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#freejame

The Official Sabrespace Optimist Thread

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It’s pretty clear that the forum is currently undergoing a period of extreme pessimism, and some posters are even reaching the point of complete indifference towards the team. Well, I for one am full of blind optimism and am tired of all the negativity. 

With that said, this thread is for sheer homerism, a never say die attitude, and an unrelenting belief that the Buffalo Sabres are the future of the NHL. To say that’s always me is a lie, but it’s me some of the time and I’d like to discuss the Sabres through the lens of undeserved optimism with anyone who wishes to join. 

To start what will be a never-stopping waterwheel of goodness, lets all consider how this years playoffs have transpired, particularly the Avalanche and the Canes. In Colorado, the Avs has made the playoffs in two consecutive years after little success the decade prior. In the 2013 draft, they drafted all-world center Nathan MacKinnon who anchors their first line. Colorado is a top heavy team, with much of their production coming from their first line, similarly to Buffalo. The difference is that while neither Colorado and Buffalo had scoring depth, Colorado’s depth was able to contribute more defensively and not burden the top line. Two years ago they were eliminated round one, this year round two. With no roster additions and an effective coaching staff, there is no reason Buffalo is not the Avalanche from two years ago, meaning a playoff berth for the 2019-2020 Sabres. 

On the other hand, Carolina has had effective depth, particularly on their blue line and goal-line. If we are able to find an Irbe-Enroth connection with our goalies and coach, and our goalies return to October/November form, our goalie depth is comparable to Carolina. While I don’t believe our blue line depth can reach theirs over one offseason, our forwards can potentially get much deeper this FA period with many middle six/bottom nine available, as well as some complementary top line players. I will always have more confidence in a defensively sound team with goaltending than an offensively sound team with good goaltending, but the Sabres are in a position this offseason to bring the fans a very exciting brand of hockey if they focus up front. 

All playoffs we’ve seen surprises and shockers, this thread is for all the believers of the Sabres fulfilling those roles next season. 

 

Edit: since this is the blind optimist thread, it’s also a good place to talk about how stupid high I am on Olofsson. It’s been building since he was drafted and I read a few articles about him being the Swedish Stamkos, but it’s reached it’s high this season. I fully expect Olofsson to revert to his offensive style game moreso at the NHL level than AHL. I feel like his development was focused on rounding out his game, and now that he can be trusted to be defensively responsible and pass the puck for solid opportunities, I feel like he’s going to move up and focus on potting pucks. I’ve got him sharpied in for 25g,15a, 40 points. He’s been my favorite prospect for years and it’s time for him to be unleashed with Jack. 

Edited by #freejame
VICTOR OLOFSSON IS THE FUTURE
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Yes!  I'm in.

My personal causes for optimism:

- I think whomever JB hires as coach will probably do a better job than Howie.

- If they get better coaching and better goaltending, those 2 factors by themselves will have a huge impact.

- Eichel isn't yet what we all wanted, and certainly was not worth the stupid tank, but on many nights is a thrilling and borderline-elite player.  It would not be at all surprising if he blossomed into a top-5 forward this year.

- Dahlin had a great rookie year and could become one of the best players in the NHL at any moment.

- Skinner was a great pickup and it's still fairly likely that they re-sign him.

- Reino had a great 1st half before fading in the 2nd half and showed that his great 2nd half from the prior season wasn't a fluke.  It's reasonable to think that he'll show greater consistency as he matures.

- One of the other young Swedes (Pilut, Olofsson, Ullmark and Nylander) is likely to develop into a good contributor this year.

- There's a good possibility that Montour establishes himself as a very good top-3 defenseman, and perhaps Dahlin's partner.

- There will be a decent amount of roster turnover -- JB could bring in someone who proves to be a difference-maker.

Go Sabres.

 

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58 minutes ago, #freejame said:

Edit: since this is the blind optimist thread, it’s also a good place to talk about how stupid high I am on Olofsson.

I'm right there with you.  Even if we re-sign Skinner, Olofsson may end up on Jack's wing for much of the season.

19 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

- If they get better coaching and better goaltending, those 2 factors by themselves will have a huge impact.

See also:  St. Louis Blues.

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20 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

- Reino had a great 1st half before fading in the 2nd half and showed that his great 2nd half from the prior season wasn't a fluke.  It's reasonable to think that he'll show greater consistency as he matures.

Reino is clearly part of the core going forward.  Almost no drama (well, he did call out goaltending once, but I happened to agree with him), he just produces.  Even when not scoring in bunches, he's a solid presence out there.

22 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

- One of the other young Swedes (Pilut, Olofsson, Ullmark and Nylander) is likely to develop into a good contributor this year.

I'll go further:  2 or 3 of those guys will emerge as regular contributors.

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21 minutes ago, SABRES 0311 said:

This thread is perfect for @New Scotland (NS)

I'm sure he'll enjoy reading it once Ramadan is over.

