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LGR4GM

Defense is good, Scoring is atrocious, Goalies questionable (Advanced Stats Warning)

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The Sabres are decent at goal prevention but the goalies sv% are mediocre at best which has helped us stay out of the playoffs this year. My takeaway is that our defense might actually be fixed for the most part but it isn't enough to drag up other parts of our game.

Edited by LGR4GM
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Buffalo is perfectly average except when it comes to goaltending and scoring. Yes those are big items but it should make us feel slightly better to know this team isn't the dumpster fire it currently appears. We actually have far less to fix. 

 

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I think this is generally true.  No matter how good the D is, teams need goalies to occasionally make big saves to keep them in games.  We get that a decent amount from Ullmark and lately never from Hutton.

Jbot’s priorities need to be

1) 2C this season who can win a draw with contract time left for next year or two as Mitts and Cozens develop. Yes I believe Mitts develops but into a 2/3 RW

2) Goaltender - we need someone to partner up with Ullmark.

3) Forward depth including another C who can win a draw.

Our streaks this year and last came when the goalies were playing lights out.  With our lack of scoring and a fall off in goaltending, the team fell with them.

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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You put too much emphasis on winning draws and not enough on scoring. I want a C that can skate pass and score. I will take one with a 45% faceoff percentage. 

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5 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

That chart tells me we are 11th in save percentage, which isn't mediocre.

I should add that we do not create enough chances which is in another chart. Maybe that would be a better thread title in this case.

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Ullmark is 14-12-3.  This is 1.07 pts per game or an 88 pt pace for the season.  This means with the average goaltending of Ullmark we are a slightly above average team.

Replace Hutton with an average goaltender I think we’d feel better about things.  Still need a 2C or a quality 3C who can win a dang draw.

5 on 5 I’m not as concerned about winning draws, but PP and PK getting puck possession ASAP is critical and I think our terrible FO% is one of the key factors in our bad special teams.

 

Edited by GASabresIUFAN

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3 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Ullmark is 14-12-3.  This is 1.07 pts per game or an 88 pt pace for the season.  This means with the average goaltending of Ullmark we are a slightly above average team.

Replace Hutton with an average goaltender I think we’d feel better about things.  Still need a 2C or a quality 3C who can win a dang draw.

 

Score. You need a 2c who can score. 

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xGF is saying the same thing about us it has said for years, that we don't meet the level of even average teams when it comes to scoring chance generation over long periods of time. It was plainly obvious in film last year (and the year before and the year before and so on) so I'm sure in a film review (which I will most certainly not be doing because I'm goddamn tired of Sabres hockey) you'd be able to figure out what the problem is. 

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5 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

xGF is saying the same thing about us it has said for years, that we don't meet the level of even average teams when it comes to scoring chance generation over long periods of time. It was plainly obvious in film last year (and the year before and the year before and so on) so I'm sure in a film review (which I will most certainly not be doing because I'm goddamn tired of Sabres hockey) you'd be able to figure out what the problem is. 

Agreed and I am changing the title. 

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Doesn't Hutton's early season success statistically skew his averages? He has been a disaster after a really good start. Had he continued on as he started the season we would be in a playoff position now, imo 

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3 minutes ago, bob_sauve28 said:

Doesn't Hutton's early season success statistically skew his averages? He has been a disaster after a really good start. Had he continued on as he started the season we would be in a playoff position now, imo 

Also something to think about! 

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8 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Ullmark is 14-12-3.  This is 1.07 pts per game or an 88 pt pace for the season.  This means with the average goaltending of Ullmark we are a slightly above average team.

Replace Hutton with an average goaltender I think we’d feel better about things.  Still need a 2C or a quality 3C who can win a dang draw.

5 on 5 I’m not as concerned about winning draws, but PP and PK getting puck possession ASAP is critical and I think our terrible FO% is one of the key factors in our bad special teams.

 

If you are saying that 1 point per game is "average," I don't think that is correct. 

Last year, 17 teams had 90 or more pts and the remaining 15 had 86 or fewer. 

The prior year, 19 teams had 92 pts or more and the remaining 13 had 84 or fewer.

Now, I'm not going to bother calculating "average" point totals, but the median (which is more relevant here IMHO) is well above 88 (last year -- 93; prior year -- 95).

(This is a somewhat interesting facet of the DeLuca .500 issue discussion IMHO.)

Bottom line:  even with Ullmark, the Sabres are below the median.

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5 minutes ago, bob_sauve28 said:

Doesn't Hutton's early season success statistically skew his averages? He has been a disaster after a really good start. Had he continued on as he started the season we would be in a playoff position now, imo 

Yes indeed. 

The Blues cut Chad Johnson after 7 starts with 10 games played yielded .884 save percentage and 6 losing decisions. 

