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Killing time: how do we fix the worst penalty killing in the NHL?


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We sucked last year at a man short, and one of our best penalty killing forwards is off to the desert.

How can our penalty kill be better this year and who plays on it?

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2 minutes ago, dudacek said:

We sucked last year at a man short, and one of our best penalty killing forwards is off to the desert.

How can our penalty kill be better this year and who plays on it?

Get a goalie that can see.

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2 minutes ago, dudacek said:

We sucked last year at a man short, and one of our best penalty killing forwards is off to the desert.

How can our penalty kill be better this year and who plays on it?

Get a goalie that is at least better than Hutton.

Be waaaay more aggressive.  

Girgensons & Reider/Lazar (whichever 1 actually dresses) is 1st F pair.  Eakin & Hall 2nd pair.  Eichel kills last 20 seconds.  Not sure who to use as a 3rd pair.

Fully expecting Ristolainen - McCabe are still too pair.  Would guess Irwin & Montour/Jokihaju are 2nd pair.  Want Dahlin out towards the end.

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10 hours ago, dudacek said:

We sucked last year at a man short, and one of our best penalty killing forwards is off to the desert.

How can our penalty kill be better this year and who plays on it?

If we were that bad then he was part of the problem wasn't he? I mean he was out there a lot on the PK when it kept getting scored on.  Don't see it as a huge loss.

Edited by matter2003
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Eakin/Rieder/McCabe/Risto

Girgensons/X/Irwin/Y

The X is interesting. Lazar is the obvious choice. Of course there is a really good chance he or Rieder will be in the press box.

The thought of Eichel or Hall there intrigues me. Can Cozens or Thompson use their wheels and reach (respectively) to add something?

The Y is a huge question mark to me, especially since Irwin should be in and out of the lineup and Risto/McCabe isn't a great first pair. Can Montour/Dahlin/Joki evolve into being effective in that role? We really need Dahlin to add that element.

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On 10/13/2020 at 10:59 PM, GASabresIUFAN said:

Sign Tobias Rieder and get better goalies.

Are folks talking about the goaltending on this team?

Hutton needs to be gone and Ullmark needs to be the backup, with a starter brought in much better than either of them.

Without that, the needle isn't going to move a lot on this team next year.  

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15 minutes ago, Kruppstahl said:

Are folks talking about the goaltending on this team?

Hutton needs to be gone and Ullmark needs to be the backup, with a starter brought in much better than either of them.

Without that, the needle isn't going to move a lot on this team next year.  

If they brought in another goalie as good as Ullmark, I think they would be fine.  Who is even available now who would be considered much better than Ullmark.  Kuemper.  Anyone else?

I think it’s going to be mostly a 1a/1b split time type of situation.  Especially with this coming season being a condensed schedule, it’s going to be more important than ever that goalie workloads are managed.

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The goalie is always pointed to by analysts as your best penalty killer.
The goalie improvement may have to come in a trade with someone like Columbus.
It seems like Reider is a PK specialist but he would have to play everyday and not be the 13th forward to get that benefit.

They will have to give up asset(s) but may get a few back.

RK did not seem to like Miller so I can see him moving along with Mitts.

Edited by French Collection
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On 10/15/2020 at 1:12 PM, Mustache of God said:

Really? *****, if we had a mediocre penalty kill we would have made the pre-playoffs. 

Our 479 penalty minutes were the 4th lowest number and our 68 penalties was the 6th lowest.  

Honestly the best way to fix the PK is get better goaltending.  An 838 save % on the PK isn’t good enough.

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13 hours ago, Curt said:

If they brought in another goalie as good as Ullmark, I think they would be fine.  Who is even available now who would be considered much better than Ullmark.  Kuemper.  Anyone else?

I think it’s going to be mostly a 1a/1b split time type of situation.  Especially with this coming season being a condensed schedule, it’s going to be more important than ever that goalie workloads are managed.

Fleury. 

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11 hours ago, nfreeman said:

Fleury. 

Sure.  He isn’t moving though.  Lehner might be out for part of next season.

