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Jbot Do Something Already - 4 Saving the Playoffs Edition

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I have been a big supporter of Jbot, but I'm growing inpatient with his cautious approach.  I am not advocating a major overhaul of the roster, although the forward play outside the top 3 may indicate that it is necessary.  Nor am I asking him to leverage our 4 1st rd picks over the next two years to do a TM style trade to sacrifice the long-term for a short-term band aid.

What am I asking Jbot to do is react to a growing problem in a positive and meaningful way to bolster this team in light of Berglund's departure, Eichel's injury, Girgenson's extended stay on IR, and the continued absence of Wilson.  Basically we are without 4 forwards that could help this team.  All Jbot has done to replace that loss production was to pick up Elie in the pre-season and call up Smith.  Yawn!

In fact since Beglund's last game, Dec 8, are an OK 6-5-2

But without Jack, who played only 2 minutes on 12/31, we are 1-2-1 with only 8 goals scored, 4 of which came in the 1 win.  The loss to Boston yesterday, as the Erod lead 1st line was eaten alive be Bergeron and Company, has erased any doubt that this team needs a real shot in the arm.  The only one who can deliver that help is Jbot.

As I've pointed out in other threads without the D and Jack's line, scoring from our forwards is virtually non-existent.  We simply have no centers, regardless of reasons, who seem to be able to consistently create any offense.  Amazingly the best of the awful group has been Larry, who I and many others wanted to see sent to Siberia after his work last season.  

If Jbot wants this team to make the playoffs this season, the Boston game ended his excuses for not making a move.  A return from Wilson won't bolster the offense much if at all.  He is just another 3rd/4th player and we have enough of those.  Also Jack's return won't change the underlying fact that he have only one (Jack) productive center.  

We have 19 games until the Feb 25th trade deadline.  That night we actually play Toronto in Toronto.  That's nearly 25% of the season.  A move right now might just save this season.  Wait until the deadline and the season will likely be lost.

It's also not like deals can't be completed now.  There have been 6 trades since Xmas, including two trade by Edm to bolster their D.  I'm sorry, you can't tell me that there are no centers available.  If you look at the standings, especially in the East, there is a huge gap between the 9 teams in contention and the 7 teams already looking forward to next year.  Most of the those 7 have a player or two worth acquiring.  Ottawa has Duchene (UFA) and as we saw with Evander Kane, waiting until the deadline doesn't necessarily lead to greater return.  Maybe the Rags would trade Kevin Hayes (UFA)?  I'm sure Marcus Johansson (UFA) is available on the Devils.  Couterier, who is 26, and has 3 years left at only 4.33, is a player I'm willing to give up at 1st for, but I'd settle for taking Laughton (RFA)

Out West, Stl and Minn seems like the best candidates to find come help.  Staal and Coyle in Minn, maybe Bozak in Stl.  Other then Coyle, Staal (UFA) and Bozak (2 years left at $5 per) should come pretty cheap.

 

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20 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I have been a big supporter of Jbot, but I'm growing inpatient with his cautious approach.  I am not advocating a major overhaul of the roster, although the forward play outside the top 3 may indicate that it is necessary.  Nor am I asking him to leverage our 4 1st rd picks over the next two years to do a TM style trade to sacrifice the long-term for a short-term band aid.

What am I asking Jbot to do is react to a growing problem in a positive and meaningful way to bolster this team in light of Berglund's departure, Eichel's injury, Girgenson's extended stay on IR, and the continued absence of Wilson.  Basically we are without 4 forwards that could help this team.  All Jbot has done to replace that loss production was to pick up Elie in the pre-season and call up Smith.  Yawn!

In fact since Beglund's last game, Dec 8, are an OK 6-5-2

But without Jack, who played only 2 minutes on 12/31, we are 1-2-1 with only 8 goals scored, 4 of which came in the 1 win.  The loss to Boston yesterday, as the Erod lead 1st line was eaten alive be Bergeron and Company, has erased any doubt that this team needs a real shot in the arm.  The only one who can deliver that help is Jbot.

As I've pointed out in other threads without the D and Jack's line, scoring from our forwards is virtually non-existent.  We simply have no centers, regardless of reasons, who seem to be able to consistently create any offense.  Amazingly the best of the awful group has been Larry, who I and many others wanted to see sent to Siberia after his work last season.  

