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GASabresIUFAN

Would a Top Free Agent Actually Sign Here?

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This is not a “because Buffalo” comment, but a real question about can this team given the current state of the franchise actually attract top free agents? 

Objectively we lack a coach, we haven’t sniffed winning in 8 years and while we have some top young talent we can’t score, defend or stop the other team from scoring with our current roster.  We also have lacked stability at the top, our pipeline is just ok and past free agent signees like KO and Moulson have died here (career wise).

Would you voluntarily join this situation even for huge money?

If your Skinner do you re-up?  

This begs the next questions.

1) Can Jbot fix the roster with trades if he can’t get top free agents?

2) Are we left with the strategy of signing lesser FAs  and hoping they work out.  

 

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No he can't fix the roster with trades or top UFA's.

You have to draft and develop well to be good. You use trade and UFA's to supplement the rest not build it. Getting lesser UFA's and hoping is an awful plan that can only do 1 thing, screw up your cap. 

Edited by LGR4GM
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Actually that was my next thought.  Is Jbot going to have to rely on his kids maturing to make this team competitive?

I will disagree with you a little.  I think Jbot can make some trades and sign lesser FAs to satisfy certain current needs.  The key is finding a few guys who are being underutilized where they are.  Guys like Danny Briere back in the day or William Karlsson and Marchesseult (so?) more recently.   

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I know Panarin is probably going to Florida, or possibly the Rangers. Is there any way to get Bobrovsky to come here instead of Fla as he would be my top target.

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No. It's been too hopeless for too long, and the prospect pool is not compelling enough to provide excitement for the future. 

Years and years of poor drafting have put us in a terrible place, and it's going to take a while to dig out of it. They will have to rely on the current roster to develop and show a glimmer of hope before anyone would want to come to Buffalo. 

I hope they can move the needle this year, otherwise we are going to be looking at a trade Eichel, blow it up and start over kind of scenario next year. 

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9 minutes ago, Skibum said:

No. It's been too hopeless for too long, and the prospect pool is not compelling enough to provide excitement for the future. 

Years and years of poor drafting have put us in a terrible place, and it's going to take a while to dig out of it. They will have to rely on the current roster to develop and show a glimmer of hope before anyone would want to come to Buffalo. 

I hope they can move the needle this year, otherwise we are going to be looking at a trade Eichel, blow it up and start over kind of scenario next year. 

And I was worried that my post would sound hopeless.  

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Any discussion of this nature is pointless because it predisposes free agents are a uniform breed.

Free agents want a mix of money, a comfortable work environment, achance to win, and a chance to play in their perceived ideal role, in a place where they want to live, in varying orders of priority. What that means to Skinner isn’t what it means to Panarin.

To the lack of hope, Sabres aren’t far from Colorado, just a few years behind their development curve.

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1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

If your Skinner do you re-up?  

If I'm Eichel, I tell Skinner, "Dude, you scored 40 goals on a total dysfunctional team.  We're only getting better from here.  Just friggin' sign already."

1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

2) Are we left with the strategy of signing lesser FAs  and hoping they work out.  

I think this is how JBot rolls.  Realistically he might be able to make one major acquisition, but there will probably be more Sheary-type acquisitions.  (I don't care whether they are free agent acquisitions or trades, as long as the team gets better.)

Edited by Doohickie

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25 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Any discussion of this nature is pointless because it predisposes free agents are a uniform breed.

Free agents want a mix of money, a comfortable work environment, achance to win, and a chance to play in their perceived ideal role, in a place where they want to live, in varying orders of priority. What that means to Skinner isn’t what it means to Panarin.

To the lack of hope, Sabres aren’t far from Colorado, just a few years behind their development curve.

This is the point of this discussion.  Do you think that those variety of factors can still make us a viable place to sign?  

 

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I would say the Sabres are a more attractive target than they've been in the recent past.

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All hope is not lost. Boston constantly finds mediocre players (Tim Schaller anyone?) who when on the ice do not get caved in at even strength. They aren't the only ones. If Buffalo signs Skinner, you have a solid nucleus of players who actually drive possession and scoring chances. It SHOULD be easy to fill out a roster and even use a few Amerks in lieu of high priced FA and again not have the ice tilt towards your goalie. My strategy would look to add a few average FA but also sprinkle in short term contracts with very high salaries. This wouldn't work for Skinner, but for other short term fixes (particularly at 2C) this could get a team to the playoffs while some of the incoming youth matures. 

