Who will win Derek Roy for Steve Ott swap?

July, 2, 2012
7/02/12
8:13
PM CT
Maybe the surprising swap of skilled center Derek Roy for agitating forward Steve Ott and defenseman Adam Pardy is one of those "this should work out for both teams" kind of deals.

But the deal involves such disparate styles of player and personality that one has the feeling that this might turn out to be a win or lose proposition for one of these squads.

From the Stars perspective, the deal makes sense on a very elementary level: they traded away a top six center in Mike Ribeiro at the draft and needed to fill that hole. Bingo. Roy is a top six center whom GM Joe Nieuwendyk can claim as his own as he continues to put his stamp on the Stars franchise.

The Buffalo Sabres? Well that’s a little trickier.

A team that went crazy a year ago during free agency still seems like a team very much in search of itself.

Maybe Ott, who has two years left on his contract at $2.95 million annually, will help establish some sort of identity with a Sabres squad that under new owner Terry Pegula paid big bucks a year ago to bring in Ville Leino, Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr to go with a solid core of players, including former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller, then missed the playoffs entirely.

Ott was a gritty presence for the Stars, playing center and wing and ranking among the league leaders in hits and epithets hurled by opposing players and coaches.

The 29-year-old will be expected to provide some offense as well as a strong two-way game for a team that has been searching for a sense of purpose, an identity, since losing co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere after the 2007 season.

After advancing to two straight Eastern Conference finals coming out of the lockout, the Sabres have missed the playoffs three times and been bounced in the first round two other times.

Last season was a harsh reminder that money buys players not wins and Ott is clearly expected to help change the culture in the Sabre dressing room while mixing it up on the ice.

In talking about the trade to reporters in Buffalo, GM Darcy Regier talked about needing to alter the balance of skill and physicality among his forward contingent. He believes he’s created a better balance with the addition of Ott.

But the Sabres paid a steep price to bring in Ott, who had 22 goals in 2009-10 but has saw those totals dip to 12 and 11 the past two seasons.

In Roy they gave up a proven center that four times has hit the 20-goal plateau and once topped 30. He slumped last year to 17 and a year earlier was slowed by injury and had just 10 goals in 35 games. But Roy was so highly regarded in the Canadian hockey community that he was invited to the Canadian Olympic orientation camp in the fall of 2009 prior to the Vancouver Olympic Games.

True Roy did manage to score in just two goals in his last 19 games last season, but he seems like a good fit for a Dallas team that was looking to fill the void created down the middle when Ribeiro was dealt to Washington at the draft.

Roy, who has one year left on his contract that will pay him $4 million, will be a nice fit especially after signing veteran winger Ray Whitney to a two-year deal on Sunday.

“We've changed the look of our hockey club. We have two centermen we're confident in in Jamie Benn and Derek Roy,” Nieuwendyk said Monday afternoon.

It’s believed the two teams had discussed a deal last season and certainly the Stars had contemplated moving both Ott and Ribeiro at the trade deadline last season.

Now both have been moved in a matter of weeks.

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