If Jbot wants this team to make the playoffs this season, the Boston game ended his excuses for not making a move.  A return from Wilson won't bolster the offense much if at all.  He is just another 3rd/4th player and we have enough of those.  Also Jack's return won't change the underlying fact that he have only one (Jack) productive center.  

We have 19 games until the Feb 25th trade deadline.  That night we actually play Toronto in Toronto.  That's nearly 25% of the season.  A move right now might just save this season.  Wait until the deadline and the season will likely be lost.

It's also not like deals can't be completed now.  There have been 6 trades since Xmas, including two trade by Edm to bolster their D.  I'm sorry, you can't tell me that there are no centers available.  If you look at the standings, especially in the East, there is a huge gap between the 9 teams in contention and the 7 teams already looking forward to next year.  Most of the those 7 have a player or two worth acquiring.  Ottawa has Duchene (UFA) and as we saw with Evander Kane, waiting until the deadline doesn't necessarily lead to greater return.  Maybe the Rags would trade Kevin Hayes (UFA)?  I'm sure Marcus Johansson (UFA) is available on the Devils.  Couterier, who is 26, and has 3 years left at only 4.33, is a player I'm willing to give up at 1st for, but I'd settle for taking Laughton (RFA)

Out West, Stl and Minn seems like the best candidates to find come help.  Staal and Coyle in Minn, maybe Bozak in Stl.  Other then Coyle, Staal (UFA) and Bozak (2 years left at $5 per) should come pretty cheap.

 

It's a good post with a lot of good thought.  It's just not going to happen.  It's not what this season was about and it never was.  It was about growing the team and resetting the culture to prepare for the following season.

The early success certainly upped the fans excitement level and expectations.  Going in on trying to upgrade the team this year would be foolish in my opinion. I am confident that if there is a good deal out there that aligns with the plan they have for this team they will take it.  However, I don't think there's going to be a move that attempts to salvage a playoff spot just to make the playoffs.  the move will have to align with the plan for next year, not just this year.

What I am happy about is seeing what this team can do, but never expected to see them do it throughout the season.  Tempered enthusiasm and expectations.

 

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2 minutes ago, LTS said:

It's a good post with a lot of good thought.  It's just not going to happen.  It's not what this season was about and it never was.  It was about growing the team and resetting the culture to prepare for the following season.

The early success certainly upped the fans excitement level and expectations.  Going in on trying to upgrade the team this year would be foolish in my opinion. I am confident that if there is a good deal out there that aligns with the plan they have for this team they will take it.  However, I don't think there's going to be a move that attempts to salvage a playoff spot just to make the playoffs.  the move will have to align with the plan for next year, not just this year.

What I am happy about is seeing what this team can do, but never expected to see them do it throughout the season.  Tempered enthusiasm and expectations.

 

I'll respectfully disagree.  Berglund was slotted to be the 2nd/3rd line C. He's gone and with him his cap.  We now have an open slot that is part of the plan.  Jbot just needs to fill it.

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4 minutes ago, LTS said:

It's a good post with a lot of good thought.  It's just not going to happen.  It's not what this season was about and it never was.  It was about growing the team and resetting the culture to prepare for the following season.

The early success certainly upped the fans excitement level and expectations.  Going in on trying to upgrade the team this year would be foolish in my opinion. I am confident that if there is a good deal out there that aligns with the plan they have for this team they will take it.  However, I don't think there's going to be a move that attempts to salvage a playoff spot just to make the playoffs.  the move will have to align with the plan for next year, not just this year.

What I am happy about is seeing what this team can do, but never expected to see them do it throughout the season.  Tempered enthusiasm and expectations.

 

I couldn't have said it any better. There have been good things so far this season, but I don't know if there are enough levers available for Botts to pull right now to make significant upgrades. 

Like you said, I expect if there are moves that make sense, he will make them. But I suspect those moves aren't abundantly floating around. And you have to figure it's a seller's market right now too. 

As someone who is regularly accused of being impatient, I'm struggling to see a way Botterill can really do what needs to be done right this second.

Wanting him to do something is great. But the reality is that there likely isn't much to be done at the moment. 

