After a couple days of considering his options, Robyn Regehr has decided to waive his no movement clause and agree to a trade that will send him to the Buffalo Sabres. His agent has just confirmed that Reggie has agreed to the move. There is still no word on who is coming to the Flames in return.
(Update: @TSNBobMckenzie reports “When, or if, deal is done, hearing Paul Byron, Chris Butler and 2nd is what BUF will send to CGY for Regher/Kotalik. Not yet official.” As such, this looks like a salary-shedding trade more than anything. If that’s the case, look for the flames to make a move for a $4-5M forward in the free agent market)
Regehr moves to the Sabres after spending his entire NHL career with the Flames where has played a total of 826 games in the flaming C. He came to Calgary in 1999 as part of the trade that sent Theo Fleury to Colorado. Regehr was a regular on the Flames blueline, was rarely injured (he played a at least 68 games per season) and, together with Iggy and Kipper, formed the core of the Flames team for the better part of a decade.
In 826 NHL games with the Flames, Regehr scored 29 goals and added 134 assists for a total of 163 points. This lack of offensive punch may be one of the reasons why Regehr was asked to waive his NTC and leave the team. In an era where offensive production and the ability to move the puck is becoming increasingly important, Regehr has lagged behind other defencemen. His defensive, shut-down style is certainly an asset to any team, but his lack of offensive and puck-handling ability holds him back from being an elite D-man in the NHL.
So what will we miss about Robyn Regehr? First, we’ll miss hits like this:
Second, we’ll miss his ability to deliver clean, hard hits like this one (notice he turns the Finnish player’s shoulder to avoid a hit from behind):
Third, and most importantly, we will miss Regehr’s leadership in the dressing room and in the community. As the Flames alternate captain for a number of years, he was one of the guys that consistently spoke out in the dressing room and kept his team mates in line. His contributions to the Calgary community will be remembered for a long time, and though I believe that he needed to be traded, he will surely be missed.
On a separate (and more positive) note, also moving east in the deal is Ales Kotalik [insert fist pump here] who has been the bane of my existence since he sauntered into the Flames dressing room. His poor performance and lack of effort will not be missed by many Flames fans and I feel sorry for the Sabres fans who will now have to deal with his slacker ways and his $3M salary cap hit.
UPDATE: 25 June 11: The trade has been confirmed. The Flames acquired Chris Butler & Paul Byron from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Robyn Regehr, Ales Kotalik and the Flames 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft. So other than the draft pick going the other way, this is what was expected. I am a little disappointed that the Flames gave up another draft pic, bit based on this morning’s Tanguay signing, it now becomes clear that the Flames needed to clear up $1.8M in cap space to be able to sign Tangs. If a 2nd rounder is all it took to get Buffalo to take Kotalik in the deal then I’m happy.
Most fans have expressed outrage over the deal, but I don’t think it’s bad at all. Sure, it would have been nice to get something more significant in return (like Derek Roy), but with all that Regehr brings to the table, he lacks offence. In the “no clutch and grab” Regehr’s effectiveness is diminished because the only thing he can really do is crush guys into the boards and push them out of the front of the net. When skilled guys like Toews and Crosby get the puck a few feet off the boards, all Regehr ends up doing is chasing them around until they get away from him.
One final word: this trade would have been frikkin’ awesome if you subtituted Regehr for Sarich. But alas, that’s still one we’ll have to work on.