Jump to content

2021 Forwards


Recommended Posts

The Mittelstadt and Routsalainen threads got me to thinking about who has guaranteed a job with the Sabres in Jan and who has to fight for a roster spot.

Eichel, KO, Hall, Staal, Skinner Eakin, Reinhart, VO and Girgensons all will be in the lineup opening night assuming they are healthy.  

That leaves 4 slots and a boat load of guys fighting for them.

Guys likely to take some of the 3 of the 4 slots.

1) Lazar  - 2 year 800K one way deal was earned last year and the loss of Larsson makes him the 4th line center at least in pencil.  Still could lose job if others step up there by demoting Eakin to the 4th line center job.

2) Thompson - 3 year one way deal likely means he is making the Sabres, but that could also mean as the 13th forward

3) Rieder - Vet on a one year 700K deal and was brought in to kill penalties and see if he can find his scoring touch again.  Only 27.  Still 700K player can easily be waived and sent down if his game isn't up to snuff.

The Prospects

1) Cozens - Center playing for team Canada which should give him a nice step up on the competition for a job in Buffalo.  

2) Routsalainen - C/W burning up the Liiga so far.  He'll come to camp in game shape.  Should be interesting to see if he can force his way into the lineup

3) Mittelstadt - C/W Unsigned RFA.  KA likely wants him to start in Roch (if the AHL plays), but a more mature Casey could force the issue with a good camp.  I think he will

4) Quinn - 1st rd pick in Team Canada camp.  If he makes the team, that could help propel him into a lineup desperate for scoring.  

5) Asplund - Former 2nd rd pick got 29 games in the NHL last year.  Just 22.  Could he also potentially steal a 4th line job with a good camp?

 

Bold predictions 

1) NHL goes with a taxi squad to start the year, giving teams 3 extra roster spots that don't count against the cap

2) Rieder and Lazar get outplayed in camp by Cozens, Mitts, Thompson and Routsalainen.  However, Routsalainen doesn't make the team but instead stays in the extended camp.

3) 

 

Lines

Hall Eichel Reinhart

Skinner Staal Cozens

Mitts Eakin Olofsson

Girgensons Lazar KO

Thompson

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Lines

Hall Eichel Reinhart

Skinner Staal Cozens

Mitts Eakin Olofsson

Girgensons Lazar KO

Thompson

I think to some extent Kreuger will run an open competition for the bottom 6 (top 2 lines are likely just a question of whether it starts as Olofsson or Cozens) but I also think Kreuger is going to favour some defensive responsibility and most of all PK with the bottom 6. So the question for me is who are those PK guys going to be??? In this regard I think Asplund has a shot to make the team and Rieder and/or Lazar might be in the starting line up. 

but who knows, for the first time in a while we might have a few extra bodies and there's nothing wrong with that. 

  • Like (+1) 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t think Mitts has any chance of making Sabres initially. The issue is if there is no AHL season where does he play? I’m not sure what options there are but sitting in the press box for the Sabres is not good for his development. 

  • Like (+1) 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

The Mittelstadt and Routsalainen threads got me to thinking about who has guaranteed a job with the Sabres in Jan and who has to fight for a roster spot.

Eichel, KO, Hall, Staal, Skinner Eakin, Reinhart, VO and Girgensons all will be in the lineup opening night assuming they are healthy.  

That leaves 4 slots and a boat load of guys fighting for them.

Guys likely to take some of the 3 of the 4 slots.

1) Lazar  - 2 year 800K one way deal was earned last year and the loss of Larsson makes him the 4th line center at least in pencil.  Still could lose job if others step up there by demoting Eakin to the 4th line center job.

2) Thompson - 3 year one way deal likely means he is making the Sabres, but that could also mean as the 13th forward

3) Rieder - Vet on a one year 700K deal and was brought in to kill penalties and see if he can find his scoring touch again.  Only 27.  Still 700K player can easily be waived and sent down if his game isn't up to snuff.