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7 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I'll respectfully disagree.  Berglund was slotted to be the 2nd/3rd line C. He's gone and with him his cap.  We now have an open slot that is part of the plan.  Jbot just needs to fill it.

Okay, but what team is giving up a middle six center right now? Most teams with players we would want for that role are still eyeing the playoffs. They aren't selling yet. We're stuck waiting because Berglund left us hanging. 

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6 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I'll respectfully disagree.  Berglund was slotted to be the 2nd/3rd line C. He's gone and with him his cap.  We now have an open slot that is part of the plan.  Jbot just needs to fill it.

He's not officially gone as he can appeal still if i followed the whole process discussion properly.  He had 90 days?

Moreover, you can't just sign a player in the middle of the season.  You have to trade.  The money makes things possible, but it doesn't just open up the gates and allow you to do what you want.  Giving up assets to get something else may be in the mix.  It may be more in the mix, but it's still not in the mix to the point that they are going to deviate from the course just to satisfy a need to make the playoffs this year at the expense of the future.

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I think the ten game streak was misleading to how far we still need to go to be a playoff/playoff contender. Let JBott continue with his plan going into the season. We have one forward scoring line and improved goaltending improvement from last season's last place team. Depth wise we have a ways to go.

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Just now, LTS said:

He's not officially gone as he can appeal still if i followed the whole process discussion properly.  He had 90 days?

Moreover, you can't just sign a player in the middle of the season.  You have to trade.  The money makes things possible, but it doesn't just open up the gates and allow you to do what you want.  Giving up assets to get something else may be in the mix.  It may be more in the mix, but it's still not in the mix to the point that they are going to deviate from the course just to satisfy a need to make the playoffs this year at the expense of the future.

Berglund and his cap are gone.  Period.  He can appeal, but if we settle and have to take some cap back (such as Mike Richards), the cap hit will return next season. 

I never said sign someone.  I said acquire.  While I don't know for sure who is available, there are players who fit our need available right now that wouldn't cost and arm and a leg.

Every year at this time trade activity picks up.  Most are depth deals, but usually there are one or two involving significant players.  Dubnyk has been traded twice this time of year.  Last season Duclair and Panik were exchanged on Jan 10.  Hagelin/Perron were exchanged on Jan 16th 2 years ago.  The biggest deal was Seth Jones for Ryan Johansson which occurred Jan 6th 2016.  

With so many teams in both conferences already out of the mix for the playoffs, there are players available.  It's time to plug the Berglund hole

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Who are the Sabres going to have give up for a quality 2nd line center? Teams aren't going to want Sobotka, Okposo, or Tennyson. It's going to have a future young star (Mittlestadt, Nylander) or a solid veteran without much of a cap hit (McCabe, Reinhart). Also keep in mind that we don't have a surplus of draft picks next year after the 1st round thanks to the Skinner and Wilson trades. Unfortunately, the move to pick up veteran  secondary scoring at the deadline will probabl weaken the team in others.

I don't like it either, and I hate this expression with a passion, but it is what it is. Unless we get lucky again and a team is willing to part with a solid center for pennies on the dollar, this is what our team is going to be for the season. In the meanwhile, praying for Mittlestadt to develop.

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This (the Berglund situation) is a bump in the road.  JBOT will not be thrown of his plan because of this.  We should not get worked up about it.

I agree with Radar in that the 10 game streak really spoiled us, but was not a true reflection of the state of the Sabres.  The Sabres are actually enjoyable to watch and we have a real NHL roster now.  What a dramatic improvement.

The Sabres are a vastly improved team that has a ways to go.  I thought they would be in the hunt for a playoff spot until the All-Star break, which they are.  Anything beyond that would be a bonus in my mind.

Rome was not built in a day.  The roster is not what JBOT intends it to be, but his mission last off-season was to address the attitude and culture of the team and to improve the two most critical areas, IMO, which are goalie and D.  Mission pretty much accomplished.  I don't think he was absolutely shopping for and wanting to trade for Skinner.  I think that trade presented itself and it was a no-brainer.  Improving the top line by adding Skinner, in my mind, was a bonus.

JBOT is not the type tp panic and deviate from his plan.  The coming off-season will be another critical one for him and the Sabres.

