Sabres meet Soupy — did they make out on the deal?

Blackhawks Avalanche Hockey

Fun read in the Chicago Sun-Times today about Brian Campbell’s feelings heading into tonight’s game between the Sabres and Blackhawks. It’s understandable he’d have mixed emotions playing against all the guys he blossomed playing with. Jaro Spacek’s tongue-in-cheek quote about slashing him shows the good nature felt between Soupy and his former teammates.

But the game also gives us a chance to reflect on something — did the Sabres learn their lessons from the Briere-Drury debacle and get proper net value in return for Campbell?

It’s hard to argue they didn’t.

Of course, they’re missing the way Campbell got the puck up ice. But if you size up Craig Rivet’s $3.5 million salary (Buffalo got Rivet for Steve Bernier, whom they received from San Jose) it’s hard to argue they didn’t get a piece they were lacking for a guy they didn’t have a prayer on signing. Campbell’s a great guy, but for more than $7 million he better be. With the shedding of another $7 million once Maxim Afinogenov and Tim Connolly have played out their strings the Sabres are pretty well positioned financially. They’ll have to deal with restricted free agents Drew Stafford, Andrej Sekera and Clarke MacArthur in the off-season, but they’re in great position to do so.

With Campbell’s salary weighing them down, things would have gotten stickier.

And in Rivet, they got the experienced guy they’ll need if they do get into the playoffs. Tough. Gritty. Experienced.

It’ll be fun to see Campbell dipsy-doodle tonight against his former teammates. But this one worked out best for everyone. Campbell got his money, and the Sabres got significant value in return. And Tyler Ennis, the first-rounder they got along with Bernier in the deal, scored seven points ( 3 goals, 4 assists) in six games at the recent World Juniors.

Give Darcy Regier credit. He rarely misses when given a chance to take his time and make a deal.

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