BUFFALO – Derek Roy had some hard feelings against the Sabres after they traded him to Dallas in July 2012. The sometimes-slick center had just told former general manager Darcy Regier he wanted to stay in town.
The 30-year-old felt he had some unfinished business here.
“I thought we had a great team,” Roy said Tuesday prior to the St. Louis Blues’ 4-1 win against the Sabres, his first game back at the First Niagara Center. “Then a couple weeks later I got traded. It was tough. I wanted to stay here. I had a lot of good friends on the team and around the city. It’s a great place to place to play and a great place to live.”
Roy has been living all over since.
The Stars traded Roy, whose contract was expiring, to Vancouver after only 30 games. He played 16 total games as a rental with the Canucks.
“It was tough early on,” Roy said about leaving. “I think right away with being here so long and knowing all the players and knowing all the city, it was different to go to a city where I don’t know anybody.”
Now, Roy believes he’s “found my place here in St. Louis.”
“I wanted to go to a team where I thought I had the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup,” said Roy, who signed a one-year, $4 million contract in July.
Entering Tuesday, a day he said he would feel “mixed emotions,” Roy had five goals and 11 points in 19 games. He recently skated as a winger on the fourth line.
“It took me a few games to figure out what’s going on,” Roy said about playing wing.
Many fans can’t figure out what’s happened to Roy, a strong point producer for years.
Roy struggled his last season here, compiling only 17 goals and 44 points while becoming the fans’ No. 1 whipping boy. Following the season, he said he didn’t like former coach Lindy Ruff’s public criticism, effectively sealing his fate.
He underwent shoulder surgery shortly after the Stars acquired him for Steve Ott and Adam Pardy. He had four goals and 22 points in 30 games with Dallas but only three goals and six points in 12 regular-season games with Vancouver.
“It was tough,” Roy said. “Short season, a couple injuries. I’ve been bouncing around, but I’ve found a home here in St. Louis.”
Buffalo, where he scored 161 goals and 427 points in 549 games, was home for seven seasons.
“Yesterday walking in I almost walked past the dressing room,” Roy said.
Former teammates greeted him warmly outside the room Tuesday morning. Incredibly, only 13 current Sabres played with Roy.
The rebuilding club cleaned house last week, firing Regier and coach Ron Rolston.
“I didn’t really know what was going on behind those doors,” Roy said. “For them being here for so long and to see a change like that was huge, I think, for the guys in the dressing room.”
What’s Roy’s favorite Buffalo memory?
The Sabres’ dramatic win against Carolina in Game 6 of the 2006 Eastern Conference final.
The fans’ excitement made the dressing room shake following the 2-1 overtime triumph.
“Just a great moment, the whole playoffs,” Roy said.