After what seems like forever, but is not even close to the 40 years of Brother Moses, of wandering in the desert we are nearing the outer edges of said desert.

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These "call to action" threads are always funny to me because they operate under the assumption that the GM is just sitting around playing Words With Friends on his phone.

Botterill is likely doing the work every day. He has something to prove after all. I have no doubt he's on the phone and talking to his scouts and his coaches. I'm sure he would love to make a bunch of changes. 

"Do something Darcy!" was funny because of how long he was here and how much we knew about his tendencies to be too patient. His comments about "letting the market set" were probably scrutinized more than they should have been, but they reinforced the concept of Darcy. 

Botterill? I would hope we're not at "Do something Bottsie!" yet. 

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Interestingly Buffalo, sportswise, is in the most inept period in sports history.  Since 2010, both our major sports teams combined, have 3 playoff appearances, neither which advanced.  We may get through the decade without a single playoff victory let alone championship.  What they both have in common, simultaneously, is some of the most inept continuous management/coaching tandems, in sports history.  This is a dark hole that will take a long time for both teams to get out of. We need good financial management, need to hit on draft picks, and find smart FA acquisitions.  All 3 phases have been absolutely horrendous for 10 plus years.  I’m not moping... just stating reality.  All eyes are on JBot and McBeane...will the 2020’s take us to the promised land?

Edited by Gatorman0519

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I think you are all over valuing what a UFA from a bad team might cost.  Take Eric Staal for example.  What do you think he'd cost to acquire.  Staal is 34, is earning 3.5 and I seriously doubt a failing Minn team wants to re-sign.  However he is still productive and would be a perfect replacement for Berglund for the rest of the season.  My guess is we can get him for a 2nd in 2020 and an AHLer like Bailey. 

Stl signed 32 yer old Bozak for 3 years at 5 per season.  He has been reasonably productive and could be had for nothing.  Stl would love to get rid of the contract on another failing team.  And before anyone says we don't have the cap space.  We do and easily for the next two seasons.

Marcus Johnasson is on the last year of his contract at 4.75. He is currently on IR, but if he was healthy, my guess we could have him for a 3rd in 2019 and a 5th in 2021.  He is about to return to the lineup.

All these moves would fill the hole, improve the team and none would harm the long-term in anyway.

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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3 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Is any team a committed seller yet?

It's a fair question.  I would say NJ, Ott, Philly, and Det are all sellers in the East right now and probably the Rags as well.  These teams are all -14 to -35 in goal differential and that isn't going to get better for any of them.

In the West the 4 teams with 36/37 pts ytd are also likely sellers now in AZ, Stl, Chi and LA.  What anyone wants what they have is another question.  I've talked about Minn also because although they are +4 in differential and only 2 points out of a playoff spot, the team has age and cap issues and the loss of Dumba for the season is a huge blow to their chances.

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1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I think you are all over valuing what a UFA from a bad team might cost.  Take Eric Staal for example.  What do you think he'd cost to acquire.  Staal is 34, is earning 3.5 and I seriously doubt a failing Minn team wants to re-sign.  However he is still productive and would be a perfect replacement for Berglund for the rest of the season.  My guess is we can get him for a 2nd in 2020 and an AHLer like Bailey. 

Stl signed 32 yer old Bozak for 3 years at 5 per season.  He has been reasonably productive and could be had for nothing.  Stl would love to get rid of the contract on another failing team.  And before anyone says we don't have the cap space.  We do and easily for the next two seasons.

Marcus Johnasson is on the last year of his contract at 4.75. He is currently on IR, but if he was healthy, my guess we could have him for a 3rd in 2019 and a 5th in 2021.  He is about to return to the lineup.

All these moves would fill the hole, improve the team and none would harm the long-term in anyway.

People also seem to be underestimating how big of a hole Berglund flaming out created.

Mittelstadt was pencilled in at 2C & Berglund at 3C and both IMHO failed their auditions for those roles.  But neither failed bad enough to completely abandon that plan.  Because there was no one else around, Casey was still in that role until this past week.  Berglund, likely still fit in the mix for that 2/3C role for next season as he would not be the 1st, nor last, player who took a full season to fit in with his new team. (Spacek as a Sabres example - he was a healthy scratch on occassion in the '07 playoffs but wore the Captain's C in the innaugural Ice Bowl that following January.)

