Getting to Know Your Newest Buffalo Sabre: Mathieu Darche
Born: November 26, 1976 / Montreal, Quebec
Drafted: Signed with Columbus Blue Jackets as undrafted free agent
NHL Seasons: 6
Former Teams: Columbus, Nashville, San Jose, Tampa Bay
Contract: One year, two way contract, expires 2009
3RD MAN IN – 3 BIG POINTS
- Played 4 years at McGill University in Canada, the same McGill University credited with having the first organized hockey club, producing basketball inventor James Naismith, and playing Harvard in the first ever game of american football.
- Younger brother of Kansas City Chiefs long snapper J.P. Darche
- Darche’s NHL debut in 2000 made him the first McGill player in the NHL in almost 50 years
So what kind of player is he? Let’s turn it over to the one who broke the signing, Lindsay Kramer of the Syracuse Post-Standard:
“The first word that comes to mind when I think of Darche is “rugged.” He’s very powerful and hard to move around the net. He has a strong lower half of his body, a solid center of gravity from the waist down. Once he anchors somewhere, he is tough to dig out. He also has excellent hands. He gets a ton of rebounds and tips. Although I don’t recall him fighting much he is also very aggressive. He plows into people along the boards and its like watching a bowling ball scatter pins. His brother is a long-snapper in the NFL. Mathieu has that sort of build and grunt-work mentality.
He is very persistent, very committed to improvement. He came to the Crunch as a free agent out of McGill University, few people ever heard of him. He was productive right away in Syracuse, and the Blue Jackets gave him a little chance, but not much. He kept bouncing around here and there before getting his first extended chance in the NHL last season. Yeah, a lot of that was talent finally finding the right fit, but a lot of it is also his doggedness. And good for him. He’s an easy guy to root for.
Off the ice, he’s one of my favorite players in 14 years of covering the Crunch. Very easygoing and sincere. Usually answers questions analytically. One of the smartest players I’ve covered. He was all over assessing the free agent market when picking his team, knowing which players made what and what teams’ rosters looked like. Tampa Bay offered him a two-year deal, two-way first year, then one-way. That deal would have guaranteed him at least about $600,000 total. He said no, because he didn’t think he’d get another look there. So he took one-year, two-way deal from Sabres, with only a $100,000 minor league salary assured.”
Darche seems like a very Buffalo-style player. We’ll see where he fits in once training camp rolls around.
Big thanks to Lindsay for his detailed insight.