Jump to content

2021 Forwards


Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Why sign Eakin over Larsson if your goal wasn't to build a reasonable 3rd scoring line?  He is not the defensive player Larsson is but he is a much better offensive player (a 40 pt player annually before last season) while being decent defensively.  Creating a shutdown with Eakin centering Z (before the injury) and KO over Larsson honestly makes no sense.  Z and KO won't help Eakin recover his offense (KO's production in his 4 years in Buffalo is decreasing annually from .69 pts/gp down to .36 pts/gp last year) and since Eakin isn't as good defensively as Larsson it also compromises their shutdown effectiveness.  

Considering most of our near ready prospects, like Mitts, Thompson, Cozens, and Routsalainen, are skilled forwards, I assumed (maybe incorrectly) KA signed a smart two way vet center like Eakin to shepherd a couple of these kids and create a 3rd scoring line.  

Now having Eakin center ham handed Rieder with the diminishing KO makes even less sense.  

Having a bottom six of 

Rieder Eakin KO

Sheahan Lazar Thompson  

is garbage but this is where we seem to be heading

On the other hand we could do the following

Hall Eichel Reinhart

Skinner Staal Thompson

Olofsson Eakin Cozens

Rieder Lazar KO

Why?  Why not.

It didn't seem that Larsson wanted to come back.  My preference was to keep him, but it takes 2 to tango.

Knowing they were planning on bringing in Staal & a scoring winger, they knew they'd be looking at reducing that shut down line's ice time and having it simply be a checking line that can pot a few here or there was apparently considered to be good enough and they probably expect that with Okposo's former offensive pedigree and Girgensons work on the boards & adequate shot (though lacking passing) that giving them a reasonable 2 way player that they could make it work.  Realizing they'd be allowing more scoring more without the event suppressor known as Johan they seem to have felt those other 2 could increase their scoring by at least as much without the shot suppressor known as Johan. 😉 Remember, they're close to the cap and with the improved top 6, they likely don't need the great shutdown line.  And with them being close to the cap, they'll need to have some cheap kids in the lineup.

And that/those kids will be playing w/ cheap veteran Lazar to start.  Considering Ralph seems to trust vets more, those kids are going to have to earn any ice time they get.  Which is fine.

All that said, my preference was to have Lazar center Girgensons & Okposo going even more so towards shutdown; but it's obvious Krueger would rather have Eakin on the ice more than Lazar so they put him with the 3rd best wing pair.  Now that Z is out, looks like 1st choice is to give the extra ice time to veteran at least until a kid can beat him out.

Expect that those bottom 2 lines (now that Z is out) will be fairly fluid early this year.  Had expected that 3rd line to be set but if Thompson or somebody else can play 2 way well will expect him to bump Reider back down to the 4th line where he in all probability belongs.

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

Why sign Eakin over Larsson if your goal wasn't to build a reasonable 3rd scoring line?  He is not the defensive player Larsson is but he is a much better offensive player (a 40 pt player annually before last season) while being decent defensively.  Creating a shutdown with Eakin centering Z (before the injury) and KO over Larsson honestly makes no sense.  Z and KO won't help Eakin recover his offense (KO's production in his 4 years in Buffalo is decreasing annually from .69 pts/gp down to .36 pts/gp last year) and since Eakin isn't as good defensively as Larsson it also compromises their shutdown effectiveness.  

Considering most of our near ready prospects, like Mitts, Thompson, Cozens, and Routsalainen, are skilled forwards, I assumed (maybe incorrectly) KA signed a smart two way vet center like Eakin to shepherd a couple of these kids and create a 3rd scoring line.  

Now having Eakin center ham handed Rieder with the diminishing KO makes even less sense.  

Having a bottom six of 

Rieder Eakin KO

Sheahan Lazar Thompson  

is garbage but this is where we seem to be heading

On the other hand we could do the following

Hall Eichel Reinhart

Skinner Staal Thompson

Olofsson Eakin Cozens

Rieder Lazar KO

I typed up a very similar post before reading this.  My best guess with Eakin is that they like the flexibility he provides them.  If you get an injury in the top six, Eakin would be a more suitable fill in offensively than Larsson.  Or if someone like Asplund plays himself into the defensive line center role, Eakin could easily be pushed to that younger sheltered offensive line.

