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The Athletic Look into The Future NHL

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The Athletic is publishing a series of articles this week about the future of the NHL and how it predicts it will play out. The first article was the power rankings for 2020-21 Season and the criteria to come up with them. 

The Sabres came in at Number 5 behind Toronto, Winnipeg, Colorado and Boston. 

Here is the criteria:

Here are the four categories in which each NHL team was judged in determining the 2021-22 Future Power Rankings:

Young core (under 25 years old) and prospects – All things considered, the young players competing now in the NHL and the emerging prospects are going to go a long way in how competitive you believe every team will be in three years. This category focuses on the NHL players in the lineup under 25 years old and prospects in the pipeline. (Panelists: Craig Custance, Scott Wheeler, Corey Pronman)

Management and coaching – This is a tough one because front offices and coaching staffs may look different in three years. And you might love the coach but hate the GM. This category factors all that in when assessing those making personnel decisions and the decisions on the ice. (Panelists: Craig Custance, Katie Strang, Justin Bourne)

Ownership and market – Success typically starts at the top and a franchise that has the freedom to spend tends to do better than those with cheap ownership or a questionable market. (Panelists: Craig Custance, Eric Duhatschek, Scott Burnside)

Salary cap situation – In evaluating a team’s cap situation in three years, we looked at the contracts coming off the books, the upcoming deals that have to be done and those teams that still have bad deals counting against the cap in 2021-22. (Panelists: Craig Custance, Dom Luszczyszyn, Katie Strang)

The methodology: Each panelist was asked to rate the current 31 NHL teams in their category on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best. Because there’s nothing to evaluate, Seattle was kept out of this exercise. The three ratings for each team were averaged out for that category. Because a bulk of the success in three years will be driven by young talent, when calculating the total scores, the young core and prospects category was counted twice to determine each team’s final rating.

 

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The future is coming early for the Sabres, one of the NHL’s hottest teams in the first part of this season. It’s been a painful process but Buffalo has all the necessary ingredients to win Stanley Cups – a franchise center, a franchise defenseman and an owner who will spend. Panelists were very bullish on the young talent, but they’re not quite as convinced about ownership and the future cap situation, which dropped the Sabres a few slots. In 2021-22, Kyle Okposo will still have two years left on a deal paying him $6 million per season, and there’s going to be a huge raise for Rasmus Dahlin between now and then.

Pronman on the Sabres’ collection of young talent: “It’s a really good, young group. Are they going to contend this year? No, they’re probably playing a little over their head. Jack Eichel is one of the best centers in the league. Dahlin is quickly turning into a star defenseman. He’s not there yet but you’re starting to see flashes. He’s going to be one of the best defensemen in the league in a short period of time. Casey Mittelstadt hasn’t kicked it in yet, but he and Tage Thompson are going to be good players. They have good guys in Rochester, too. There’s a lot of reason for optimism in Buffalo.”

 

I agree with most of the rankings however the Ownership and Market coming in at 26th is a way to low.  Florida and Carolina come in at 27th.  The review lists the Sabres as having the key ingredients to a Stanley Cup Contender as a franchise center, franchise defenseman and an owner willing to spend. The next line states the contributors saying they are not sold on ownership or the Sabres Salary Cap Situation with Okposo being the prime example. Botterill did not sign that contract and he was known as the salary cap wizard for the Penguins, let’s see how it plays out. 

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Dammit, PA was right!

It's the Pegulas that have been holding us back all along! 😈

 

Edited by dudacek
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12 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Dammit, PA was right!

It's the Pegulas have been holding us back all along! 😈

 

 

PA may not be wrong on that

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The idea we have bad owners and a bad market strikes me as nothing more than frivolous mudslinging. The Pegulas may not be the best in the league but they are certainly better than at least half of the league’s other owners. 

 

Let me guess, Toronto is #1

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That is fine Ill take a cup over being ranked no 1 but biased prognosticators... Most of us could have given more reason evals then this.

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The market?

THE MARKET?

You mean the market that consistently ranks near the top in television rankings for national games not involving their own team?

I can't wait to go rip this article to death on The Athletic.  

Other than that, this is the kind of BS journalism I wanted to avoid.  Let's throw some garbage about there just to make content.

UGH.

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The panelists for ownership/market are all respected hockey voices. Maybe they don't drink the Pegula Kool Aid. The owners' record, on the ice and off, speaks for itself.

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2 minutes ago, PASabreFan said:

The panelists for ownership/market are all respected hockey voices. Maybe they don't drink the Pegula Kool Aid. The owners' record, on the ice and off, speaks for itself.

They gave no evidence or reason. It struck me as, Buffalo is a small market and the owner is alright but we need to drop their average a bit.

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The criteria they gave is owners who give their franchise freedom to spend do better than those who don’t or those franchises in questionable markets. The Pegulas have demonstrated a willingness to spend, although sometimes foolishly and Buffalo has consistently ranked at the Top of the US Markets. 

Now the Pegulas have made mistakes which could factor their low ranking, however that was not listed in the criteria at the beginning the article. 

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These next 5 years will really cement my opinion of the Pegula's. They started out rough, but they were brand new at the ownership gig. They didn't know how to run a sports team, and they made some hard mistakes a long the way. And both teams were in ROUGHT shape when they came in.

But they've got 7 years in the NHL world and 5 in the NFL now. Both teams have changed quite a bit. I like the hockey team's possibilities more than the football teams, but who knows. Time to make your real mark.

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I don't get the low ranking for ownership?   They state the criteria is having owners that are willing to spend... 