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1 minute ago, Doohickie said:

Reino is clearly part of the core going forward.  Almost no drama (well, he did call out goaltending once, but I happened to agree with him), he just produces.  Even when not scoring in bunches, he's a solid presence out there.

While the calling out the goalies caused some drama, I don’t think it’s a bad thing either. I think Reino felt comfortable voicing his opinion in the room and once it took off past where he intended he took a step back. I’m definitely excited to see him next season and am expecting him to fill either a first line role of 70-75 points or a second line role somewhere in the 60 range. It’s pretty clear he makes everyone around him better, an extended role with Mitts might not be the worst idea, especially when paired with a Sheary type. 

2 minutes ago, Doohickie said:

I'm sure he'll enjoy reading it once Ramadan is over.

With any luck we’ll have pages of positive vibes for him to catch up on. 

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1 minute ago, #freejame said:

an extended role with Mitts might not be the worst idea, especially when paired with a Sheary type. 

Yes, please.  If that's the second line though, look at Olofsson or even Skinner at LW.

Edited by Doohickie

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2 hours ago, #freejame said:

It’s pretty clear that the forum is currently undergoing a period of extreme pessimism, and some posters are even reaching the point of complete indifference towards the team. Well, I for one am full of blind optimism and am tired of all the negativity. 

With that said, this thread is for sheer homerism, a never say die attitude, and an unrelenting belief that the Buffalo Sabres are the future of the NHL. To say that’s always me is a lie, but it’s me some of the time and I’d like to discuss the Sabres through the lens of undeserved optimism with anyone who wishes to join. 

To start what will be a never-stopping waterwheel of goodness, lets all consider how this years playoffs have transpired, particularly the Avalanche and the Canes. In Colorado, the Avs has made the playoffs in two consecutive years after little success the decade prior. In the 2013 draft, they drafted all-world center Nathan MacKinnon who anchors their first line. Colorado is a top heavy team, with much of their production coming from their first line, similarly to Buffalo. The difference is that while neither Colorado and Buffalo had scoring depth, Colorado’s depth was able to contribute more defensively and not burden the top line. Two years ago they were eliminated round one, this year round two. With no roster additions and an effective coaching staff, there is no reason Buffalo is not the Avalanche from two years ago, meaning a playoff berth for the 2019-2020 Sabres. 

On the other hand, Carolina has had effective depth, particularly on their blue line and goal-line. If we are able to find an Irbe-Enroth connection with our goalies and coach, and our goalies return to October/November form, our goalie depth is comparable to Carolina. While I don’t believe our blue line depth can reach theirs over one offseason, our forwards can potentially get much deeper this FA period with many middle six/bottom nine available, as well as some complementary top line players. I will always have more confidence in a defensively sound team with goaltending than an offensively sound team with good goaltending, but the Sabres are in a position this offseason to bring the fans a very exciting brand of hockey if they focus up front. 

All playoffs we’ve seen surprises and shockers, this thread is for all the believers of the Sabres fulfilling those roles next season. 

 

Edit: since this is the blind optimist thread, it’s also a good place to talk about how stupid high I am on Olofsson. It’s been building since he was drafted and I read a few articles about him being the Swedish Stamkos, but it’s reached it’s high this season. I fully expect Olofsson to revert to his offensive style game moreso at the NHL level than AHL. I feel like his development was focused on rounding out his game, and now that he can be trusted to be defensively responsible and pass the puck for solid opportunities, I feel like he’s going to move up and focus on potting pucks. I’ve got him sharpied in for 25g,15a, 40 points. He’s been my favorite prospect for years and it’s time for him to be unleashed with Jack. 

I agree with most everything you said. I too am an Olofsson fan. The optimist in me says that if he is with Jack's line.....expect more than 40pts. I've been an avid fan of Asplund also. I think he could be a difference maker in the bottom six for sure.

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I refuse to submit to the pessimism.  I'm not really an optimist either but I just don't want to be negative. There's enough of it out there.

I am hopeful the Sabres can turn things around.  Mostly hopeful for those who have a hard time remaining positive in times like these.  For those who allow the team to get them down and seemingly ruin their day, week, month, year, etc.

I'm going to Sweden to watch this team next year without knowing anything of what will be done between now and then.  I'm fine with that decision.

 

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Hockey is all about coaching.  Yes, you need some level of talent, and the Sabres have enough talent to be competitive.  It was evident in those games when they "showed up" and played a full 60 minutes - they could play with anyone on those nights.  While I very much wanted to see the Housley experiment work out, it didn't.  If the Sabres can hire the right coach, they will be in the playoff hunt next year.  St. Louis this year, as someone mentioned above, is the perfect example.  They were last overall, made a coaching change, and are now in the conference finals.  For what it's worth, I would like to see the Sabres hire Sheldon Keefe.  Although I have seen it said that Botterill wants to hire a coach with NHL experience and Keefe doesn't have it, he seems like the best of the available guys and a strong enough track record in the "A" the he has a chance to be really successful.  Perhaps that's why the search is taking so long - they are waiting until Keefe's season is done.