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

 

Considering most of our near ready prospects, like Mitts, Thompson, Cozens, and Routsalainen, are skilled forwards, I assumed (maybe incorrectly) KA signed a smart two way vet center like Eakin to shepherd a couple of these kids and create a 3rd scoring line.  

Now having Eakin center ham handed Rieder with the diminishing KO makes even less sense.  

Ralph said he was starting camp with lines “that would have some logic to them” that the camp was not about experimenting, it was about getting ready for the season. Eakin/Okposo/Girgensons played together every second until Z got hurt.

3 hours ago, Curt said:

I don’t think it was the Sabres choice.  It seemed like Larson wanted out.

Maybe they don’t want to use a line as much defensively as they did last season.  That was extreme.  There isn’t anything wrong with a line that can still be pretty good defensively, and produce a little more offense too.

Larsson and his brother said the Sabres didn’t show interest and the brother said Johan was interested in returning. Ralph said the Sabres “kept everyone they wanted to keep” more than once.

***

I know you can’t trust everything that comes out of the coach’s mouth, but when actions match words...

Ralph and Adams have talked consistently about matchups. I think their intent was/is to run 3 lines that they are generally comfortable putting out there against most any line in most any situation.

They think Eakin Okposo Girgensons fit that profile, and that Eakin is an upgrade to Larsson, presumably because they don’t want to use that line the same way. They think he can push the pace while playing both ways, in a way Larsson cannot.

Edited by dudacek
  • Like (+1) 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Larsson and his brother said the Sabres didn’t show interest and the brother said Johan was interested in returning. Ralph said the Sabres “kept everyone they wanted to keep” more than once.

***

I know you can’t trust everything that comes out of the coach’s mouth, but when actions match words...

Ralph and Adams have talked consistently about matchups. I think their intent was/is to run 3 lines that they are generally comfortable putting out there against most any line in most any situation.

They think Eakin Okposo Girgensons fit that profile, and that Eakin is an upgrade to Larsson, presumably because they don’t want to use that line the same way. They think he can push the pace while playing both ways, in a way Larsson cannot.

Ok.  I’m convinced!

Link to post
Share on other sites

@dudacek the goal shouldn’t be just to able to have 3 capable or semi-capable lines.  It should be to find mismatches that favor your team. Find an edge you can exploit.  The Briere/Drury teams found that edge by rolling 4 lines including a young guns line that Ruff used in the offensive zone.  I honestly thought, clearly incorrectly, that KA was building to something similar here.  He has the assets here to try, but he and RK clearly are going for the 2 scoring line, one defensive line and some garbage to throw out 8-10 minutes a game and hope they don’t give up to many goals.

Imho this strategy is doomed before we start unless the top 6 have awesome seasons. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

@dudacek the goal shouldn’t be just to able to have 3 capable or semi-capable lines.  It should be to find mismatches that favor your team. Find an edge you can exploit.  The Briere/Drury teams found that edge by rolling 4 lines including a young guns line that Ruff used in the offensive zone.  I honestly thought, clearly incorrectly, that KA was building to something similar here.  He has the assets here to try, but he and RK clearly are going for the 2 scoring line, one defensive line and some garbage to throw out 8-10 minutes a game and hope they don’t give up to many goals.

Imho this strategy is doomed before we start unless the top 6 have awesome seasons. 

I think the first bold is the goal. In theory:

  • Jack's line is a mismatch against 95 per cent of the lines in the league.
  • Staal's line is a mismatch against 75 per cent of the lines in the league
  • Eakin's line can win against half the lines in the league and hang on against a number of top six units
  • The 4th line is a rotating cast of players picked to best exploit the opponent

What, for example, is a good three-line team like the Bruins gonna do? If they put Bergeron's line against Jack's line, Eakin's can handle Krecji's or Coyle's, and Staal's can beat either. If they try to give Bergeron's line a win over Eakin or Staal, they are are also giving Jack's line a win.