They publicly declared that Fleury is staying.  I normally wouldn’t think that’s iron clad, but their veterans have already been complaining about the callous way important players have been moved.  I would think that might really push them over the edge. 

They already traded a 1st pair D for a 3rd round pick to move enough salary to keep Fleury instead.

I think Fleury is staying put.

Edited by Curt
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Interesting piece by Vogl in the Athletic today on how much more effective Cody Eakin and Tobias Rieder have been as penalty killers over their careers than the guys they are replacing, Larsson and Vesey.

Also notes that Eric Staal was not used much on the kill recently, but has a history of being a very good killer as well.

The trio also has history of doing something Sabres PKers haven’t: scoring short handed.

https://theathletic.com/2155357/2020/10/24/buffalo-sabres-penalty-kill/

Edited by dudacek
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^I expect the PK to be much improved. Kudos to them for the on-paper work we've seen in that regard, this offseason. Regular strength team defense is now the biggest question mark. We downgraded the defensive chops in the bottom 6, and the defenders themselves and the goalies are status quo thus far.

We seem to have added high-end offense, PP offense, and PK aptitude. I suspect with an adjusted system intending on playing more in the opponent's end, we'll be fine playing a more up-tempo style with the defensive unit we have sans upgrade. Back-end certainly a sticking point currently for the move to that style. 

 

Edited by Thorny
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I'm going to agree with what many have said already...its pretty simple:

-Better goaltending. Doesn't mean you NEED better goaltenders, they just have to play better.

-A key change or two...Rieder is what the team has targeted.

-Luck. Over the course of a season, some PP and PK success is luck. We have seen over the years a team be very good one year...bad the next year..and then good the following year with basically the same players and coaching staff. There is some randomness to it.

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59 minutes ago, Thorny said:

^I expect the PK to be much improved. Kudos to them for the on-paper work we've seen in that regard, this offseason. Regular strength team defense is now the biggest question mark. We downgraded the defensive chops in the bottom 6, and the defenders themselves and the goalies are status quo thus far.

We seem to have added high-end offense, PP offense, and PK aptitude. I suspect with an adjusted system intending on playing more in the opponent's end, we'll be fine playing a more up-tempo style with the defensive unit we have sans upgrade. Back-end certainly a sticking point currently for the move to that style. 

 

If I were a betting man I'd put money on the Sabres not even noticing Larsson's absence.  I think we've vastly overrated him.

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12 minutes ago, Weave said:

If I were a betting man I'd put money on the Sabres not even noticing Larsson's absence.  I think we've vastly overrated him.

Ya, maybe if we alter the style of deployment drastically, and I am counting on that. 

But that to me wouldn't indicate he was overrated, really it would indicate the opposite. Maybe we could plug any old player into his exact role and they put up elite defensive numbers against the game's best players, and doing that is actually really easy, indicating we did indeed overrate him, but for me that's the thing I wouldn't bet on. 

For anyone interested, peep the difference in Ristolainen's numbers with and without Larsson. It's a drastic difference. Caved without him, average with. Much of his value is buried from view because it's used to prop up the defensive shortcomings of some of the players he was on the ice with. Anyone that thinks they saw "good Risto" - that's when he was on the ice with Larry. 

Edited by Thorny
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4 hours ago, Weave said:

If I were a betting man I'd put money on the Sabres not even noticing Larsson's absence.  I think we've vastly overrated him.

Now that they've completely changed how they're going to match up & also brought in at least 1 player that's better than him at the PK, that's probably likely.

However, without the significant upgrades to 33% of the top 6 and finding themselves in the situation where the checking line finally isn't the clear 2nd best & 2nd most used line, he absolutely would've been noticeably missed.

A big part of the reason those of us that found it important to keep Larsson believed that is he was far and away their 2nd most effective C.  Losing Larsson meant the team HAD to bring in 2 C's from outside the organization.   And, since 2015 the best C brought in was Johansson which really didn't reassure that a rookie GM would be able to do that.  Thing is, Adams did manage to obtain 2 C's and added 1 other major piece to the top line.   Which totally changed the landscape.

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