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Defense 2020-21


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12 hours ago, DarthEbriate said:

On defense, next season (once again) hinges on Risto. Whatever the 20-21 season looks like, it'll be Risto's 8th in the league. He hasn't made exponential improvements in his own zone or in his overall game . He's still an offensive-minded defenseman who occasionally agitates and elevates himself against top-flight players, although his elevation doesn't really change their stats against us. (Meaning Ovechkin, which others folks have crunched all the numbers.)

Because of the financial situations league-wide, I don't think Risto gets moved via trade.

So -- Risto was much better this past season vs. previous years. He went down to just 22 minutes/game and finished a -2 instead of his typical negative double digits. He wandered less in the D zone. He looked OK. But again, he's 8 years in. He's no longer a young defenseman given up on too soon. He's now a minimum $4.5M/year player on his next COVID-impacted contract as a 2nd pair and 2nd PP unit guy who remains a liability in his own zone. He's not the reliable top-pair 2-way D we wanted him to become when drafted. So this is the conundrum: Does this shortened season lead us to protect and extend Risto or not? If not... then protect Dahlin and Joker and... I guess Borgen. And if Seattle wants UFAs in Montour or McCabe, so be it. But I wager no UFA is signing for a ton of cash next year. Otherwise, Seattle can take Miller or Ristolainen for a single season if they want to take the salary.

Our D this season will benefit greatly from Hall and Staal. It's a solid set of NHL-caliber D guys that will look just fine with the improved forwards and middle-of-the-pack goaltending. But overall Risto's skills are duplicated by Miller (they're 2/3 pairing, 2nd PP guys who plays physical but aren't capable of shutting the opposition down).

I see 2020 (whatever it is):   Dahlin - Joker | Montour - Miller | McCabe - Ristolainen (Irwin, Borgen).

And then 2021-22:   Dahlin - Joker | Montour - either Miller/Risto | TBD - Borgen

A reasonable post except for the guy with the most TOI on the team for the past 6 years suddenly being a 3rd pairing Dman without a major change in personnel. The Risto hate on this site is mind numbing to me. Is he a top 10 Dman, no but until proven otherwise he's the best guy we have, BAR NONE

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

Well it's hard to say but I'm also hoping that we only saw the beginning of Risto's shift back to a stable D man last year under Kreuger and if you do this pairing you keep coaching and defining his role as the snarly defender of the pair and not the guy trying to score goals, let Dahlin do that. If they're both going to run around all over the place you're absolutely right, it won't work.

Whatever the pairings end up being, I hope they are stable pairings and the 2 guys in each pair can learn to play with each other properly as a pair and not 2 individuals. All the best D pairings in the league are the same 2 guys and they develop chemistry like forwards do. Kreuger was better with this than Housley, but with the extra D bodies we still juggled too much. Set the pairings and keep them.

To your 1st paragraph: if it were to happen, it'd be great; but at this point my expectation is the the Risto we see is the Risto he is and that pairing that was awful 2 years ago and bad last year will continue to be less than the sum of its parts.

To the 2nd, as much as injuries will allow for it, absolutely want to see set pairings (while still realizing Ristolainen & Dahlin will get more ice time than their partners get).  Knowing what their partner will do in a certain situation will make all the pairings noticeably better.

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3 hours ago, Derrico said:

What goalie would be targeted?  How big of an upgrading are we talking?  What do we do with Hutton?

Scuttlebutt is that either Raantta or Kuemper is available as the Yotes try to jettison salary.

In my view, Raantta (a pending UFA) is a capable starter who would battle Linus for #1. Kuemper is better. He has two years left and is a legitimate number one who has probably been among the top dozen or so goalies in the league recently.

There is no market for Hutton. Ideally he goes the other way as a cap dump. More likely he is waived and ends up buried in Rochester.

Edited by dudacek
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6 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Scuttlebutt is that either Raantta or Kuemper is available as the Yotes try to jettison salary.

In my view, Raantta (a pending UFA) is a capable starter who would battle Linus for #1. Kuemper is better. He has two years left and is a legitimate number one who has probably been among the top dozen or so goalies in the league recently.

There is no market for Hutton. Ideally he goes the other way as a cap dump. More likely he is waived and ends up buried in Rochester.

Congrats on the 20,000 post milestone.  

Seems like you have been putting out very good content worth well over 20,000, but that's a lot.

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1 hour ago, dudacek said:

Scuttlebutt is that either Raantta or Kuemper is available as the Yotes try to jettison salary.

In my view, Raantta (a pending UFA) is a capable starter who would battle Linus for #1. Kuemper is better. He has two years left and is a legitimate number one who has probably been among the top dozen or so goalies in the league recently.

There is no market for Hutton. Ideally he goes the other way as a cap dump. More likely he is waived and ends up buried in Rochester.

