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Botterill Interview with NHL.com

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8 minutes ago, Brawndo said:

The Sabres giving Contracts to Jeff Skinner and Matt Duchene in the same season might make True’s Head Explode 

It's possible my head already exploded that it might happen, let alone if it actually does.

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18 minutes ago, TrueBlueGED said:

It's possible my head already exploded that it might happen, let alone if it actually does.

In a bad way or good way?

 

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2 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

In a bad way or good way?

 

A bad way. Backing up the brinks truck for an offense-only center (who suspiciously misses the 60-point mark awfully frequently) who is going to be 29 in year 1 of a 7 year contract is nauseating. We we all know that I simply hate Jeff Skinner (while also wanting him re-signed) because he's a turd.

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11 minutes ago, TrueBlueGED said:

A bad way. Backing up the brinks truck for an offense-only center (who suspiciously misses the 60-point mark awfully frequently) who is going to be 29 in year 1 of a 7 year contract is nauseating. We we all know that I simply hate Jeff Skinner (while also wanting him re-signed) because he's a turd.

For those that may not remember, JB used RORs age as the reason for moving him. He said the timelines didn’t match up. Well, they wouldn’t match up for Duchene either.

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I can't figure out why we want a 29yr old center for 7years that is a 2nd line guy at best.  All stats say that declines start at age 27.  The exceptions are guys like Crosby and Ovechkin not the Duchene's of the world. 

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Not a big Duchene fan, but it is a bit of an exaggeration to say he is a second-line centre at best.

He’s in any team’s top six and would be somewhere between the Sabres 2nd and 4th best forward. With our lack of depth up front, we should very much be looking into acquiring him. What we should not be doing is locking into an albatross contract or overpaying for his services.

 

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1 hour ago, SDS said:

For those that may not remember, JB used RORs age as the reason for moving him. He said the timelines didn’t match up. Well, they wouldn’t match up for Duchene either.

I hope this is the case. Duchene is older than O'Reilly now (and much older than O'Reilly was when we actually acquired and extended him), he's worse offensively and much more defensively than O'Reilly, his contract will likely be more (several seasons have passed, the cap has gone up, etc.) than O'Reilly's, and it will run until a much later age (O'Reillys will end at age 31 where a new deal for Duchene will probably take him to age 35).

I think it would be a huge mistake within just a few seasons, maybe even quicker.

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A Duchene signing would smack of the signings during the first FA period after the Pegula's bought the Sabres.  None of which worked out.

So, I would be very surprised if the Sabres even attempt to sign Duchene, which is not to say they won't.

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21 hours ago, nfreeman said:

I too expect JB to take a few big swings this summer, both in trade and the UFA market.  Of course, success will largely depend on the willingness of the other side.

It sounds like if they walk away from a couple of RFAs and/or trade Risto, they will have cap room for a high-end UFA.

Holy mackerel would it be amazing if they landed Duchene (who will turn 29 next January) or Karlsson (who will turn 29 this May).

Duchene is a guy who has done nothing to improve any team he has been on.  It would be a massive mistake to bring him in.

20 hours ago, jsb said:

 

We bought Okposo at 28, that didn't turn out so well considering we have 4 more full years of him. Are we really going to go that route again?? I'm not sure we want to go that way until we are really able to compete at a higher level.

It's true, it's always a risk.  There aren't a lot of big names that hit UFA status that are worth signing, at least not for the money that they command.  The only time it seems to happen is when a player is forcing their way out off the team (Tavares). 

19 hours ago, nfreeman said:

Well, expensive UFAs are certainly a risky proposition, but I don't think the KO experience means that all high-end UFAs should be avoided.  Toronto seems pretty happy with Tavares, for example.  A high-end center to supplement Jack and move Mitts down the rotation seems like it could unlock all kinds of benefits in the forward group.

Could, but unlikely.  Toronto is happy with Tavares (any team would be) but they are also set up to have to deal with that contract now as well.  Does anyone see Matthews as a 2C in this league?  Because he's the 2C for a few more years with Tavares there.

16 hours ago, PASabreFan said:

This is the essence of Darcy's Suffering speech. Six years ago next month. So is the approach a good one, but it hasn't been properly executed, or is the approach flawed?

What you've seen are mistakes made by an leadership group that was learning how to navigate the world of professional sports while attempting to erase the mistakes of the prior ownership group.  What I saw, and what I think a lot of people are clamoring for now, is to adopt the "throw **** at the wall and see what sticks" approach.  Anecdotally people will find instances where that works out.  Fundamentally, it's not a viable approach.