The Prospects

1) Cozens - Center playing for team Canada which should give him a nice step up on the competition for a job in Buffalo.  

2) Routsalainen - C/W burning up the Liiga so far.  He'll come to camp in game shape.  Should be interesting to see if he can force his way into the lineup

3) Mittelstadt - C/W Unsigned RFA.  KA likely wants him to start in Roch (if the AHL plays), but a more mature Casey could force the issue with a good camp.  I think he will

4) Quinn - 1st rd pick in Team Canada camp.  If he makes the team, that could help propel him into a lineup desperate for scoring.  

5) Asplund - Former 2nd rd pick got 29 games in the NHL last year.  Just 22.  Could he also potentially steal a 4th line job with a good camp?

 

Bold predictions 

1) NHL goes with a taxi squad to start the year, giving teams 3 extra roster spots that don't count against the cap

2) Rieder and Lazar get outplayed in camp by Cozens, Mitts, Thompson and Routsalainen.  However, Routsalainen doesn't make the team but instead stays in the extended camp.

3) 

 

Lines

Hall Eichel Reinhart

Skinner Staal Cozens

Mitts Eakin Olofsson

Girgensons Lazar KO

Thompson

I’m sure it’s not important but Kyle Okposo is the second forward you think of when listing the Sabres forwards? I usually forget about him completely. 

56 minutes ago, freester said:

I don’t think Mitts has any chance of making Sabres initially. The issue is if there is no AHL season where does he play? I’m not sure what options there are but sitting in the press box for the Sabres is not good for his development. 

This dude has done zero to make anyone think he’s an NHL player at this point in his career.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not seeing an AHL season, at least to open.

I am seeing a large taxi squad consisting of the majority of the AHL team available for when COVID takes out four or five regulars at a time.

I think GA is correct on the eight guys on the team and the eight guys on the bubble, I just think Rochester will only exist on paper.

The NHL and the union will have to tweak the rules accordingly, but in practical terms, those five prospect bubble guys will all be in Buffalo and practicing and playing NHL games as needed.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I'm not seeing an AHL season, at least to open.

I am seeing a large taxi squad consisting of the majority of the AHL team available for when COVID takes out four or five regulars at a time.

I think GA is correct on the eight guys on the team and the eight guys on the bubble, I just think Rochester will only exist on paper.

The NHL and the union will have to tweak the rules accordingly, but in practical terms, those five prospect bubble guys will all be in Buffalo and practicing and playing NHL games as needed.

 

Mitts would be better off playing in Europe.  This is a critical development year. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of thoughts.  The Euro teams have their own players and may take a couple from the NHL/AHL but they play shorter seasons and are already under way.  Hard to just send Mitts to Euro.  He'd have to quarantine etc... 

I they are going to have a taxi squad, might as well have the AHL play out of the parent club's home arena.  Sell TV rights to those games as well as and play them when the home team is away since I doubt they'll be to many scheduling issues outside of NBA cities or do double headers with the AHL team being a warm up act for the NHL game.  Amerks/Sabres vs Phantoms/Flyers would be a blast to watch.  This way the parent club can easily monitor the AHL team and insure prospect development and proper protocols.  

As to Mitts, he is probably the most controversial player on the list.  Is he better, is he physically and mentally ready, where can he play etc..?  However, I think he is probably ready to answer most of these questions and earn a roster spot.  We all seem so eager to slot a 1st year pro (Cozens) on to the roster based on RK's and others comments.  However he just that, a 1st year pro,  we have zero idea whether or not he is ready as he has never played at this level. 

On the other hand Mitts has 100+ games under his belt and despite his lost confidence last season, much of his time on the NHL was adequate to good.  If Mitts has matured as I think he has, that experience gives him an advantage. 