GA, you have done a good job of identifying guys that could be available now for a reasonable price.  These guys could help this season & for another year or 2.  Unless a move is made, the Sabres WILL still have this same hole next season.  (Truly doubt Mittelstadt will be ready for QUALITY 2C duty from day 1 next season.  And evenif he surprisinglyis ready, they still would be relying on Larsson, Sobotka, or Asplund to cover 3C; so there still will be a hole to fill.)  If that hole gets filled now, any learning curve to the Sabres system/ linemate quirks get worked through this year in the "no true expectations of playoffs/ playing with house money" season rather than the "playoffs or bust" season that is next year.  And next year IS playoffs or bust.

Heck, pretty sure the Sabres aren't maxed out on retaining money on traded guys, so the Sabres MIGHT even be able to use this search for a player to bring in to ship out a guy while retaining some of the now saved Berglund cap space.

The plan made a lot of sense when devised.  But Bergy totally changed the terrain that plan was designed to navigate.  Bringing in a 2C (even if he's more realistically a 3C, but can perform 2C better than any other current Sabre/Amerk) makes a ton of sense even if it costs a middling package of assets more than it would in the off-season, as that need doesn't go away in the off-season.

Edited by Taro T
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17 minutes ago, Taro T said:

People also seem to be underestimating how big of a hole Berglund flaming out created.

Mittelstadt was pencilled in at 2C & Berglund at 3C and both IMHO failed their auditions for those roles.  But neither failed bad enough to completely abandon that plan.  Because there was no one else around, Casey was still in that role until this past week.  Berglund, likely still fit in the mix for that 2/3C role for next season as he would not be the 1st, nor last, player who took a full season to fit in with his new team. (Spacek as a Sabres example - he was a healthy scratch on occassion in the '07 playoffs but wore the Captain's C in the innaugural Ice Bowl that following January.)

GA, you have done a good job of identifying guys that could be available now for a reasonable price.  These guys could help this season & for another year or 2.  Unless a move is made, the Sabres WILL still have this same hole next season.  (Truly doubt Mittelstadt will be ready for QUALITY 2C duty from day 1 next season.  And evenif he surprisinglyis ready, they still would be relying on Larsson, Sobotka, or Asplund to cover 3C; so there still will be a hole to fill.)  If that hole gets filled now, any learning curve to the Sabres system/ linemate quirks get worked through this year in the "no true expectations of playoffs/ playing with house money" season rather than the "playoffs or bust" season that is next year.  And next year IS playoffs or bust.

Heck, pretty sure the Sabres aren't maxed out on retaining money on traded guys, so the Sabres MIGHT even be able to use this search for a player to bring in to ship out a guy while retaining some of the now saved Berglund cap space.

The plan made a lot of sense when devised.  But Bergy totally changed the terrain that plan was designed to navigate.  Bringing in a 2C (even if he's more realistically a 3C, but can perform 2C better than any other current Sabre/Amerk) makes a ton of sense even if it costs a middling package of assets more than it would in the off-season, as that need doesn't go away in the off-season.

 

This about sums it up. 

Berglund is a bigger hole than we want to admit.  Bergkund and Girgensons is a bigger hole still.  Berglund, Girgensons, and Eichel is probably insurmountable.  And even with all 3 in the lineup we still were deficient at center.


A good GM finds ways to fix the center hole without handcuffing the future.  I'm not interested in using the future as an excuse to reduce the holes today.  Good teams find ways to do it all the time.

Edited by Weave
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I am in favor of any sort of move that helps us make the playoffs this year, while not sacrificing, at all, our long term development.

If there is some acquisition that can be made that fits into those parameters, go for it!

I'd love to see us in the playoffs this year.

 

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16 minutes ago, Weave said:

 

This about sums it up. 

Berglund is a bigger hole than we want to admit.  Bergkund and Girgensons is a bigger hole still.  Berglund, Girgensons, and Eichel is probably insurmountable.  And even with all 3 in the lineup we still were deficient at center.


A good GM finds ways to fix the center hole without handcuffing the future.  I'm not interested in using the future as an excuse to reduce the holes today.  Good teams find ways to do it all the time.

