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GASabresIUFAN

2020 Off-season gameplan

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I’ve stepped away for a few week or so to deal with some work and family situations. Most of those are now resolved and I look up to see my Sabres playing tough, but without finish or goaltending thus dooming the season and probably leading to some significant change again this off-season.

I went back and looked at my off-season requests from last season, including better coaching, better D, a 2nd line center (I asked for JT Miller) and more forward depth, and better goaltending.  
On the coaching we got RK, and a goalie coach.  On defense we got Montour, Miller and Jokiharju and are generally improved.

At forward, Jbot attempted to supplement the offense with VO, Vesey and MoJo.  VO has had a good year, especially before the injury, MoJo and Vesey have been ok at points but really haven’t helped the offense at all.  Now with Jack’s injury the team is basically been an offensive void for the last 6 games. I do like the Kahun trade.

In goal, Ullmark has emerged as a decent No.1, Hutton, who has had two runs of good plays has mostly stunk and needs to be replaced.

So what is the goal this summer? What are the major changes coming?

1) - What is Jbot’s future? With another year on meaningless March hockey, despite my reservations, odds of Jbot being let go are probably up to 75%.  The question then is who replaces him and does the new guys erase the blackboard and start again?  I’m not sure that is an advisable strategy but who knows. Also who are you going to get to take the job given the longevity of Sabres GM’s in recent years.  The good news is cap space, a young core of Dahlin, Eichel, Risto, VO, Jokiharju and Skinner with Cozens waiting in the wings.  Is this enough to entice a good GM if Jbot is let go?  

2) What happens to RK and his staff, especially if Jbot is fired?

3) Roster needs and allocating the cap space. The GM needs to make some huge roster decisions with 5 UFAs and 10 RFAs, only 4 forwards under contract.  In addition he has to decide what if anything to do wit the 3 guys with one year left like Hutton, MoJo and McCabe. Ullmark, Kahun, VO, Sam, and Montour are the most critical and expensive.

Forwards - Top needs; 2 centers.  A real 2C is a must regardless of cost.  If we have to trade Mitts, a D and a 1st to get the guy so be it.  I still think Cozens earns the 3C role. I think we have enough wingers to make his work and they will perform better with C’s who can actually get them opportunities.

Defense - Not much to do here, except replace a player if we lose one to get a 2C and re-signing Montour.  How much and how long?  5 for 22.5? Depending on if we trade someone away, I’d like to see that player replaced with one more stay at home type guy.

Goaltending - When Ullmark played this is a playoff team, when Hutton plays it isn’t.  Simple.  Hutton needs to go.  Johansson isn’t the solution.  We need to find a guy who can step in and give us at least Ullmark quality goaltending for 30-40 games. Who that is, I have no idea, but there will be ample FA goalies this off-season.  

The draft:  If we continue to stink for the rest of the year, the odds of getting another top talent increase.  We have sunk to 6th worst in the league behind NJ.  Awful. We stay here, Jbot goes, RK goes, and the new GM probably grabs another talented center like Byfield, Perfetti or Rossi. If we get Edm Oiler lucky, could we get Lafreniere?   My guess is we play better over the remaining schedule with Ullmark back and end up drafting 8-10.  

So what happens this summer? Not so bold predictions
1. TP opts for stability and keeps Jbot here for at least one more season despite load protests from Sabrespace, journalists and fans.

2.  Jbot trades Mitts, a lottery protected 1st in 2021 to Anaheim for Adam Henrique. Sabrespace goes nuts saying he sucks and Jbot paid to much, but at least he is a real center with term allowing Cozens to develop for a season or two at 3C

3.  Jbot drafts Rossi with our 9th overall pick, who makes a run at making the Sabres in camp.  Gets a 9 game tryout.

4. Jbot waives Hutton and signs Cam Talbot

5.  He re-signs, VO, and Kahun to identical 3 year $10 mil deals. Ullmark gets 3 for 12 and Montour 5 for 22.5.  Sam get 7 years for 52 mill.  He also re-signs Girgensons and Lazar but loses Larsson to free agency.  Also gives Simmonds a 1 year 2 mill deal to add toughness and leadership. Simmonds and Thompson battle for the 3RW role in camp.

This maybe less change then some people want, but in reality, this is surgical change and a huge change down the middle.  