 

  • Like (+1) 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

The Mittelstadt and Routsalainen threads got me to thinking about who has guaranteed a job with the Sabres in Jan and who has to fight for a roster spot.

Eichel, KO, Hall, Staal, Skinner Eakin, Reinhart, VO and Girgensons all will be in the lineup opening night assuming they are healthy.  

That leaves 4 slots and a boat load of guys fighting for them.

Guys likely to take some of the 3 of the 4 slots.

1) Lazar  - 2 year 800K one way deal was earned last year and the loss of Larsson makes him the 4th line center at least in pencil.  Still could lose job if others step up there by demoting Eakin to the 4th line center job.

2) Thompson - 3 year one way deal likely means he is making the Sabres, but that could also mean as the 13th forward

3) Rieder - Vet on a one year 700K deal and was brought in to kill penalties and see if he can find his scoring touch again.  Only 27.  Still 700K player can easily be waived and sent down if his game isn't up to snuff.

The Prospects

1) Cozens - Center playing for team Canada which should give him a nice step up on the competition for a job in Buffalo.  

2) Routsalainen - C/W burning up the Liiga so far.  He'll come to camp in game shape.  Should be interesting to see if he can force his way into the lineup

3) Mittelstadt - C/W Unsigned RFA.  KA likely wants him to start in Roch (if the AHL plays), but a more mature Casey could force the issue with a good camp.  I think he will

4) Quinn - 1st rd pick in Team Canada camp.  If he makes the team, that could help propel him into a lineup desperate for scoring.  

5) Asplund - Former 2nd rd pick got 29 games in the NHL last year.  Just 22.  Could he also potentially steal a 4th line job with a good camp?

 

Bold predictions 

1) NHL goes with a taxi squad to start the year, giving teams 3 extra roster spots that don't count against the cap

2) Rieder and Lazar get outplayed in camp by Cozens, Mitts, Thompson and Routsalainen.  However, Routsalainen doesn't make the team but instead stays in the extended camp.

3) 

 

Lines

Hall Eichel Reinhart

Skinner Staal Cozens

Mitts Eakin Olofsson

Girgensons Lazar KO

Thompson

Your proposed line compositions make sense but I lean toward a few changes from what you listed. What I project is that Reinhart and Olofsson will be vying for a wing position on the first and second line. One of the two will be on the first line and the other will be on the second line. My preference is to have Reinhart on the first line with Eichel and Hall. That line would be one of the better first lines in the league.  I would love to see Mitts come in and establish a third line spot but I just don't see it. On the third line I see Cozens and Thompson playing wing on an Eakin centered line. Your Girg/Lazar/KO line makes a lot of sense and serves a role. 

Not having the AHL starting off when the NHL starts hurts Arttu's and Mitts prospects. I was hoping for Arttu to start off in Rochester to acclimate to the North American game with a later in-season call up and Mitts getting a lot of playing time in Rochester to better prepare himself when/if called up. 

If there is going to be a player at camp who will force his way onto the roster I think it will be Arttu. And as you and others have noted the Sabres have accumulated enough talent for internal competition and for a healthy group of reserves. What a pleasant change from the past where an injury or two would ravage a thin roster. 

  • Like (+1) 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I like about GA's opening is that it is one of the few that accurately reflects the depth chart.

  • Hall
  • Skinner
  • Girgensons

and

  • Reinhart
  • Olofsson
  • Okposo

is how we stack up on the right wing and left wing in terms of the coach's opening pecking order; Larsson Okposo and Girgensons were considered the "4th line" last year even though that was a weird interpretation based more on how they were used, not how much they were used. Larsson and Okposo are — by both production and ice time — our 3rd line wingers.

No one should be surprised if Ralph rolls this very conventional hierarchical lineup out to start:

  • Hall Eichel Reinhart (~ 18 minutes)
  • Skinner Staal Olofsson (~16 minutes)
  • Girgensons Eakin Okposo (~14 minutes)
  • Reider Mittelstadt Lazar Cozens Thompson (~12 minutes)

to start (although I'd much prefer Reinhart and Olofsson be flipped for balance and chemistry reasons).