57 minutes ago, New Scotland (NS) said:

A Duchene signing would smack of the signings during the first FA period after the Pegula's bought the Sabres.  None of which worked out.

So, I would be very surprised if the Sabres even attempt to sign Duchene, which is not to say they won't.

Each time the Sabres make that play for the "quick fix" and it doesn't work out I think its incumbent upon the fan who wanted that fix to take a moment of introspection.  It's understandable as to what drives the fan to complain and lose patience.  The luxury the fan has is that they get to complain each time a change in the course of action occurs when it doesn't have the result they expected, even if it was the fan who wanted the change. It's easy to find something that says "they got the wrong guy". 

 

Everyone has a different patience level that is borne out of many factors.  I don't hate on those who are frustrated and want change.  I disagree with them, but I understand where they are at in their heads. I happen to agree with Botterill's assessment. It's not the popular message, but it's accurate from where I sit.  I truly hope the Sabres management does not find the need to try and take a quick fix approach.  It's high risk.  Choose right, you win, choose wrong, the recovery time is increased and the overall pain is increased.  The Sabres are back to being where they were before Murray traded away picks.  He chose wrong, or at the very least, didn't create the environment in which those decisions would thrive.  That led to the change in leadership that led to those players being moved out.  I'd like to think the Sabres are not in that position again, but bringing in too much outside influence may disrupt the locker room and thus create a bad situation in which no one thrives.

Lather. Rinse.Repeat... I hope not.

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4 minutes ago, LTS said:

It's true, it's always a risk.  There aren't a lot of big names that hit UFA status that are worth signing, at least not for the money that they command.  The only time it seems to happen is when a player is forcing their way out off the team (Tavares). 

 

Could, but unlikely.  Toronto is happy with Tavares (any team would be) but they are also set up to have to deal with that contract now as well.  Does anyone see Matthews as a 2C in this league?  Because he's the 2C for a few more years with Tavares there.

 

What you've seen are mistakes made by an leadership group that was learning how to navigate the world of professional sports while attempting to erase the mistakes of the prior ownership group.  What I saw, and what I think a lot of people are clamoring for now, is to adopt the "throw **** at the wall and see what sticks" approach.  Anecdotally people will find instances where that works out.  Fundamentally, it's not a viable approach.

Each time the Sabres make that play for the "quick fix" and it doesn't work out I think its incumbent upon the fan who wanted that fix to take a moment of introspection.  It's understandable as to what drives the fan to complain and lose patience.  The luxury the fan has is that they get to complain each time a change in the course of action occurs when it doesn't have the result they expected, even if it was the fan who wanted the change. It's easy to find something that says "they got the wrong guy".

 

How did Tavares force his way out?  He simply left in free agency.

I don't see any problems arising for Toronto from having both Tavares and Matthews.  Having Crosby and Malkin hasn't been a problem for Pittsburgh -- it's been their foundation.

While I generally agree that desperately swinging for the quick fix isn't the answer, I don't think bringing in an expensive center is necessarily a quick fix that is doomed to failure.  It all depends on the player.  Duchene may or may not be the guy, but in the abstract, a center who is good enough to be a #1 on many teams and who would play pretty much the same number of minutes as Jack sounds like a potential major difference-maker to me.

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16 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

How did Tavares force his way out?  He simply left in free agency.

I don't see any problems arising for Toronto from having both Tavares and Matthews.  Having Crosby and Malkin hasn't been a problem for Pittsburgh -- it's been their foundation.

While I generally agree that desperately swinging for the quick fix isn't the answer, I don't think bringing in an expensive center is necessarily a quick fix that is doomed to failure.  It all depends on the player.  Duchene may or may not be the guy, but in the abstract, a center who is good enough to be a #1 on many teams and who would play pretty much the same number of minutes as Jack sounds like a potential major difference-maker to me.

I see forcing your way out as being unwilling to sign a contract to remain on the team as opposed to let's say Okposo, who did not have a contract to sign.  At least if my memory serves correct.  But yes, it's not really "forcing" so much as taking the option to not sign despite having the opportunity to sign the same contract with the Islanders (I am assuming they would have paid him the same).

The Crosby/Malkin thing is interesting.  I do think there's a difference when you are drafted 1st overall and a few years later the team goes out and signs a hometown hero UFA and makes him the 1C as opposed to Malkin who was drafted #2 and a year later had Crosby drafted #1.  

