same height and weight. Both players have very similar playing styles. Both guys were touted as being legit prospects that had 20 goal seasons on their resumes. Both seemed to have a lot of promise in them. However, both guys tended to disappear for 10 game stretches throughout a season.

In 1999, Grosek was coming off a 20-goal season and was only 24 at the time. Unfortunately, Grosek had an awful season and was traded at the deadline to Chicago for Doug Gilmour and JP Dumont. At the time, Chicago’s GM was very high on Grosek and was said to be obsessed with his size and talent. Hmmmmm, doesn’t the Blackhawks fetish with Grosek sound a little like Edmonton’s fixation with Stafford?

Now, I know there are some apologists out there that are going to say that Stafford is still too young to give up on. Yes, he’s only 24 (Like Grosek’s last year with Buffalo), however the biggest thing going against Stafford is his demeanor. I’ve heard from a few media types in Buffalo that Stafford doesn’t have that drive to become a legit NHL player. I keep hearing that he’d rather be working on his Guitar Hero skills than his skating skills. Sorry, but if you don’t have the drive to better your game, but would rather enjoy being a wannabe guitarist, then you are a lost cause for me.

3) Marshawn Lynch
It wasn’t too long ago that Marshawn Lynch was a fan favorite amongst Buffalonians. He was doing funny stories with ESPN at Dave & Busters. He had the really cool comic book thing going during Bills games. Fans use to sport dreads at Ralph Wilson Stadium. He seemed to be the perfect remedy to the sickness of having Willis McGahee on the team. Well, that was then and this is now.

A couple of run-ins with the law have made Lynch public enemy number one. Look, I’ve made my feelings apparent on athletes getting in trouble off the field. In short: I don’t give a rats ass. However, when you start playing like crap during Sundays, that’s when I have a problem.

Last year, Lynch didn’t look like the tough running back that would break multiple tackles and stiff arm his way for 5-10 yard bursts. He danced way too much and looked to be avoiding contact at all possible. Mix that in with the emergence of Fred Jackson and the drafting of CJ Spiller and you have one too many tailbacks.

Plus, the writing is already on the wall in Lynch’s camp. When your agent comes out and says that Buffalo has racist rogues as cops, you know that Lynch wants to get out of town.

2) Trent Edwards
You wouldn’t think it, but if you were to take away the off the field issues and the quality of depth at the position, Trent Edwards’ career is kind of a mirror image of Lynch’s body of work. At one point, Edwards was a fan favorite and was helping people get over the bad taste left with the endless number of Jim Kelly heir apparents. Remember how well Edwards played during the first six games of the 2008 season?

Peter King tabbed him as the first quarter MVP of that season. It seemed as if the Bills endless search for a franchise quarterback was coming to a merciful end. However, just like in the horror movies where you think the killer is dead and all is going to end well; Freddy Kruger comes back and everyone dies. Well, that’s what happened to Edwards and the nightmare continued for the Bills quarterback carousel.

Edwards looks to be shot and should be counting his blessings that the Bills decided not to draft or sign a quarterback. I’ve said it before, even at the lowest of the lows, guys like Drew Bledsoe, Rob Johnson and JP Losman would always find a small group of fans that had confidence in their abilities. I haven’t even come close to finding that sort of sentiment with Edwards. No one likes the guy. I haven’t even heard the argument that Chan Gailey is going to provide something that Edwards has never had…a legit quarterback teacher. It’s as if fans are expecting the worse and are inclined to believe that Edwards is just keeping the seat warm for the next guy.

Honestly, I’d rather have Brian Brohm winning the starting job than having to go through another year with Captain Check Down.

1) Tim Connolly
I really can’t think of a player in Buffalo sports history that has lasted longer under the scrutiny of the fans and media then Tim Connolly. The so-called play making center was under a ton of scrutiny and pressure from the first day he walked into a Sabres locker room. It was warranted because a ton of fans weren’t happy with trading away captain Mike Peca.

Connolly showed some flashes of being a player, but his first three years with the club were nothing short of disappointment. The former first round pick only averaged 10 goals a season during that 3-year stretch. This was at a time when Connolly played over 80 games during those seasons. Fans were clamoring for the team to get rid of Connolly because of his disappointing play and the fact that fans weren’t over Peca leaving the Sabres.

Then came the lockout and the rule changes. In the 05/06 season, Connolly bounced back with his best year with 16 goals and 39 assists. He finished off the year with a playoff year that some in Buffalo still can’t let go. Connolly scored 11 points in just 8 games. However, his season was cut short due to a concussion he received in the Ottawa series. This lead to Connolly’s years of battling injuries. Of course, his injuries were used as an excuse to keep pulling for the guy; “Oh, if he stays healthy, he will be a point a game player and the ex-factor for the team.” It also become kind of comical when it came to Connolly recovering from his concussion. I only say comical because at times, the Sabres acted as if he was returning in a week or two, when it took him almost a year to get back on the ice.

Then came the idiotic contract extension and raise that Darcy Regier gave to him after playing less than 50% of the regular season games over a 3-year stretch. I just thought it was time for the Sabres to pull the plug on relying on Connolly to become their number one centerman. Like Roy, if Connolly played on a team where he was the number 2 or 3 center, he would be a lot more successful.

Now came this year. Connolly played 73 games and scored 65 points, to go along with a nice 17-game point streak. Seems like a pretty decent year for him. However, the thing that has always been the guy’s Achilles heel is his failure for coming through in the clutch. Zero goals in your last 23 playoff games is totally unacceptable. I can’t think of the last big time goal this guy has scored.

I guess if you are a Tim Connolly fan you are going to remind me of the Flyers series in 2006. Then after that, you will remind me that he’s a point a game player…when healthy. Then you will remind me of his point streak from this past season. There always seems to be an excuse to believe in this guy. Sorry, but those excuses have run its course.

It just seems that when the going gets tough, Connolly ends up going home. The guy is a soft player and cannot be counted on to be a top line center. The Sabres have to stop kidding themselves in paying their top center 4.5 million dollars. If you want a true center, you either have to groom one from the minors or pay 6-7 million dollars for one. Sorry, but you’re not being smart investors when it comes to Connolly.

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