An Okposo/Eakin/Girgensons 3rd line would give you what you want from a real 3rd line: 40 goals, a grinding mentality and defensive reliability.

Edited by dudacek
  • Like (+1) 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty much agree with the assessments except for Mitts sniffing the roster at all. And you don't give Thompson that contract to be the 13th forward, so i fully expect him to be slotted in. So i'd guess Lazar & Mitts are the odd men out. 

Wish we had some hockey going right now. F the year that was 2020, we can't be rid of it soon enough!

 

  • Like (+1) 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

We all seem so eager to slot a 1st year pro (Cozens) on to the roster based on RK's and others comments.  However he just that, a 1st year pro,  we have zero idea whether or not he is ready as he has never played at this level. 

On the other hand Mitts has 100+ games under his belt and despite his lost confidence last season, much of his time on the NHL was adequate to good.  If Mitts has matured as I think he has, that experience gives him an advantage. 

No it wasn't. He was a possession black hole who contributed negatively to the team overall. 

I'll bet Cozens is better than Mitts this year. 

Edited by LGR4GM
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

A couple of thoughts.  The Euro teams have their own players and may take a couple from the NHL/AHL but they play shorter seasons and are already under way.  Hard to just send Mitts to Euro.  He'd have to quarantine etc... 

I they are going to have a taxi squad, might as well have the AHL play out of the parent club's home arena.  Sell TV rights to those games as well as and play them when the home team is away since I doubt they'll be to many scheduling issues outside of NBA cities or do double headers with the AHL team being a warm up act for the NHL game.  Amerks/Sabres vs Phantoms/Flyers would be a blast to watch.  This way the parent club can easily monitor the AHL team and insure prospect development and proper protocols.  

As to Mitts, he is probably the most controversial player on the list.  Is he better, is he physically and mentally ready, where can he play etc..?  However, I think he is probably ready to answer most of these questions and earn a roster spot.  We all seem so eager to slot a 1st year pro (Cozens) on to the roster based on RK's and others comments.  However he just that, a 1st year pro,  we have zero idea whether or not he is ready as he has never played at this level. 

On the other hand Mitts has 100+ games under his belt and despite his lost confidence last season, much of his time on the NHL was adequate to good.  If Mitts has matured as I think he has, that experience gives him an advantage. 

 

I think your opinion of Mitts is like your opinion of Botteril, you are far too kind and sympathetic to the underachievers. Mitts has shown nothing yet that suggests he will be successful as an NHL player. I’m hopeful with another year of development he can make the team. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, freester said:

I think your opinion of Mitts is like your opinion of Botteril, you are far too kind and sympathetic to the underachievers. Mitts has shown nothing yet that suggests he will be successful as an NHL player. I’m hopeful with another year of development he can make the team. 

I tend not to write off 21 year old kids.  He hasn’t underachieved.  We had unrealistic expectations for a 20 year old forced into the NHL.   Thompson went through a similar development curve and is now primed to have a full time NHL roster spot.  Casey is also more talented then Thompson.  People here seem to only think that Casey is the lost player who failed last year and that is all he’ll ever be, while ignoring all the good work he did in Rochester.  

Many of these same people fawned over Larsson because he finally developed into a decent NHL player at 26, yet his best offensive season is 18 pts.  That’s 7 pts worse then Casey did in the NHL as a 20 year old. 

This kid has so much more to give, he just needs the right opportunity.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have stooped to re-watching the odd game from last year. Recently watched the Sharks game that Jack won in OT off of Casey's hard backcheck and homerun pass.

I was quite surprised about how well he performed overall. He was skating hard and he created some plays offensively.

My memory tells me it was an aberration, but for that game at least, he was an NHL player.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, dudacek said:

I'm not seeing an AHL season, at least to open.