I don't think the 2nd bold is true. I think they want three lines they can trust in all three zones; they don't have to hide anyone. Their main thrust is to usually give Jack, not Eakin, the toughest opponent, and they will be comfortable giving their 2nd line tough minutes now too, instead of trying to hide it. I think that their problem with Larsson was that the best he could ever give them was a draw because he couldn't score enough to win, even against bottom six lines. They think Eakin/Girgensons/Okposo can survive tough matchups and win the easy ones.

I'm not saying they're right — they are putting a lot of faith in Eakin — but I think that's the plan.

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

I think the first bold is the goal. In theory:

  • Jack's line is a mismatch against 95 per cent of the lines in the league.
  • Staal's line is a mismatch against 75 per cent of the lines in the league
  • Eakin's line can win against half the lines in the league and hang on against a number of top six units
  • The 4th line is a rotating cast of players picked to best exploit the opponent

What, for example, is a good three-line team like the Bruins gonna do? If they put Bergeron's line against Jack's line, Eakin's can handle Krecji's or Coyle's, and Staal's can beat either. If they try to give Bergeron's line a win over Eakin or Staal, they are are also giving Jack's line a win.

I don't think the 2nd bold is true. I think they want three lines they can trust in all three zones; they don't have to hide anyone. Their main thrust is to usually give Jack, not Eakin, the toughest opponent, and they will be comfortable giving their 2nd line tough minutes now too, instead of trying to hide it. I think that their problem with Larsson was that the best he could ever give them was a draw because he couldn't score enough to win, even against bottom six lines. They think Eakin/Larsson/Okposo can survive tough matchups and win the easy ones.

I'm not saying they're right — they are putting a lot of faith in Eakin — but I think that's the plan.

If your pairing Rieder and KO with Eakin there is no way you are getting more offense then you had last year with KO, Z and Larsson.  We got 19 pts from z, 19 from KO and 18 from Larsson.  Last season Rieder had 10 pts and Eakin 15.  No way Eakin's offense rebounds with KO and Rieder.  

You and I were worried a couple of seasons ago about the bottom 6 and we were proven correct.  This strategy and utilization of Eakin is giving me the same vibe.  It's almost a stubborn approach in trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  Playing Rieder more then 8 minutes a night 5 on 5 is a mistake.

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

If your pairing Rieder and KO with Eakin there is no way you are getting more offense then you had last year with KO, Z and Larsson.  We got 19 pts from z, 19 from KO and 18 from Larsson.  Last season Rieder had 10 pts and Eakin 15.  No way Eakin's offense rebounds with KO and Rieder.  

You and I were worried a couple of seasons ago about the bottom 6 and we were proven correct.  This strategy and utilization of Eakin is giving me the same vibe.  It's almost a stubborn approach in trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  Playing Rieder more then 8 minutes a night 5 on 5 is a mistake.

To be fair, Rieder was not the first choice for that slot, and Cozens and Thompson might mean he’s not the 2nd either.

But Adams and Krueger seem to think he and Eakin are more the 35-point players they were two or three years ago than the 15 point players they were last year.

At the very least they specifically targeted them to fill gaps that Ralph felt existed in last year’s roster.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

If your pairing Rieder and KO with Eakin there is no way you are getting more offense then you had last year with KO, Z and Larsson.  We got 19 pts from z, 19 from KO and 18 from Larsson.  Last season Rieder had 10 pts and Eakin 15.  No way Eakin's offense rebounds with KO and Rieder.  

You and I were worried a couple of seasons ago about the bottom 6 and we were proven correct.  This strategy and utilization of Eakin is giving me the same vibe.  It's almost a stubborn approach in trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  Playing Rieder more then 8 minutes a night 5 on 5 is a mistake.

You worried "about the bottom 6 and ... were proven correct?"  🤨  The 4th line was the 2nd best line on the team the past 2 years.  The middle 6 is where the concerns lied in no small part because they didn't have a 2C either year.  Yes, the 4th line didn't score much, but neither did the opponent's top line very often - that line's results were a win far more often than not.  It was lines 2 & 3 that killed them, not line 4.  (GT didn't help either many nights.)