Hutton has SEVENTEEN starts and is sitting with .892, which IMO warrants cutting like Chad got (remember, that is what brought up Binnington and started their turnaround, as Allen got much better in a backup role as well). Doubly so when you consider the fact that in his last TWELVE starts, almost double what Chad was allowed, he has allowed 50 goals (4.17 per game) and has won only one of them, posting a .868 save percentage. 

His last 8 starts show no wins and 4.75 goals allowed per start, at .854 save percentage. 

Hutton should have been cut a month ago. 

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By retaining Hutton the Sabres have chosen to throw 15% of their season in the trash. 

Edited by Randall Flagg
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1 minute ago, Randall Flagg said:

By retaining Hutton the Sabres have actively chosen to throw 15% of their season in the trash. 

Goalie tank 

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26 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

Yes indeed. 

The Blues cut Chad Johnson after 7 starts with 10 games played yielded .884 save percentage and 6 losing decisions. 

Hutton has SEVENTEEN starts and is sitting with .892, which IMO warrants cutting like Chad got (remember, that is what brought up Binnington and started their turnaround, as Allen got much better in a backup role as well). Doubly so when you consider the fact that in his last TWELVE starts, almost double what Chad was allowed, he has allowed 50 goals (4.17 per game) and has won only one of them, posting a .868 save percentage. 

His last 8 starts show no wins and 4.75 goals allowed per start, at .854 save percentage. 

Hutton should have been cut a month ago. 

 

23 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

By retaining Hutton the Sabres have actively chosen to throw 15% of their season in the trash. 

There is no question that Hutton is done and needs to be waived.  Johansson should be given a shot to see if he is ready and if not, we need to go get a goalie.

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The D is fine.  Their top 6, and IMHO their top 7, are all 3-5's.  And when Dahlin grows into a top pairing guy, Montour will look like a 2 next to him.

The big issues are the 2 that were there over the summer.  They NEED a true 2C and the goaltending needs to be better.

Botterill did actually try to address those issues though both only 1/2 heartedly.  He brought in Johansson to play on the 2nd line (though seemingly as a W and not the C) and he brought in one of the best goaltending coaches in the league.  And both moves when supplemented by the other moves to improve F depth and D depth did work for a bit.  But half measures can only take you so far.

Hutton should be in the A and Johansson should get a shot at the backup role.  Ullmark is only Biron, but if he could be on a 45-50 game pace is good enough, especially if Johansson could even be Noronnen.  And the gamble that Hutton could get back to his St. Louis self wasn't THAT outrageous with good coaching, because for 9 games he was.  (They can't hire that sports psychologist soon enough and it may already be too late for Hutton to ever get his game back.)

Finding a guy to take the #1 job until Luukkonnen is ready for his opportunity to own or fail the #1 role should be a paramount priority this off-season.  Those guys free up every year; the Sabres need to sign 1.

And, THIS season, finding a true 2C, even an older one like Bonigno, needs to happen.  (Don't want Henrique as he creates huge cap problems in 2 years when he falls off the map.). Mittelstadt or Cozens will work in that role eventually.  They just need to fill the slot until then but they need to PLAN on that being 3 years from now; not this February.

This roster really is that friggin' close to being a playoff contender. 

Edited by Taro T
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@Taro T

I agree with your comments except I think Henriques contract won’t be a problem.  I think he’d slide very nicely into the 3C role in year 3 & 4 of his deal and hopefully give us 3 good scoring lines.  

Outside Cozens we really don’t have enough centers despite Mitts and Asplund having a C after their names.

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1 minute ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

@Taro T

I agree with your comments except I think Henriques contract won’t be a problem.  I think he’d slide very nicely into the 3C role in year 3 & 4 of his deal and hopefully give us 3 good scoring lines.  

Outside Cozens we really don’t have enough centers despite Mitts and Asplund having a C after their names.

You've been high on Henrique for a while now and if he had a 2 year deal would be right there with you.  But after so many bad contracts for guys in their late 20's really gun shy to take one on for a guy already in his 30's.  He might still be useful in 3 years, but Sabre management track record on these guys isn't reassuring.

Mittelstadt needs to figure out how to play against guys that are at an NHL skill level.  Should he do that, he'll become that 2C we've hoped he'd become.  If he doesn't figure that out, he'll continue to force the puck where it can't go and be a 3LW for about 3 seasons and then disappear.  And that's why IMHO playing him in the NHL last year wasn't a bad thing but playing him as a 2C was borderline criminal as he was completely set up to fail.  The quality of opponent he faced was way too good for him.  He should've gotten limited minutes (which to an extent he got) against 3rd pairing D and 3rd/4th lines (which he didn't get nearly often enough) and now not only hasn't he figured out how to play at this level yet, it took 2 weeks in Ra-cha-cha just to get back close to where he was last October.