Since posting this a few hours ago, I see that Jacques Martin and Dave Tippett are rumored to be the leading candidates.  I would be hugely disappointed if they hired Martin.  He's a has-been and hiring him would be a commitment to mediocrity.  I like Tippett a little more, he's coached in recent years and had some success in Dallas and Arizona.  Tippett's history is getting a lot out of less-talented rosters through hard work, effort, solid defense, etc.  Somewhat of the Ted Nolan model.  I'm not sure that fits this group of players.  The Sabres need someone who can get the most out of their skill guys, not someone to turn them in to grinders.

Edited by msw2112
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Full Moon gotta be tonight... Our ER is crazy

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16 hours ago, #freejame said:

It’s pretty clear that the forum is currently undergoing a period of extreme pessimism, and some posters are even reaching the point of complete indifference towards the team. Well, I for one am full of blind optimism and am tired of all the negativity. 

Tired of the negativity? lol. I tried really hard to be optimistic all year long, but by the end of it there simply wasn't/isn't enough to get optimistic about, and when the playoffs started and I saw and remembered how good hockey can be, then it hit home how bad we were, and I think that is what has made myself and others more pessimistic. 

Not only do we have a long way to go to get to the playoffs, we have an even further wait to be the kind of team that can win in the playoffs.

So signs to warrant optimism aside from Dahlin? The Finnish kid as our goalie? Sure, maybe, but not yet, not for a while. Mits? Outside of one brilliant shoot out goal what flashes of brilliance made you think he will be a star? Not ready. Not even close. I could go on and on but it's the optimism thread so I won't. I'd just say compare what we have to other teams and if you are still optimistic, pass me a little of whatever it is, it must be really really good. 

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18 minutes ago, PerreaultForever said:

Tired of the negativity? lol. I tried really hard to be optimistic all year long, but by the end of it there simply wasn't/isn't enough to get optimistic about, and when the playoffs started and I saw and remembered how good hockey can be, then it hit home how bad we were, and I think that is what has made myself and others more pessimistic. 

Not only do we have a long way to go to get to the playoffs, we have an even further wait to be the kind of team that can win in the playoffs.

So signs to warrant optimism aside from Dahlin? The Finnish kid as our goalie? Sure, maybe, but not yet, not for a while. Mits? Outside of one brilliant shoot out goal what flashes of brilliance made you think he will be a star? Not ready. Not even close. I could go on and on but it's the optimism thread so I won't. I'd just say compare what we have to other teams and if you are still optimistic, pass me a little of whatever it is, it must be really really good. 

Signs to warrant optimism.....

1) Your post.....how could things get worse 🤗😎😍

Edited by MakeSabresGrr8Again

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7 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

@#freejame The Kilwins in Blowing Rock is really good.

Are you an ice cream or fudge person?

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I think we've drafted reasonably well the last 3 years. 

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The summers have a way of making me forget the season prior. Time heals the pain. Looking forward to the draft.

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52 minutes ago, #freejame said:

Are you an ice cream or fudge person?

Both😼

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The great start and the 10 game streak fooled me.  Remember during that period that we thought out defense was good and our goaltending play actually was good.   As much as I like the idea of Phil as coach he clearly was not good and he lost the team.  

I tried to be optimistic during the slide.  Watching those team pass us in the standings was painful but we were playing meaningful hockey late into the season for the first time in a long time. 

It’s up to Bots right now.  Find the right coach.  Sign Skinner. We are no doubt lacking a 2C and we need a few more real top 6 wingers after Reinhart and Skinner, assuming we even sign Skinner.  There are free agent possibilities.  Trading Risto to benefit the forwards has been discussed.  

Bots will be starting his 3rd offseason.  He did a turnover the first offseason and we got worse.  He did another turnover and brought in Hutton, Sheary, Skinner, Montour, Tage and Berglund/ Sobie (ugh).   Olofsson, Nylander, Pilut and Borgen are all possibilities to make the big team. 

Coaching will determine much about next season.  That and goaltending which right now is mediocre.  

Are we set to make a move like NYI and Carolina did?  Montreal and Florida are in the mix of teams that should improve.  So is Detroit for that matter.  

I’m mildly optimistic for next season as always.  

 

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I don't see any reason to come into a optimism thread and foul the punch bowl.

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3 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

I think we've drafted reasonably well the last 3 years. 

Not to mention our “hit” and “miss” rate on draft picks is among the average. It’s not worse than the average no matter what negative nancy’s want to spew.

 

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4 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

I think we've drafted reasonably well the last 3 years. 

Agreed, just that it's hard to keep tabs on all the Euro's as to how they are developing.

3 hours ago, North Buffalo said:

Both😼

Hot fudge sundaes are the best.

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