Skinner Jack Sam

VO Henrique Kahun

Mojo Cozens Simmonds/Thompson

Girgensons Lazar KO

Jokiharju Dahlin

Montour Risto

Miller McCabe

Ullmark Talbot 

 

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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Good points but TP needs to sell the team for true positive change to happen. That,  or luck out with the right hire like McDermott. 

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You are absolutely dreaming if you think Marco Rossi is sliding to 9th overall. 

Also there is no reason to send Rossi back to junior. At his age, I don't think he gets much out of that. Sadly he probably isn't NHL ready. Maybe a year in Europe would be best for him. 

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None of it's gonna matter if we don't fire Botterill. In fact, it will be worse than not mattering, it will set us back even longer

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Mittetstadt and a 1st for Adam Henrique? Bleh. We gotta be able to do better than that. I really don't want to trade Mittelstadt right now.


Also, Anaheim is pretty stacked with young centers like Zegras, Steel, Terry, Lundestrom, Morand and Groulx...they would probably want a young defenseman.


(This isn't a roster reconstruction, this is an organization reconstruction...we have 27 total free agents, not just 15...which makes this even more important.)

Edited by OhMyDahlin
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I think we could get Henrique for less, and I would shoot for better, and come back to trying to get him if that didn't work.

I'd also move a RHD to try and upgrade your 3RW and make it a strength of the line. 

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5 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

I think we could get Henrique for less, and I would shoot for better, and come back to trying to get him if that didn't work.

I'd also move a RHD to try and upgrade your 3RW and make it a strength of the line. 

The obvious trade partner for a RHD for RW or C is now Philly. Between their prospect pool and roster they have the depth and need. 

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7 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

The obvious trade partner for a RHD for RW or C is now Philly. Between their prospect pool and roster they have the depth and need. 

A team I haven't really thought about in this light. Something to watch for maybe 

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39 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

You are absolutely dreaming if you think Marco Rossi is sliding to 9th overall. 

Also there is no reason to send Rossi back to junior. At his age, I don't think he gets much out of that. Sadly he probably isn't NHL ready. Maybe a year in Europe would be best for him. 

Why?  I have him and Perfetti and 6th and 7th on my draft board.  Year after year smaller players slip.  For example Caufield fell from 11th on my board (with rankings as high as 4th) to 15th in the draft. How far did Alex Debrincat slip his draft year? Last year many “top” players slipped.  Podkolzin also fell last year from a consensus 5th to 10th.  Krebs dipped from 10th to 17th.  This happens every year.  Is it really so unlikely that two undersized center slip a slot or 2?

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34 minutes ago, Randall Flagg said:

I think we could get Henrique for less, and I would shoot for better, and come back to trying to get him if that didn't work.

I'd also move a RHD to try and upgrade your 3RW and make it a strength of the line. 

It’s entirely possible, but there doesn’t seem to be a huge number of available legit 2C’s.  

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It just seems like they have entered their death spiral, that they will almost certainly win 6 or fewer of their remaining 14 games, which means they will finish with 78 pts or less, and that JB and RK are both going to get canned. 

IMHO, canning them will be the right decision (although I suppose I wouldn't mind if the new GM wants to keep RK).

I think they'll be able to attract a good new GM.  The nucleus is good as the OP notes and I don't think TP can be faulted for making a change given the results delivered by JB.  And TP's money spends as well as anyone else's, and there is plenty of it.

I don't agree that Ullmark is good enough.  I think whoever is the GM needs to make finding a #1 goalie a high priority.

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10 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Why?  I have him and Perfetti and 6th and 7th on my draft board.  Year after year smaller players slip.  For example Caufield fell from 11th on my board (with rankings as high as 4th) to 15th in the draft. How far did Alex Debrincat slip his draft year? Last year many “top” players slipped.  Podkolzin also fell last year from a consensus 5th to 10th.  Krebs dipped from 10th to 17th.  This happens every year.  Is it really so unlikely that two undersized center slip a slot or 2?

Caufield and Debrincat are outliers for height. 5'7" is a lot different then 5'9" and built like a brick shithouse. Podkolzin is russian. Krebs had a major injury just before the draft. Also you are dropping him from 6th to 9th. That is a big drop at the top of a draft. We aren't talking a guy going from 25 to 30th. Rossi is probably going top 6. If anyone slips, I think my money is on other players. 