 

8 hours ago, dudacek said:

To be fair, Rieder was not the first choice for that slot, and Cozens and Thompson might mean he’s not the 2nd either.

But Adams and Krueger seem to think he and Eakin are more the 35-point players they were two or three years ago than the 15 point players they were last year.

At the very least they specifically targeted them to fill gaps that Ralph felt existed in last year’s roster.

To the bolded, precisely.

Nobody has earned that slot yet and Krueger has pencilled in the vet (that had been pencilled in on the 4th line, btw) onto the 3rd line rather than any of last year's AHLers or the kid that literally wasn't at camp so physically couldn't have been pencilled in anyway.

Would not be at all surprised to see Reider bumped back to the 4th line before January is out & ideally to spot duty when matches dictate as my expectation is at least one of the kids will earn the additional ice time.  But, until somebody beats him out, he has defaulted into that slot.  And he will have to be beaten out to lose that role, which we may not like as whomever we'd prefer to see in that role gets denied it, but my guess is the players appreciate that they won't lose their jobs on a whim and also that as demonstrated by Borgen's bumping up to the 1st session (and Ullmark moving ahead of Hutton last year) that good play will be rewarded.

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

I'm going to revise my earlier opinion.  I said earlier that the Sabres should view this season as a 56 game playoff and not take chances on the kids and put the best possible lineup out each night and do everything possible to make the playoffs.

However after listening to some podcasts and reading some previews of our new division, I think the Sabres should say f-it and let the kids play. If I'm RK and KA, load up the top 6 by moving VO to 2 RW, play his checking line of Rieder (or his replacement) Eakin and KO and then let Cozens center Mitts and Thompson or Routsalainen and Thompson and tell them to go have fun.  Give these kids a no pressure 10 minutes a night, try to get them favorable matchups.  We'll live with their mistakes and maybe they'll surprise us.

Might as well use this season as a learning experience and maybe we'll make the playoffs anyway.

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

I'm going to revise my earlier opinion.  I said earlier that the Sabres should view this season as a 56 game playoff and not take chances on the kids and put the best possible lineup out each night and do everything possible to make the playoffs.

However after listening to some podcasts and reading some previews of our new division, I think the Sabres should say f-it and let the kids play. If I'm RK and KA, load up the top 6 by moving VO to 2 RW, play his checking line of Rieder (or his replacement) Eakin and KO and then let Cozens center Mitts and Thompson or Routsalainen and Thompson and tell them to go have fun.  Give these kids a no pressure 10 minutes a night, try to get them favorable matchups.  We'll live with their mistakes and maybe they'll surprise us.

Might as well use this season as a learning experience and maybe we'll make the playoffs anyway.

Why not put VO on the first line? You have a quality second line with Skinner/Staal/Reinhart. Then on the third line as you suggest you can have a youngster line with a combination drawn from the youngsters in Cozens/Mitts/Thompson/Arttu.

Edited by JohnC
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, JohnC said:

Why not put VO on the first line? You have a quality second line with Skinner/Staal/Reinhart. Then on the third line as you suggest you can have a youngster line with a combination drawn from the youngsters in Cozens/Mitts/Thompson/Arttu.

He isn't moving Olofsson down from the 1st line; he's moving him up from whatever idealized line (3rd most likely) he'd previously dreamt up.

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

Welcome to the worst bottom 6 in the NHL.

This is today’s lineup.  We’ll have zero offense from our bottom 6.  Absolute garbage.  
 

Gold group

4 Taylor Hall - 9 Jack Eichel - 68 Victor Olofsson
53 Jeff Skinner  - 12 Eric Staal  - 23 Sam Reinhart 
13 Tobias Rieder - 20 Cody Eakin - 21 Kyle Okposo
38 Riley Sheahan - 27 Curtis Lazar - 72 Tage Thompson 

Jack will have more points then this bottom 6 combined.

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Welcome to the worst bottom 6 in the NHL.

This is today’s lineup.  We’ll have zero offense from our bottom 6.  Absolute garbage.  
 