Matthews went from being the man, to being a man.  Even Marner is more valuable to the team (in terms of points and points/game) and he needs a contract too.  The question is, truly, can Matthews take the backseat?  He's a 1C on a team that I don't believe can afford to pay him like their current 1C.  The Pens did find a way to pay Malkin on par with Crosby. To me, it means Toronto has to let Marner go, or some other talented players.  It's possible... but I don't think it's totally the same situation.

There's a difference in analyzing the fit for a player like Duchene and using the abstract.  I think going out and getting a 2C that costs $8-9M that produces at that level is not a bad thing (if it's available).  But Duchene has been moved from two teams now and has not done anything for them while he was on them.  I wouldn't want to invest into a player like that.

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I think next offseason will be the "we're ready to go for it" offseason...

Coming off the books: Bogosian, Scandella, Sobotka, Sheary, Wilson, Hunwick, Nelson.

2020 projected cap space: $53.6M (Minus: Skinner, Rodrigues, McCabe, Ullmark, Smith, plus maybe O'Regan, Malone, and Dougherty.)

2020 RFA's: Reinhart, Mittelstadt, Montour, Thompson, Olofsson, Pilut. (Maybe: Oglevie, Hickey, and Johansson.)

*Dahlin will be one year from the end of his ELC, so he will be extended long-term.

At that point, all of the core players will be locked up long-term, and the dead-weight will be gone...it will (SHOULD!) be the team Botterill wants.


(***The rest is me just kind of thinking out-loud.***)

Decisions are needed this summer on prospects: Fitzgerald, Brown, Hurley, Chukarov, and Willman. (The only decision is Fitzgerald, I think he leaves.)
Decisions will be needed next summer on: Bryson, Glotov, and Nyberg. (The only decision is Bryson, I think he signs this summer.)
Decisions in the summer of 2021 will be needed on: Davidsson, Laaksonen, Murray, and Weissbach. (Davidsson and Laaksonen will be signed before then.)
Decisions in the summer of 2022 will be needed on: Cronholm, Kukkonen, Samuelsson, and Kreu. (Samuelsson will be signed before then.)

So, let's say in the summer of 2020 the players under contract will be:

Forwards: Eichel, Skinner, Reinhart, Mittelstadt, Thompson, Rodrigues, Nylander, Olofsson, Asplund, Smith, Davidsson, Pekar. (Maybe O'Regan, Oglevie, and Malone.)
Defense: Dahlin, Ristolainen, Montour, McCabe, Borgen, Pilut, Samuelsson, Laaksonen, Bryson. (Maybe Hickey and Dougherty.)
Goalies: Ullmark, Luukkonen, Hutton
(*I think they find a way to get rid of Okposo within two years, probably to Seattle with a draft pick...or, simply, a buyout.)
(**Cronholm and Weissbach sign in the summer of 2021...all the rest of those unsigned prospects walk.)

That's 25-30 players, depending on O'Regan, Hickey, Oglevie, Dougherty, and Malone...so they have a lot of room to make additions between now and next summer.

EDIT: No trades were taken into account, obviously those would play a factor too. (Ie. Ristolainen, Nylander, etc.)

Edited by Dank Dangleson

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59 minutes ago, LTS said:

Matthews went from being the man, to being a man.  Even Marner is more valuable to the team (in terms of points and points/game) and he needs a contract too.  The question is, truly, can Matthews take the backseat?  He's a 1C on a team that I don't believe can afford to pay him like their current 1C.  The Pens did find a way to pay Malkin on par with Crosby. To me, it means Toronto has to let Marner go, or some other talented players.  It's possible... but I don't think it's totally the same situation.

Well, Matthews got a fat extension this year (over $11.5MM per year), so Toronto did figure out how to pay him.

I'm sure you're right that they'll have to lose some guys due to cap constraints, but I'd be shocked if Marner were one of them.  He's too good to let go, and he's restricted.

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2 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

Well, Matthews got a fat extension this year (over $11.5MM per year), so Toronto did figure out how to pay him.

I'm sure you're right that they'll have to lose some guys due to cap constraints, but I'd be shocked if Marner were one of them.  He's too good to let go, and he's restricted.

YOu know what.. ignore everything I said.  I'm not sure where my damn brain was regarding Matthews... I somehow missed some contract signings along the way... I wonder what days have been erased from my memory.