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I think in most cases, a high-end UFA is not going to be interested in a team that is in the bottom tier every GD year.  Skinner, to the extent they get him, is an outlier - a bit of an odd bird personality who wants to be near home and has an opportunity here to play with a very-good-to-elite elite center for a team with the cap space for an expensive winger.

However, I think goalies are a bit different from skaters in this context.  Since most teams have a clear-cut distinction between the starter and the backup, and since there is a substantial percentage of GMs who don't believe in giving big contacts to goalies, there are fewer openings for high-end UFA goalies than there are for skaters, so the goalies have fewer options.  This makes them more open than elite UFA skaters are to joining a crappy team if that team will deliver a fat contract.

In addition, UFA goalies, along with everyone else, know that a big upgrade in net can have a huge impact on a crappy team -- so they might be less put off by the prospect of joining a chronically lousy team.

Coincidentally, the Sabres are dying for better goaltending.

I think JB needs to be right about the coaching and the goaltending for next season, or else the team will stink again and he'll deservedly get canned.

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I think we are more challenged than most teams in regards to attracting top FAs.  Instability behind the bench and underwhelming recent seasons being the primary reasons.  I think there is a perceived lack of direction as well.

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I think the braintrust came to the conclusion of "no" in 2012 and 2013 and hence the tank, the only viable way of getting top-end talent. If so, how much bigger is the "no" after the last six-seven years?

Edited by PASabreFan

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4 minutes ago, PASabreFan said:

I think the braintrust came to the conclusion of "no" in 2012 and 2013 and hence the tank, the only viable way of getting top-end talent. If so, how much bigger is the "no" after the last six-seven years?

Or maybe in the Salary cap era, it is just unlikely top talent ever reaches UFA. The only notable UFA to change teams in years was tavares. 

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2 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

This is the point of this discussion.  Do you think that those variety of factors can still make us a viable place to sign?  

 

Of course.

Star wingers will be attracted to a chance to play with Eichel, defencemen Dahlin. Star centres see a huge opening on the second line just waiting for them.

Middle six forwards feeling stuck behind established stars will see opportunities to play in the top six in Buffalo. Bottom six players and European and college guys in the middle six

The Sabres have lots of money under the cap and aren’t afraid to spend it,

The Pegulas have a reputation of treating the players well and providing lots of resources and nice amenities.

The industry seems to still see Botterill as a good, smart man

Buffalo is central, with a good travel schedule, and close to home for many NHLers.

Property is cheap, it’s a hockey town and it is considered a good place to raise a family.

 

There will be plenty to dismiss it as a cold, dead city with a team that has a lengthy record of futility. But anyone who doesn’t have bright lights, warm weather and winning the cup next year as their top three priorities will definitely consider it. 

Compare the Sabres to the rest of the league in this area under the Pegulas and they stack up well against the majority. If it wasn’t for the “Because Buffalo” inferiority complex and the on-ice failures of the Ehrhoffs, Moulsons and Okposos, this wouldn’t even be a discussion.

Edited by dudacek
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If I were a free agent who feels undervalued, I might prefer Buffalo.  What you would want is the Mike Peca model: someone in an organization that is trying to win now and who is buried behind established players for even 4th line minutes.  He comes to Buffalo, gets to play a bit more, and POOF - he's one of the best 2-way players in the NHL.

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5 hours ago, Skibum said:

No. It's been too hopeless for too long, and the prospect pool is not compelling enough to provide excitement for the future. 

Years and years of poor drafting have put us in a terrible place, and it's going to take a while to dig out of it. They will have to rely on the current roster to develop and show a glimmer of hope before anyone would want to come to Buffalo. 

I hope they can move the needle this year, otherwise we are going to be looking at a trade Eichel, blow it up and start over kind of scenario next year. 

Do you have the "Hotline" number?

1 hour ago, E4 ... Ke2 said:

If I were a free agent who feels undervalued, I might prefer Buffalo.  What you would want is the Mike Peca model: someone in an organization that is trying to win now and who is buried behind established players for even 4th line minutes.  He comes to Buffalo, gets to play a bit more, and POOF - he's one of the best 2-way players in the NHL.