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10 minutes ago, Taro T said:

You've been high on Henrique for a while now and if he had a 2 year deal would be right there with you.  But after so many bad contracts for guys in their late 20's really gun shy to take one on for a guy already in his 30's.  He might still be useful in 3 years, but Sabre management track record on these guys isn't reassuring.

Mittelstadt needs to figure out how to play against guys that are at an NHL skill level.  Should he do that, he'll become that 2C we've hoped he'd become.  If he doesn't figure that out, he'll continue to force the puck where it can't go and be a 3LW for about 3 seasons and then disappear.  And that's why IMHO playing him in the NHL last year wasn't a bad thing but playing him as a 2C was borderline criminal as he was completely set up to fail.  The quality of opponent he faced was way too good for him.  He should've gotten limited minutes (which to an extent he got) against 3rd pairing D and 3rd/4th lines (which he didn't get nearly often enough) and now not only hasn't he figured out how to play at this level yet, it took 2 weeks in Ra-cha-cha just to get back close to where he was last October.

Cozens will be 2C, though agree Sabres could use a stop gap.  I see Mitts as a 2w.  Sabres need to keep drafting scoring Cs till they hit and let the rest play wing. The on ice awareness of guys used to playing C is valuable.  Still are there any scorers out there needing a change in scenery say Arvidson? Or is he another Sheary?

Edited by North Buffalo

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8 minutes ago, North Buffalo said:

Cozens will be 2C, though agree Sabres could use a stop gap.  I see Mitts as a 2w.  Sabres need to keep drafting scoring Cs till they hit and let the rest play wing. The on ice awareness of guys used to playing C is valuable.  Still are there any scorers out there needing a change in scenery say Arvidson? Or is he another Sheary?

There's upwards of 15 centers that might grade out in the top 31 of this years draft. 

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i watch the minnesota wild play a lot. they are probably my favorite team along with the sabres. it is a completely different style of play when watching the wild vs watching the sabres. 

the wild are so defensive minded, they are constantly clearing people out in front of the goaltender, they fore check like crazy making it difficult for the opposing team to get into the zone cleanly. However, devan dubnyk is having a horrendous year with a save percentage at probably less than 90%. (in fact when he was out for his sick wife, the wild did much better)

when i watch the sabres, they rarely seem to clear the people in front, and i dont see a ton of forechecking, at least compared to the wild. 

again, watching these two teams play, i dont really see the sabres as having good defense. the wild dont score like the sabres, but the sabres dont defend like the wild. 

 

i mentioned it once before, the sabres play like a high scoring team, i just dont think they score enough to account for the terrible hutton and other mistakes made

Edited by miles

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34 minutes ago, Taro T said:

You've been high on Henrique for a while now and if he had a 2 year deal would be right there with you.  But after so many bad contracts for guys in their late 20's really gun shy to take one on for a guy already in his 30's.  He might still be useful in 3 years, but Sabre management track record on these guys isn't reassuring.

Mittelstadt needs to figure out how to play against guys that are at an NHL skill level.  Should he do that, he'll become that 2C we've hoped he'd become.  If he doesn't figure that out, he'll continue to force the puck where it can't go and be a 3LW for about 3 seasons and then disappear.  And that's why IMHO playing him in the NHL last year wasn't a bad thing but playing him as a 2C was borderline criminal as he was completely set up to fail.  The quality of opponent he faced was way too good for him.  He should've gotten limited minutes (which to an extent he got) against 3rd pairing D and 3rd/4th lines (which he didn't get nearly often enough) and now not only hasn't he figured out how to play at this level yet, it took 2 weeks in Ra-cha-cha just to get back close to where he was last October.

Henrique is 29

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16 minutes ago, miles said:

i watch the minnesota wild play a lot. they are probably my favorite team along with the sabres. it is a completely different style of play when watching the wild vs watching the sabres. 

the wild are so defensive minded, they are constantly clearing people out in front of the goaltender, they fore check like crazy making it difficult for the opposing team to get into the zone cleanly. However, devan dubnyk is having a horrendous year with a save percentage at probably less than 90%. (in fact when he was out for his sick wife, the wild did much better)

when i watch the sabres, they rarely seem to clear the people in front, and i dont see a ton of forechecking, at least compared to the wild. 

again, watching these two teams play, i dont really see the sabres as having good defense. the wild dont score like the sabres, but the sabres dont defend like the wild. 

 

i mentioned it once before, the sabres play like a high scoring team, i just dont think they score enough to account for the terrible hutton and other mistakes made

Yet both teams have basically the same record. I do wish the Sabres played with more defensive urgency.

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