I realized the other day I didn't know that Doughty signed too...

I'm kind of concerned right now.. why would I not have known this?

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1 hour ago, nfreeman said:

 

While I generally agree that desperately swinging for the quick fix isn't the answer, I don't think bringing in an expensive center is necessarily a quick fix that is doomed to failure.  It all depends on the player.  Duchene may or may not be the guy, but in the abstract, a center who is good enough to be a #1 on many teams and who would play pretty much the same number of minutes as Jack sounds like a potential major difference-maker to me.

We are hoping against all hope that Casey makes that leap.

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If my memory serves me, Mitts was supposed to have 34 points this season according to the conversion. Even with some crappy winger play and his growing pains he is on pace for 27 currently. That isn't a huge miss for a 20yr old rookie. He got 80% of his projected points basically. Let's see how he does next year. Also... why the ***** wasn't Reinhart stapled to him the entire year to help. 

Also Evan Rodrigues has been good as the 2nd line center. Okposo is even looking okay of late. That is something they should continue to do the rest of the year and may help alleviate Mitts as he grows. Erod even though Phil screwed him around for almost half the season is on pace for 34pts. I think he can be a 40point player next year. 

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8 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

If my memory serves me, Mitts was supposed to have 34 points this season according to the conversion. Even with some crappy winger play and his growing pains he is on pace for 27 currently. That isn't a huge miss for a 20yr old rookie. He got 80% of his projected points basically. Let's see how he does next year. Also... why the ***** wasn't Reinhart stapled to him the entire year to help. 

Also Evan Rodrigues has been good as the 2nd line center. Okposo is even looking okay of late. That is something they should continue to do the rest of the year and may help alleviate Mitts as he grows. Erod even though Phil screwed him around for almost half the season is on pace for 34pts. I think he can be a 40point player next year. 

Let’s not get carried away with ERod. 

He has 6/9/15/-3 in 27 games since the calendar turned. Just because he has become our fourth-best forward doesn’t mean he is even close to being a real 2nd line centre.

Last past few games has given me hope that he, Sheary and Okposo can be a viable 3rd line next year.

I’ve long felt that the Sabres will be good when he becomes our Swiss Army knife 10th forward, plugging into the top nine whenever and wherever the situation calls for it.

Edited by dudacek

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8 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Let’s not get carried away with ERod. 

He has 6/9/15/-3 in 27 games since the calendar turned. Just because he has become our fourth-best forward doesn’t mean he is even close to being a real 2nd line centre.

Last past few games has given me hope that he, Sheary and Okposo can be a viable 3rd line next year.

I’ve long felt that the Sabres will be good when he becomes our Swiss Army knife 10th forward, plugging into the top nine whenever and wherever the situation calls for it.

He isn't a 2nd line center. He is a 3rd line center but he is potentially good enough to bridge Casey. If Casey is going to make it we should see good signs of that next season. His point should go up and he should look more comfortable. The year after, he should breakout. The question is does that happen. 

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1 hour ago, dudacek said:

We are hoping against all hope that Casey makes that leap.

 

54 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

If my memory serves me, Mitts was supposed to have 34 points this season according to the conversion. Even with some crappy winger play and his growing pains he is on pace for 27 currently. That isn't a huge miss for a 20yr old rookie. He got 80% of his projected points basically. Let's see how he does next year. Also... why the ***** wasn't Reinhart stapled to him the entire year to help. 

Also Evan Rodrigues has been good as the 2nd line center. Okposo is even looking okay of late. That is something they should continue to do the rest of the year and may help alleviate Mitts as he grows. Erod even though Phil screwed him around for almost half the season is on pace for 34pts. I think he can be a 40point player next year. 

 

46 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Let’s not get carried away with ERod. 

He has 6/9/15/-3 in 27 games since the calendar turned. Just because he has become our fourth-best forward doesn’t mean he is even close to being a real 2nd line centre.

Last past few games has given me hope that he, Sheary and Okposo can be a viable 3rd line next year.

I’ve long felt that the Sabres will be good when he becomes our Swiss Army knife 10th forward, plugging into the top nine whenever and wherever the situation calls for it.

 

38 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

He isn't a 2nd line center. He is a 3rd line center but he is potentially good enough to bridge Casey. If Casey is going to make it we should see good signs of that next season. His point should go up and he should look more comfortable. The year after, he should breakout. The question is does that happen. 