I can see that you are not kidding about your "location" in Bongcloud.

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2 hours ago, dudacek said:

Of course.

Star wingers will be attracted to a chance to play with Eichel, defencemen Dahlin. Star centres see a huge opening on the second line just waiting for them.

Middle six forwards feeling stuck behind established stars will see opportunities to play in the top six in Buffalo. Bottom six players and European and college guys in the middle six

The Sabres have lots of money under the cap and aren’t afraid to spend it,

The Pegulas have a reputation of treating the players well and providing lots of resources and nice amenities.

The industry seems to still see Botterill as a good, smart man

Buffalo is central, with a good travel schedule, and close to home for many NHLers.

Property is cheap, it’s a hockey town and it is considered a good place to raise a family.

 

There will be plenty to dismiss it as a cold, dead city with a team that has a lengthy record of futility. But anyone who doesn’t have bright lights, warm weather and winning the cup next year as their top three priorities will definitely consider it. 

Compare the Sabres to the rest of the league in this area under the Pegulas and they stack up well against the majority. If it wasn’t for the “Because Buffalo” inferiority complex and the on-ice failures of the Ehrhoffs, Moulsons and Okposos, this wouldn’t even be a discussion.

Well, this certainly is a view through 'Buffalo colored glasses'.  An earlier poster mentioned most potential big names don't generally make it to the free agent market. Buffalo right now is a tough sell, it's not a franchise that would be viewed well from an on ice perspective. All warm and fuzzy things aside like living close to home(Toronto is likely also close to home), a lot of players are also from Western Canada as well.  Buffalo needs to be a better option than other offers and that might be pretty hard to accomplish.

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4 hours ago, Weave said:

I think we are more challenged than most teams in regards to attracting top FAs.  Instability behind the bench and underwhelming recent seasons being the primary reasons.  I think there is a perceived lack of direction as well.

Those things factor in, but honestly, I think it comes down to location most often, or, I should say, perception of location, with things like success and stability only factoring in after location and money have had their say. 

The Jets have been one of the best teams in the league lately, and have been willing to pay, and they have definitely NOT been a free agent destination, because nobody want to go to Winnipeg. Or Edmonton. Or usually Buffalo. And they have certainly tried. Stastny comes to mind. 

If the Sabres are a winning organization there will always be guys who'll come, and there will be oddballs - potentially Skinner - like dudacek and nfreeman mentioned, but the Sabres more often are starting from a position of weakness in terms of UFA. 

https://www.prohockeyrumors.com/2017/04/winnipeg-attractive-destination.html

Edited by Thorny

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1 hour ago, klos1963 said:

Well, this certainly is a view through 'Buffalo colored glasses'.  An earlier poster mentioned most potential big names don't generally make it to the free agent market. Buffalo right now is a tough sell, it's not a franchise that would be viewed well from an on ice perspective. All warm and fuzzy things aside like living close to home(Toronto is likely also close to home), a lot of players are also from Western Canada as well.  Buffalo needs to be a better option than other offers and that might be pretty hard to accomplish.

With all due respect to Buffalo, my reading has taught me this is the perspective through Buffalo-coloured glasses.

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27 minutes ago, Thorny said:

Those things factor in, but honestly, I think it comes down to location most often, or, I should say, perception of location, with things like success and stability only factoring in after location and money have had their say. 

The Jets have been one of the best teams in the league lately, and have been willing to pay, and they have definitely NOT been a free agent destination, because nobody want to go to Winnipeg. Or Edmonton. Or usually Buffalo. And they have certainly tried. Stastny comes to mind. 

If the Sabres are a winning organization there will always be guys who'll come, and there will be oddballs - potentially Skinner - like dudacek and nfreeman mentioned, but the Sabres more often are starting from a position of weakness in terms of UFA. 

https://www.prohockeyrumors.com/2017/04/winnipeg-attractive-destination.html

I agree that location and $$ are very important, but I think winning organization is just as important.

When was the last time an elite UFA went to a lousy organization?

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3 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

I agree that location and $$ are very important, but I think winning organization is just as important.

When was the last time an elite UFA went to a lousy organization?

It's low, but how many ELITE FAs went to great organizations? Usually elite players don't go to UFA. 

Okposo was the best FA available in the off-season we signed him. I think it's cause we were willing to pay the most. 

Edited by Thorny

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