Gold group

4 Taylor Hall - 9 Jack Eichel - 68 Victor Olofsson
53 Jeff Skinner  - 12 Eric Staal  - 23 Sam Reinhart 
13 Tobias Rieder - 20 Cody Eakin - 21 Kyle Okposo
38 Riley Sheahan - 27 Curtis Lazar - 72 Tage Thompson 

Jack will have more points then this bottom 6 combined.

Fear not good sir.  Either TT or Cozens or both is going to force his way onto Eakin's line, first in place of Rieder and then possibly in place of KO, and that line is going to produce quite a bit of offense, leaving Rieder-Lazar-Sheahan or Rieder-Sheahan-KO as a respectable checking line.

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

So where do we stand?

RK has two pairs that we know will be together

1. Hall Eichel. ????

2. ????  Staal Reinhart

KO, VO, Skinner, Thompson, and Eakin will in the lineup somewhere.

After that there is still some uncertainty.

The Candidates

Rieder - Had a good second scrimmage and was signed to kill penaltIes.  95% chance he is in the opening night lineup.

Sheahan - Earned a contract. C/LW will certainly make the team, but will he draw into the lineup?  75% chance he is the opening night lineup. 

Lazar - Earned RK’s trust last year, but has Sheahan taken his job? 75% chance he is in the opening lineup.

Mittelstadt - Reports say he looked good in the scrimmage at center.  Practiced at wing.  Could he be RK’s choice to center a 3rd O line with Skinner on his wing and push both Lazar and Sheahan to the bench or wing? 20% chance, because I think RK wants to start with the vets.

Cozens - KA and RK want him in the lineup this season, but has he had enough camp to learn the system?  I suspect they’ll let him get acclimated for a week or two before he draws into the lineup. 20% chance.

Routsalainen - Fin seems to be adjusting well to NA hockey.  He’ll play in Buffalo this season, but when?  I don’t think he opens in Buffalo but I think he dominates in the A and forces their hand.  15% chance.

Quinn - I’m very excited about him.  He’ll start in the A if there is no CHL, but I think he is a chameleon.  Someone called him Jochen Hecht in the WJr thread.  I like it but Quinn has more a higher scoring ceiling.  Coachable kid looks like he can do anything. Want him to dig in corners? No problem? Need a goal close in? No problem.  Kill Penalties? Sure! Play with high skill forwards? Easy.  Sick pass to Mitts in the scrimmage.  0% chance now, but if he stays in the A all year, I hope he’ll earn a callup.

Asplund - I was hoping this kid would get a chance to fill the Girgensons void, but now behind Sheahan and Rieder.  Starts in the A.

I think Rieder, Sheahan and Lazar will join the 9 locks in the opening night lineup.  This is my nightmare scenario, but it seems the way RK wants to start. I hope I’m wrong. I hope 2 of Mitts, Cozens or R2 beat out Sheahan and Lazar, but don’t count on it.  Our initial bottom 6 will be the worst in the league.

 

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

So where do we stand?

RK has two pairs that we know will be together

1. Hall Eichel. ????

2. ????  Staal Reinhart

KO, VO, Skinner, Thompson, and Eakin will in the lineup somewhere.

After that there is still some uncertainty.

The Candidates

Rieder - Had a good second scrimmage and was signed to kill penaltIes.  95% chance he is in the opening night lineup.

Sheahan - Earned a contract. C/LW will certainly make the team, but will he draw into the lineup?  75% chance he is the opening night lineup. 

Lazar - Earned RK’s trust last year, but has Sheahan taken his job? 75% chance he is in the opening lineup.

Mittelstadt - Reports say he looked good in the scrimmage at center.  Practiced at wing.  Could he be RK’s choice to center a 3rd O line with Skinner on his wing and push both Lazar and Sheahan to the bench or wing? 20% chance, because I think RK wants to start with the vets.

Cozens - KA and RK want him in the lineup this season, but has he had enough camp to learn the system?  I suspect they’ll let him get acclimated for a week or two before he draws into the lineup. 20% chance.

