Derek Roy, the 29 year old Ontario native, broke into the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres in 2003, gradually cementing himself as a staple in the top six and earning a spot as the team’s number one center. Drafted by the Sabres with the 32nd overall pick, Roy has caused much dissension amongst the ranks of Sabres fans, who either love him and his scoring ability or his supposed issues with work ethic and lingering rumors about problems in the locker room. The dissension reached a fever pitch during the 2011-2012 season when Roy, coming off an injury that shortened his 2010-2011 season, dramatically under-performed. Though his production issues seemed to stem from another, separate lingering injury, the fans used him as one of many scapegoats during a horribly disappointing season for the Sabres. His name was floated around the trade deadline but nothing came to fruition. On July 2nd, 2012, the Dallas Stars made a bold move to plug the hole left by the draft day Mike Ribeiro trade and sent fan favorite Steve Ott and underwhelming defenseman Adam Pardy to the Sabres in exchange for Derek Roy, a decidedly low price for top six center who has scored 80 points before and has 70-point potential.
Roy reached career highs across the board in 2007-2008, putting up 32 goals, 49 assists, and 81 points in 78 games. The amount of production in a relatively down year for the Sabres (they didn’t reach the playoffs) shows the potential Roy can have even if the players around him aren’t top notch. He followed that season up with a 70 and 69 point season and was on pace for another 80+ point season before a torn quad tendon sidelined him for the rest of the season. Roy revealed this summer that during his rehabilitation for the quad injury, he injured himself again, but played through it. Whether this is an excuse for his poor play or a legitimate reason for it, there’s no denying Roy simply was not himself in 2011-2012. His stats dropped across the board. He played 80 games, but managed only 17 goals and 27 assists. Not counting his rookie year, his even strength tallies hit a career low, his power play goals tied a career low, and his shooting percentage also hit a career low. It’s easy to see where fan furor came from and it’s easy to see the concern Stars fans have with the trade.
The recent revelation of Roy’s shoulder injury and the subsequent surgery put a damper on the trade as he may not be back until late November. For this article’s sake, lets pretend Derek Roy plays a full season and use those numbers to quantify the expectations. In a sentence, Derek Roy needs to be better. But what does “better” mean? Roy is expected to take the second line center spot behind Jamie Benn, and could be given Michael Ryder and Ray Whitney as his wingers. Given a full season, Stars fans should expect no less than 60 points with that lineup. Something similar to Jamie Benn’s numbers of last season (63 points) would be perfectly adequate for his role. Of course, no one is going to complain if we get to see the 2007-2008 version of Roy, the one who put up 81 points in 78 games. Roy is going to have a pivotal role on this team, issues in Buffalo aside, he has been given a clean slate in Dallas, for the time being at the least. The expiring contract of Roy is a hanging cloud of doubt, no one wants this trade to turn into a one year rental. For now, we’ll have to stick that in the back of our mind and hope that an extension gets done and that Roy meets or exceeds his expectations.
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