I am seeing a large taxi squad consisting of the majority of the AHL team available for when COVID takes out four or five regulars at a time.

I think GA is correct on the eight guys on the team and the eight guys on the bubble, I just think Rochester will only exist on paper.

The NHL and the union will have to tweak the rules accordingly, but in practical terms, those five prospect bubble guys will all be in Buffalo and practicing and playing NHL games as needed.

 

I can see it as a season of attrition. The teams who can mitigate COVID exposure the best may  have an edge. 

  • Like (+1) 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We may not be better than last year if the OP has the correct lines

6 hours ago, JohnC said:

Your proposed line compositions make sense but I lean toward a few changes from what you listed. What I project is that Reinhart and Olofsson will be vying for a wing position on the first and second line. One of the two will be on the first line and the other will be on the second line. My preference is to have Reinhart on the first line with Eichel and Hall. That line would be one of the better first lines in the league.  I would love to see Mitts come in and establish a third line spot but I just don't see it. On the third line I see Cozens and Thompson playing wing on an Eakin centered line. Your Girg/Lazar/KO line makes a lot of sense and serves a role. 

Not having the AHL starting off when the NHL starts hurts Arttu's and Mitts prospects. I was hoping for Arttu to start off in Rochester to acclimate to the North American game with a later in-season call up and Mitts getting a lot of playing time in Rochester to better prepare himself when/if called up. 

If there is going to be a player at camp who will force his way onto the roster I think it will be Arttu. And as you and others have noted the Sabres have accumulated enough talent for internal competition and for a healthy group of reserves. What a pleasant change from the past where an injury or two would ravage a thin roster. 

I think Olofsson ends up on the top line but what you propose looks a ton better imo than the lineup first proposed in the thread. 

Edited by Thorny
  • Like (+1) 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I tend not to write off 21 year old kids.  He hasn’t underachieved.  We had unrealistic expectations for a 20 year old forced into the NHL.   Thompson went through a similar development curve and is now primed to have a full time NHL roster spot.  Casey is also more talented then Thompson.  People here seem to only think that Casey is the lost player who failed last year and that is all he’ll ever be, while ignoring all the good work he did in Rochester.  

Many of these same people fawned over Larsson because he finally developed into a decent NHL player at 26, yet his best offensive season is 18 pts.  That’s 7 pts worse then Casey did in the NHL as a 20 year old. 

This kid has so much more to give, he just needs the right opportunity.

What is the point in comparing Larsson and Casey on points when that is the exact opposite role we asked of Larsson? Totally different players. 

Your point about unrealistic expectations for Casey is a salient one, though. 

Edited by Thorny
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, dudacek said:

One thing I like about GA's opening is that it is one of the few that accurately reflects the depth chart.

  • Hall
  • Skinner
  • Girgensons

and

  • Reinhart
  • Olofsson
  • Okposo

is how we stack up on the right wing and left wing in terms of the coach's opening pecking order; Larsson Okposo and Girgensons were considered the "4th line" last year even though that was a weird interpretation based more on how they were used, not how much they were used. Larsson and Okposo are — by both production and ice time — our 3rd line wingers.

No one should be surprised if Ralph rolls this very conventional hierarchical lineup out to start:

  • Hall Eichel Reinhart (~ 18 minutes)
  • Skinner Staal Olofsson (~16 minutes)
  • Girgensons Eakin Okposo (~14 minutes)
  • Reider Mittelstadt Lazar Cozens Thompson (~12 minutes)

to start (although I'd much prefer Reinhart and Olofsson be flipped for balance and chemistry reasons).

An Okposo/Eakin/Girgensons 3rd line would give you what you want from a real 3rd line: 40 goals, a grinding mentality and defensive reliability.

Do we know that? 

Olofsson was the 1LW last year. The starting assumption should maybe be that he's the 2LW on the depth chart. As mentioned I have him at 1RW but that's my configuration. 