Routsalainen - Fin seems to be adjusting well to NA hockey.  He’ll play in Buffalo this season, but when?  I don’t think he opens in Buffalo but I think he dominates in the A and forces their hand.  15% chance.

Quinn - I’m very excited about him.  He’ll start in the A if there is no CHL, but I think he is a chameleon.  Someone called him Jochen Hecht in the WJr thread.  I like it but Quinn has more a higher scoring ceiling.  Coachable kid looks like he can do anything. Want him to dig in corners? No problem? Need a goal close in? No problem.  Kill Penalties? Sure! Play with high skill forwards? Easy.  Sick pass to Mitts in the scrimmage.  0% chance now, but if he stays in the A all year, I hope he’ll earn a callup.

Asplund - I was hoping this kid would get a chance to fill the Girgensons void, but now behind Sheahan and Rieder.  Starts in the A.

I think Rieder, Sheahan and Lazar will join the 9 locks in the opening night lineup.  This is my nightmare scenario, but it seems the way RK wants to start. I hope I’m wrong. I hope 2 of Mitts, Cozens or R2 beat out Sheahan and Lazar, but don’t count on it.  Our initial bottom 6 will be the worst in the league.

 

Could split hairs on a few of this, but I agree with the gist.

I think Eakin/Okposo absolutely needs to be a third pair though. Haven't spent a shift anywhere else the entire camp.

Rieder is a roster lock in my view. I think the other two slots will vary based on who and where we are playing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I came in to camp thinking Rieder was a bubble roster/taxi squad player, but he's earned himself a permanent spot in camp in my view.

I do think there will be a lot of movement between the roster and taxi swad to start the year, especially with all the younger talent it's looking like we'll have on the taxi squad.  A lot of players rotating in and out of the lineup on a matchup by matchup basis.  So I'm not going to worry too much about how the opening lineup shakes out on Thursday.

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

Sabre cracks the list of The Athletic's top regression candidates.

Writer Harman Dayal's logic seems sound:

I really liked the Eric Staal-for-Marcus Johansson swap from the Sabres’ perspective. The veteran centre should be able to fill Buffalo’s gaping second-line centre void in a way that Johansson probably couldn’t.

With that said, I don’t think Staal will be as productive as he was in Minnesota where he notched 47 points in 66 games last season.

For one, he’s likely to see a pretty notable decline in power-play opportunity. Staal was a fixture on Minnesota’s first unit, one that ranked top-10 in the NHL last season, by virtue of being the Wild’s best centre. Coming to Buffalo, he’ll obviously cede those duties to Jack Eichel and fall to the second unit which means Staal could see a decline on the 14 power-play points he managed in 2019-20.

In addition to possibly reduced five-on-four time, Staal might also be in the midst of a modest even-strength decline. The 36-year-old went from averaging 8.4 shots per 60 minutes of five-on-five play to just 5.8. What kept Staal’s goal-scoring numbers propped up was the fact that his shooting percentage spiked to 15.5 percent to compensate — that’s an outlier (it’s Staal’s career high shooting percentage) and unlikely to last.

Combine less PP usage with an inflated even-strength shooting percentage and I think there’s a pretty strong chance you see a dip in Staal’s production.

https://theathletic.com/2315120/2021/01/12/nhl-regression-candidates-2021/

Edited by dudacek
Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Do they mention the fact he should be facing easier ES matchups this season as a 2C rather than last season's 1C?

Saw this on my phone randomly:

IMG_4702.thumb.JPG.994f7a90b6c3a1713b26259044f2de44.JPG

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

Sabre cracks the lit of The Athletic's top regression candidates.

Writer Harman Dayal's logic seems sound:

Yeah, makes sense.  It’s honestly likely correct.  It’s not really bad news for Buffalo though.  He didn’t come here to run the PP and be the #1 offensive C.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished reading the same thing.  I understand what the author wrote, but came away with one question.  Who were Staal’s line mates 5 on 5 in Minn?  Serious question.  How do they compare to Olofsson and Reinhart? One interesting note; according to hockey-reference.com Staal’s shooting % has been very solid the last 4 years at 13.3, 17.4, 10.2 and 16.8.  These numbers aren’t showing regression.  What looked like regression last year was his shots on goal, which fell from 215 to 113.