I thought Mitts was completely useless last night and for that matter committed a lazy frustration penalty in the offensive zone.  I really hope JB isn't counting on him as the 2C last year.

ERod isn't the long-term answer at 2C but has emerged IMHO as a pretty good player that the Sabres should keep.  I'd slot him in as the #6-#8 forward once the Sabres are good.  ERod was much better than Mitts last night (and, just 'cause I'm feeling ornery, I'll point out that he was better than Reino too, who did zero other than one excellent shift in the first period and who had an awful shift in OT).

If the 3rd line next year is ERod-Sheary-KO, who is on the 2nd line?  3 new guys? 

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2 hours ago, nfreeman said:

 

 

 

I thought Mitts was completely useless last night and for that matter committed a lazy frustration penalty in the offensive zone.  I really hope JB isn't counting on him as the 2C last year.

ERod isn't the long-term answer at 2C but has emerged IMHO as a pretty good player that the Sabres should keep.  I'd slot him in as the #6-#8 forward once the Sabres are good.  ERod was much better than Mitts last night (and, just 'cause I'm feeling ornery, I'll point out that he was better than Reino too, who did zero other than one excellent shift in the first period and who had an awful shift in OT).

If the 3rd line next year is ERod-Sheary-KO, who is on the 2nd line?  3 new guys? 

I agree with your first paragraph.

That said, the best possible scenario for line 2 is Mitts taking a leap and scoring 50 points centring Reinhart and one of two new top six forwards we acquire in the off-season. Before you say it can’t happen look at the difference in Dylan Strome from 20 to 21, or Matt Barzal, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Colin White and Jonathan Drouin, to name just a few recent high picks.

But that shouldn’t stop us from acquiring someone better than Patrik Berglund to hold the fort until he does.

One of the many things that appeals to me about JT Miller is how he can be a fit as a serviceable 2C or an excellent 3C, but can just as easily slide over to the wing on any of the top three lines.

I also thought Reinhart had a quiet game and that ERod had one of his better ones. I’d go as far as saying he may have been our best forward, so I’m not sure why you are mentioning Reinhart and not, say, Eichel or Skinner. (And because I’m feeling ornery, I have to point out that it’s ironic that you are pointing at Reino for that OT shift when the other guy being pinned in his zone that whole time was ERod. And that sometimes I think that you confuse “hustle” with effectiveness. 😜)

 

Edited by dudacek

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34 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I agree with your first paragraph.

That said, the best possible scenario for line 2 is Mitts taking a leap and scoring 50 points centring Reinhart and one of two new top six forwards we acquire in the off-season. Before you say it can’t happen look at the difference in Dylan Strome from 20 to 21, or Matt Barzal, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Colin White and Jonathan Drouin, to name just a few recent high picks.

But that shouldn’t stop us from acquiring someone better than Patrik Berglund to hold the fort until he does.

One of the many things that appeals to me about JT Miller is how he can be a fit as a serviceable 2C or an excellent 3C, but can just as easily slide over to the wing on any of the top three lines.

I also thought Reinhart had a quiet game and that ERod had one of his better ones. I’d go as far as saying he may have been our best forward, so I’m not sure why you are mentioning Reinhart and not, say, Eichel or Skinner. (And because I’m feeling ornery, I have to point out that it’s ironic that you are pointing at Reino for that OT shift when the other guy being pinned in his zone that whole time was ERod. And that sometimes I think that you confuse “hustle” with effectiveness. 😜)

 

Honestly, I have a hard time imagining a better trade target than Miller in terms of fit, need, age, contract, and (likely) cost of acquisition. 

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Didn't think this was thread-worthy, so I'll put it here.

Listening to a Canucks podcast where they drop a matter-of-fact statement that the Sabres had a deal agreed to at the 2017 draft to swap picks with the Canucks.

https://www.tsn.ca/radio/vancouver-1040/the-patcast-win-with-quinn-1.1272113 (at about 57 minutes)

The Canucks bailed because they were locked in on Pettersson and found out the Rangers were going to take Pettersson at 7 if available.

Anyone heard this before? Who was the Buffalo target and what were we giving up?

The draft went Hischier/Patrick/Heiskanen/Makar/Pettersson/Glass/Anderson/Mittelstadt.

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Looking at that list and remembering the post-draft vibe around the Sabres, I have to wonder if the target was Mittelstadt all along. The Anderson pick was a surprise.

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