Edited by LGR4GM

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I will add that I currently think Rossi goes top 5. Granted that can change as the seasons wrap up but it is a hard sell in a draft short on centers for him to slide out of that top 5. Detroit, LA, and Ottawa could all use Rossi and at least 2 of these teams are guaranteed a top 5 pick. 

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1 hour ago, LGR4GM said:

Caufield and Debrincat are outliers for height. 5'7" is a lot different then 5'9" and built like a brick shithouse. Podkolzin is russian. Krebs had a major injury just before the draft. 

There is always an excuse for the guy falling, but it happens every year.  Sometimes also there are guys who fall because someone falls in love with someone lower rated like Detroit did with Seider at 6th (consensus had him at 17th).  One or two of those and Rossi or Perfetti fall into our laps.

Edited by GASabresIUFAN

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15 minutes ago, thewookie1 said:

Hypothetically if Florida called you up and offered Ekblad for Risto and Mitts would you do it?

I'd add quite a bit. Ekblad has taken a monster step forward in the last year and a half or more

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2 hours ago, darksabre said:

My game plan is to log off

Hopefully a new regime will mean I won’t have to join you.

I can’t take another summer of watching poor @Thorny slowly steam himself into an empty pot waiting for a 2C as Jason turns free agent dollars into Wayne Simmonds, Josh Lievo and Luke Schenn in a bid to get heavier, then flips a mid-round pick for Kyle Turris, while he talks about the great progress made by Casey Mittelstadt in Rochester’s first-round loss to the Marlies.

Edited by dudacek
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58 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

I think whoever is the GM needs to make finding a #1 goalie a high priority.

To me it is the highest priority.  More important than center.  

1 minute ago, dudacek said:

Hopefully a new regime will mean I won’t have to join you.

I can’t take another summer of watching poor @Thorny slowly steam himself into an empty pot waiting for a 2C as Jason turns free agent dollars into Wayne Simmonds, Josh Lievo and Luke Schenn in a bid to get heavier, then flips a mid-round pick for Kyle Turris, while he talks about the great progress made by Casey Mittelstadt in Rochester’s first-round loss to the Marlies.

This entire thing is just so likely if Botterill remains here.

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1 minute ago, Eleven said:

 

This entire thing is just so likely if Botterill remains here.

And I didn’t even mention @LGR4GM detonating the Internet after we use the 5th overall pick on a puck-moving defenceman.

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2 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

You are absolutely dreaming if you think Marco Rossi is sliding to 9th overall. 

Also there is no reason to send Rossi back to junior. At his age, I don't think he gets much out of that. Sadly he probably isn't NHL ready. Maybe a year in Europe would be best for him. 

 

I agree on all counts.  can see Rossi going as high as 4 depending on team and fit and need

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31 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Hopefully a new regime will mean I won’t have to join you.

I can’t take another summer of watching poor @Thorny slowly steam himself into an empty pot waiting for a 2C as Jason turns free agent dollars into Wayne Simmonds, Josh Lievo and Luke Schenn in a bid to get heavier, then flips a mid-round pick for Kyle Turris, while he talks about the great progress made by Casey Mittelstadt in Rochester’s first-round loss to the Marlies.

Boy does that fill me with despair.

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2 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

The obvious trade partner for a RHD for RW or C is now Philly. Between their prospect pool and roster they have the depth and need. 

Ron Hextall(If Gilles says no)  should be in consideration for Sabres GM. That type has his fingerprints all over it. 

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Ullie has been taught well, but he is not a starter yet. I need to see continued growth through the end of this season. Like Hart last game, Ullmark has to be the best PK-er on the ice for the Sabres through the end of the season. He's a .914 for the year, which is on the cusp of getting above average.

Then, we get the #2 lottery pick and take Byfield, and I have drinks outside a cantina on the beach, some place warm but not too warm.

Then, we watch JBot play moneyball and continue to fill the F ranks with unexceptional guys and trade for a 3C and sign for too long of term, instead of a 2C on a shorter term.

Barring all that, I'd say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

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24 minutes ago, Brawndo said:

Ron Hextall(If Gilles says no)  should be in consideration for Sabres GM. That type has his fingerprints all over it. 

Hextall built Philly from the ground up in the way Botterill promised to rebuild Buffalo. He did not do well with coaches.

He’s on my shortlist.

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