I agree that his PP points will probably decrease and so might his even strength goals, but considering both Sam’s and VO’s ability to score, could we see an increase in 5 on 5 assists to off-set the fewer goals?  

 

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

Sabre cracks the list of The Athletic's top regression candidates.

Writer Harman Dayal's logic seems sound:

I really liked the Eric Staal-for-Marcus Johansson swap from the Sabres’ perspective. The veteran centre should be able to fill Buffalo’s gaping second-line centre void in a way that Johansson probably couldn’t.

With that said, I don’t think Staal will be as productive as he was in Minnesota where he notched 47 points in 66 games last season.

For one, he’s likely to see a pretty notable decline in power-play opportunity. Staal was a fixture on Minnesota’s first unit, one that ranked top-10 in the NHL last season, by virtue of being the Wild’s best centre. Coming to Buffalo, he’ll obviously cede those duties to Jack Eichel and fall to the second unit which means Staal could see a decline on the 14 power-play points he managed in 2019-20.

In addition to possibly reduced five-on-four time, Staal might also be in the midst of a modest even-strength decline. The 36-year-old went from averaging 8.4 shots per 60 minutes of five-on-five play to just 5.8. What kept Staal’s goal-scoring numbers propped up was the fact that his shooting percentage spiked to 15.5 percent to compensate — that’s an outlier (it’s Staal’s career high shooting percentage) and unlikely to last.

Combine less PP usage with an inflated even-strength shooting percentage and I think there’s a pretty strong chance you see a dip in Staal’s production.

https://theathletic.com/2315120/2021/01/12/nhl-regression-candidates-2021/

Similar to what others seem to have already said, there's a few things at work here.

If age doesn't catch up to him this year, and it very well might still not catch up to him, he could actually improve his ES results & only modestly drop his PP results.

He's slated to center Eichel's wingers from last year and will NOT be facing the other team's top D pairing nearly as often as he has in the past.  (It's good to follow up after Eichel & Hall have run the other guys ragged.  😉 )

Yes, his PP time will be down, but he's not getting surrounded by pugs at least.  Skinner can clean up rebounds around the net, once Cozens is acclimated he could be a beast going against the other team's 2nd PKers, and Ristolainen was the point man k when Buffalo had the league's best PP.  Leaving Thompson as another wildcard.  If he's finally grown into his frame that unit could be top 20 in its own right.  They'll definitely get less time than Eichel's unit but they should be far more effective than any other 2nd unit this team has put out in the last decade.

Am actually expecting all those factors to kind of work in conjunction which very well could have him having a season very similar in total to last year.  Which would be huge for this team making a push.

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

Just finished reading the same thing.  I understand what the author wrote, but came away with one question.  Who were Staal’s line mates 5 on 5 in Minn?  Serious question.  How do they compare to Olofsson and Reinhart? One interesting note; according to hockey-reference.com Staal’s shooting % has been very solid the last 4 years at 13.3, 17.4, 10.2 and 16.8.  These numbers aren’t showing regression.  What looked like regression last year was his shots on goal, which fell from 215 to 113.

I agree that his PP points will probably decrease and so might his even strength goals, but considering both Sam’s and VO’s ability to score, could we see an increase in 5 on 5 assists to off-set the fewer goals?  

 

Staal  played 287 minutes with Parise (37.8%)

119 with Kevin Fiala (15.67%)

305 with Matt Dumba (40.18%)

518 with Mats Zucarello (68.25%)

That was at 5v5 and then a bunch of guys are under 100 minutes so I am not including them. Staal played roughly 759 minutes at 5v5. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hall - Eichel - Reinhart

Skinner - Cozens - Thompson

Olofsson - Staal - Sheahan

Rieder - Eakin - Okposo

Dahlin - Miller

McCabe - Ristolainen

Irwin - Jokijarju

Edited by Thorny
Switch Cozens and Staal if you want but I just have a feeling Cozens is It right now on that line
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.   Paste as plain text instead

  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...