"....franchise that has the freedom to spend tends to do better than those with cheap ownership or a questionable market."

Are they saying Pegula is not willing to spend?

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Just now, pi2000 said:

I don't get the low ranking for ownership?   They state the criteria is having owners that are willing to spend... 

"....franchise that has the freedom to spend tends to do better than those with cheap ownership or a questionable market."

Are they saying Pegula is not willing to spend?

No, just defecating on Buffalo as a market. 

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Hell hath no fury like a fanbase scorned.

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The rankings are a little confused. 

We have a good GM and Coach, but they were obvious marked down because of limited time on the job.  Skinner, Sheary, and Hutton acquisitions and the move in the standings show alone justify a higher grade.

They also marked us down strangely because of KO’s and Berglund’s bad contracts.  However KO is a useful player and as the cap rises their 9.8 mill in cap becomes less of a burden and they are the only bad contracts we have left. I probably discuss the cap here more then most and I don’t see any real issues anymore.  

As to Pegula

1) No question he wants the best for the team and the city of Buffalo. He has learned on the job but finally has the right people in place to run his team.  

2) He is willing to spend on the team. Harborside and planned new stadium are just two examples.  Allowing the team to stash Moulson and his bad contract in the AHL is another.  The market may be small, but it is one of the NHLs most consistent and supportive for  TV ratings.

3) The old stand by of players not wanting to come here is now totally BS.  Skinner waived his NTC to come.  This was Hutton’s first choice.  When Skinner re-signs can we end this cliche for a while?

4) Toronto has a great market and how has that helped them over the last 50 years?

 

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All that said, I haven't seen one blurb from The Athletic that makes me want to pay for a subscription.

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2 hours ago, thewookie1 said:

The idea we have bad owners and a bad market strikes me as nothing more than frivolous mudslinging. The Pegulas may not be the best in the league but they are certainly better than at least half of the league’s other owners. 

 

Let me guess, Toronto is #1

Terry Pegula strikes me as the lowest information sports fan you've ever known.  I don't question his love of the franchise or desire to win.  I question how savvy a sports fan he is, and if he truly understands what he needs to succeed in either football or hockey.  He is the sort of guy whose success will always be limited by his best advisor telling him what to do.

Where he excels is in a willingness to act quickly, spend money, and initiate change when it is deemed necessary to improve the on-field or on-ice product.

Many if not most major league sports owners in N. America are not interested--at all--in making their franchise as good as it can be on the field or ice, but Terry I believe is. 

So that puts him ahead of many owners from that perspective.

 

 

 

 

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PS:  Since Dahlin was mentioned heavily in this piece...

He is still making giant mistakes from time to time, sometimes has a rough night in general, and yet clearly shows all the signs of greatness and does many really nice things now.  The kid is a baby, aged 18, and won't be 19 until the spring!  

My God!  What will he look like when he's a ripe old 22?  

He is going to turn into one of the best D-men in the league and will be a minute devouring guy who is on the ice half the game and in all the important, tough situations, controlling games. 

I believe he will be more important to the future success of the Sabres than Jack Eichel.

His development might be the most important single player development on the team.  

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6 minutes ago, Kruppstahl said:

Terry Pegula strikes me as the lowest information sports fan you've ever known.  I don't question his love of the franchise or desire to win.  I question how savvy a sports fan he is, and if he truly understands what he needs to succeed in either football or hockey.  He is the sort of guy whose success will always be limited by his best advisor telling him what to do.

I think this is a dated view of Terry Pegula. He’s been around for seven years and made a ton of mistakes, but I suspect he’s learned from them.

The last sentence is true of pretty much any owner.

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I wish they expanded why Buffalo ranked so low on Ownership and Market. Is this a shot at the city of Buffalo? players not wanting to sign there?

 

 

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i really wonder about Toronto being a great market to play in? pretty sure there are lots of players who would prefer to play in markets that don't dissect every aspect of their play on the ice, where the media consists of mabye 3-5 reporters. Not to mention the fact that they can't go about their everyday lives in anonymity like they can in most US markets.

pretty sure the guys at the Athletic created a category in order for the Leafs to rank #1 overall.

 

 

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Lazy journalism first piece in Atheletic imo truly bad and useless.

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In a cap world what does market have to with anything?  As TB has proven, hockey can succeed and thrive in non-traditional markets while Ott has proven the opposite.  

WPG, TB, Nash, are three of best teams in the NHL and none are in “great” hockey markets. Nashville is small and non-traditional.  TB is non-traditional and Wpg is a tiny market.  Certainly whether FAs want to come can be a issue, but winning and available cap $ usually takes care of that.  Buffalo now has both.  Buffalo has a rapid fan base without the media  BS in Tor and Montreal.  Toronto has had an economic advantage over Buffalo for 50 years and it rarely helped them on the ice.  

Ownership is certainly a factor.  Certainly Melnyk is destroying OTT.  Golisano saved the Sabres, but ultimately his policies lead to the demise of the on-ice product.  We don’t have either situation here any longer.   

We have a robust local hockey market although small with a committed stable owner, who has invested heavily in hockey (Harborside) in Buffalo, has invested to grow the game (PSU hockey fo example) overall and has given the GM economic freedom (such as bolstered scouting staff and ability to bury a bad contract).

I’d love to know their criteria for the market/ownership score, but objectively I doubt there are 10 better situations much less 20.

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12 minutes ago, North Buffalo said:

Lazy journalism first piece in Atheletic imo truly bad and useless.

It's not journalism. I think that's too high a standard to apply to this.

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