If we are going with Krueger, VO is ahead of Skinner on the left. You end up moving him to the top 6 though which addresses that putrid 3rd line, which was the biggest issue with the proposed, so that's good. 

- - - 

We shouldn't be surprised if his treatment of Skinner continues and it ends up something like:

Hall - Eichel - Reinhart

Olofsson - Staal - Cozens

Skinner - Eakin - Thompson

Girgensons - Lazar - Okposo 

To me that looks like more/less the default depth chart in Krueger's eyes (keeping in mind the 4th listed line likely won't get the least minutes).

Edited by Thorny
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Thorny said:

Do we know that? 

Olofsson was the 1LW last year. The starting assumption should maybe be that he's the 2LW on the depth chart. As mentioned I have him at 1RW but that's my configuration. 

If we are going with Krueger, VO is ahead of Skinner on the left. You end up moving him to the top 6 right side anyways unlike GA's lineup, which addresses that putrid 3rd line, though, which was the biggest issue with the proposed, so that's good. 

It's not very often coaches will commit to anything and we know how Ralph is loathe to label his lines.

But both he and Victor talked so positively about Victor's ability to play right wing that i would be shocked if Victor is not at right wing to to open the season.

  • Like (+1) 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Thorny said:

 

We shouldn't be surprised if his treatment of Skinner continues and it ends up something like:

Hall - Eichel - Reinhart

Olofsson - Staal - Cozens

Skinner - Eakin - Thompson

Girgensons - Lazar - Okposo 

To me that looks like more/less the default depth chart in Krueger's eyes (keeping in mind the 4th listed line likely won't get the least minutes).

There was a throwaway line in something I read or watched this summer that made me think that high on Ralph's list of things that he wants to do better this year is find a way to better utilize Skinner. Despite the obstinance about reuniting Skinner and Jack, I don't get a "my-way-or-the-highway" or "it's personal" vibe there at all from either side.

***

As far as your lines go, I've never had time for hierarchy -style lines anyways. For me it's about matchups and chemistry at even strength.

And I think Eakin and Skinner would be a great complement to each other. I'd have Okposo on the right side there, however; he adds some heavy and is much more trustworthy in terms of matchups.

That could be a killer third line to go with your world-class first.

The second line has a good mix; its success would be based on the level of play Cozens can provide as a rookie.

Under this scenario, I sit Tage and my fourth would to more conventional pesky/PK group of Girgs/Lazar/Reider.

Edited by dudacek
Link to post
Share on other sites

^ If I had my way I'd go:

Hall - Eichel - Olofsson

Skinner - Staal - Reinhart

Thompson - Eakin - Cozens

Girgensons - Lazar - Okposo

..as I think that moves it from an all world top line to a potential all world top 6. I really like that top 6 and the matchups a Skinner-Reinhart pairing on line 2 could lead to. 

It's less balanced than the other lines I proposed but if Eakin is reasonable at 3C I think the F could be something special. 

  • Like (+1) 2
  • Meh 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Thorny said:

^ If I had my way I'd go:

Hall - Eichel - Olofsson

Skinner - Staal - Reinhart

Thompson - Eakin - Cozens

Girgensons - Lazar - Okposo

..as I think that moves it from an all world top line to a potential all world top 6. I really like that top 6 and the matchups a Skinner-Reinhart pairing on line 2 could lead to. 

It's less balanced than the other lines I proposed but if Eakin is reasonable at 3C I think the F could be something special. 

If Cozens and Thompson can be solid middle-six players, I agree with the bold.

That top six is special; IMO two first lines.

I'm less concerned about Eakin than most seem to be. He's the 80th highest scoring centre in the NHL over his career. Even with his terrible year last year, he's 93rd over the past three. He's almost the definition of a 3rd line centre.

 

Just now, dudacek said:

 

 

Edited by dudacek
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...