Thanks.

Berglund, this season, absolutely is an issue.  But 2-3 years down the road, not having a 4th liner (and he'd've better have been a 4th liner by then, or either Botterill would have failed or Berglund would have gotten hooked up with the Cheatriots medical/training staff) making over $4MM (or more accurately a 2nd one besides Okposo) will be very beneficial for filling out the last of what should be a contending roster.  (Though it wasn't planned, his leaving is IMHO ST pain for LT gain.)

It's up to Botterill to replace Berglund now, and though there will be an asset cost to bring that replacement in now, that cost shouldn't be significantly larger than it would be in the off season.  The cost of NOT filling it now would be IMHO huge in lost opportunity for these kids to grow via a successful playoff chase & somewhere between 4 & 14 played playoff games.  (Plus those 2-7 home playoff games would cover/ more than cover Berglund's replacement's salary.)

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The fact that Casey is likely two years away from actually being a 2nd line centre is evidence that we may need to use our ammunition to shoot higher than stopgaps like Staal.

People talk about Patrick Kane all the time. The player that actually is a better fit is Jonathan Toews.

He’s not the player He was hyped to be and he is drastically overpaid. But he is also ROR without the suicide watch. He’s got four years left on a deal where he can be an excellent 2 for 2 years and an excellent 3 for two years.

Obvious cap dancing needed, but the Hawks need a reset. Depends on the price, but I’d make the call. He’s a perfect fit, roster-wise.

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27 minutes ago, dudacek said:

The fact that Casey is likely two years away from actually being a 2nd line centre is evidence that we may need to use our ammunition to shoot higher than stopgaps like Staal.

People talk about Patrick Kane all the time. The player that actually is a better fit is Jonathan Toews.

He’s not the player He was hyped to be and he is drastically overpaid. But he is also ROR without the suicide watch. He’s got four years left on a deal where he can be an excellent 2 for 2 years and an excellent 3 for two years.

Obvious cap dancing needed, but the Hawks need a reset. Depends on the price, but I’d make the call. He’s a perfect fit, roster-wise.

Strangely, that actually makes some sense. They'd have to retain some salary though and we wouldn't be trading Mitts or any primed prospects so it may work in theory. 

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28 minutes ago, dudacek said:

The fact that Casey is likely two years away from actually being a 2nd line centre is evidence that we may need to use our ammunition to shoot higher than stopgaps like Staal.

People talk about Patrick Kane all the time. The player that actually is a better fit is Jonathan Toews.

He’s not the player He was hyped to be and he is drastically overpaid. But he is also ROR without the suicide watch. He’s got four years left on a deal where he can be an excellent 2 for 2 years and an excellent 3 for two years.

Obvious cap dancing needed, but the Hawks need a reset. Depends on the price, but I’d make the call. He’s a perfect fit, roster-wise.

That would be a home run.  Not sure what it would take to get him, or what our cap implications would be though

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Toews is a pie in the sky idea and likely isn’t necessary.  Casey could be ready as early as next year.  Regardless, the stop gaps I mentioned, such as Bozak, Johansson and Staal could all be perfect for not only this season but the next 2 years after.  Staal and Johansson are UFAs and if they fit and succeed you extend them.  If not, you move on. 

I think Jbot’s vision is a 1-2-3 of Jack Casey and Asplund, but this might not come to into focus until 2020-21, but can get close to that vision with just one move now. 

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My proposal for Toews

Toews (2.5mil retained), Davidson, and Kunitz

for 

SJS 1st, Guhle, Okposo, Sobotka, and Smith

 

I do think there would be potential to swap Okposo for Toews in some regard since they are both the same age and have the same length on their contracts. 

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I don't take it for granted that Mittelstadt will develop into a bonafide 2C period.  The kid has great hands, but not seeing much else...he may not be suited for the NHL.  Jack has a history of getting hurt each season as well, can't count on him to be healthy for a full season.

My point is, we need management to find multiple options for center on this team.  The center pipeline is really weak and needs fortification in order to be a serious contender.  It may not be achieved quickly via the draft as the last time we tried to load up on C's  was with Grigorenko and Girgensons in 2013.  IMHO, it's going to require a trade.

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