In 2 separate trades The Buffalo Sabres acquired Left Wing, Raffi Torres from The Columbus Blue Jackets & parted ways with Nathan Paetsch and Clarke MacArthur.  The Sabres sent their 2010 2nd round pick & Defenseman Nathan Paetsch to Columbus in exchange for the gritty Left Winger. 

Raffi Torres 6’0” 216, LW from Toronto, Canada, Season Stats: 19 G, 12 A (-8) Don’t let the (-8) scare you; every player on the Blue Jackets sports a (-).  Torres makes 2.25M this season and will be a UFA at season’s end.  The Sabres will have to pay him around 3.5M to stick around.  Torres will be 29 at the beginning of next season.  I’m not holding my breath, but I’d rather have him around than some of our other high priced forwards.

Raffi Torres NHL.com page: http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8468485

He was the 3rd best LW on the Blue Jackets, but he will instantly appear on the Sabres 2nd line LW, right behind Thomas Vanek.  Vanek has 1 less goal on the season than Torres.  Hopefully Torres’ success wasn’t due to him playing on The Blue Jacket’s 3rd line, against inferior opposition.  Regardless, he will give much needed energy and physical play to the Sabres 2nd line.

Torres played for Edmonton in their run to the Cup, which ended with a 7-game loss to Carolina.  Sound familiar?  Torres scored 20 goals the year before the lockout(league leader had 43 that year) and 27 the year after(league leader 56).  For those familiar with the pre & post lockout game styles, these goal totals show that he can perform under both tight & loose styles of play.

Torres’ stats include about 60% goals & 40% assists.  This indicates to me that he’s a net crasher as opposed to a skilled playmaker.  AWESOME!  We need that badly.  I know everyone wanted us to trade for Eric Staal, but that’s just not realistic.

Clarke MacArthur is Dion Phaneuf’s cousin.  But he does not have Phaneuf’s attitude.  MacArthur wasn’t a disappointment statistically, but he lacked physical play & attitude.  He was sometimes accused of “taking shifts off”.  MacArthur doesn’t score enough goals to just “be there” and not contribute in other areas such as physicality or leadership.  A trusted friend of mine claims he’s streaky and scores in bunches.  That’s fine if everyone takes turns scoring in bunches, but what I think it really means is that he disappears when games are on the line.  Kind of like the opposite of Chris Drury, a player who appears at the biggest moments.

MacArthur was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for their 2010 3rd & 4th round picks.  With MacArthur’s departure, Darcy Regier restocked the Draft Pick cabinet & also got the Sabres back under the salary cap.  MacArthur makes 1.4M this year and is scheduled to be a RFA at season’s end.  Torres will be a UFA after the season.  

It was a typical “Sabres-style” deadline day.  Take what’s available; no flashy moves.  Had I written an article yesterday, I would have said that the Sabres don’t have much to offer.  Nothing short of trading away Tyler Myers was going to get you a top scorer.  Nobody wants Vanek, Pominville, or Stafford.  It may be frustrating to watch other teams stock up for the playoff run, but the reality is that those teams already possess superstars (Crosby, Ovechkin, Heatley, Kane, Toews, The Sedins) So they can afford to part ways with role players.  The Sabres had no ammo.  What may be more frustrating is that Regier is so stingy with his draft picks.  I think an argument could be made that Regier could have traded a #1 pick for a bigger “Gun” and then tried to recoup the pick after year’s end.  With the picks he’s in a lose-lose situation because, as fans, we never remember which pick turns into Tyler Myers or Tim Kennedy.  And also, let’s remember, for every team that enjoys Free-Agent & Trade success (Pittsburgh), there’s a Toronto out there.  Making huge moves & signings doesn’t always work out.    

I personally am satisfied with today’s moves.  We traded one player who didn’t even play and a player who barely deserved to be on the 2nd line for a player who will step in as the team’s leading scorer (that’s not saying much) and by all accounts, is a wrecking ball of energy.  It’s basically a clean swap, MacArthur for Torres.

Good luck to former Rochester Amerks, Nathan Paetsch and Clarke MacArthur.  (Now you can go out to places of business in your home city and not be hassled) 

As Sabres fans, there are many more moves we’d like to see happen.  The team is still a long-shot for The Cup, but I can say with confidence that Today the Buffalo Sabres got better.