And if Adams can't figure out a workable deal, the kid they'll have to put back in the A to accommodate the other 2 staying in AZ needs to clear waivers.  The Sabres are 7th in waiver priority & it doesn't really make sense for the teams ahead of them to claim a goalie.  

So, one way or another they can give the Sabres a goalie for reasonably/ very cheap.

Miller (or what he brings back in trade) plus a prospect/pick should be enough.

 

And getting back to the subject of this thread, remember it was only 1 Eichel career-to-date ago that the Aisles went from being leading contenders in the Carrion League to solid playoff contenders by picking up 2 solid 2nd pairing D-men each for a 2nd.  Pick up a LHD better than Irwin for cheap to go along w/ the goalie upgrade & they should be good enough for the playoffs regardless of how brutal their division ends up.

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17 minutes ago, Taro T said:

And if Adams can't figure out a workable deal, the kid they'll have to put back in the A to accommodate the other 2 staying in AZ needs to clear waivers.  The Sabres are 7th in waiver priority & it doesn't really make sense for the teams ahead of them to claim a goalie.  

So, one way or another they can give the Sabres a goalie for reasonably/ very cheap.

Miller (or what he brings back in trade) plus a prospect/pick should be enough.

Beat me to it.  AZ needs to either carry 3 goalies or unload one of them.  I suppose this is one of those situations that could be affected by the resolution of the roster size issue -- i.e. if there is no AHL season and NHL teams are allowed to maintain larger rosters, the pressure on AZ to unload a goalie will disappear.  That is probably one of the main reasons AZ hasn't made a move yet.

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6 hours ago, dudacek said:

I fully expect either Montour or Miller to be moved for a pick and a pick or cheap young player to be moved for a Coyote goalie.

Effectively, we will trade an RHD for a goalie as soon as the season is announced and teams start making moves to accommodate their economic and cap realities.

If we pull that off, it'll be probably the most successful offseason on paper that I can remember. 

The type of off-season a team needs if they want to take an ~14 point jump in the standings, to a playoff position. 

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On 12/5/2020 at 11:33 AM, jsb said:

A reasonable post except for the guy with the most TOI on the team for the past 6 years suddenly being a 3rd pairing Dman without a major change in personnel. The Risto hate on this site is mind numbing to me. Is he a top 10 Dman, no but until proven otherwise he's the best guy we have, BAR NONE

My pairings aren't so much Risto-hate as who is on the left side. RaKru skated McCabe-Risto together quite a bit last year, so I kept them together. Then, if Montour is on the left, it became a question of who do I play more? Dahlin, then Montour, then McCabe. With Dahlin and Miller trending toward offensive zone draws and McCabe more in the d-zone. I think the 3 pairings I listed are the most balanced, but could as easily see Dahlin-Joker, Montour-Risto and then McCabe-Miller is a much less-used 3rd pair than the top pairs.

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On 12/5/2020 at 2:33 PM, jsb said:

 The Risto hate on this site is mind numbing to me. Is he a top 10 Dman, no but until proven otherwise he's the best guy we have, BAR NONE

I don't see it, I really don't.  His first few years with the Sabres, I liked him a lot.  On this board for 2-3 years I supported him....but I read some of that 'Risto hate' that started to appear....so I read it and started watching....and over time what I have seen with my eyes I agree with a lot of it.  I did like him, but the more I watched I changed my mind.

With his size and skating ability, and his first round pedigree he SHOULD be the best defenseman on the team, but he simply isn't.  Watch the games, watch him in his own zone.  I don't know what the advanced stats say about him, but this is what I do know....more than ANY other D-man on this team that I see, when a goal is scored against the Sabres, it seems that he is out of position. He is looking the other way when the forward scores from in close. He is finishing a check on someone out of the play when the puck is in front of the Sabres net and eventually in the net.  I never thought this way in the past and I WANTED to like him, and I did initially, but with my own eyes I just see someone who, despite his physical talent, causes a lot harm in the Sabres own zone by just doing dumb things over and over and over.

To be honest, I think he got a little better last year, but the few years before that he was brutal in his own zone.

Edited by mjd1001
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A narrative has grown up around Risto that started with analytics and was cemented by Sabres disappointment.

It’s not wrong, just exaggerated to the point that some people simply dismiss his offensive game, and his ability to win one-on-one battles. His overall package isn’t the franchise D his coaches have consistently used him as, but it is way above the shielded 3rd pairing guy his detractors “generously” concede.

He was as bad as his haters think he is in the 2nd half of Housley’s last year.

He was pretty good last year.

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On 12/5/2020 at 5:40 PM, nfreeman said:

Beat me to it.  AZ needs to either carry 3 goalies or unload one of them.  I suppose this is one of those situations that could be affected by the resolution of the roster size issue -- i.e. if there is no AHL season and NHL teams are allowed to maintain larger rosters, the pressure on AZ to unload a goalie will disappear.  That is probably one of the main reasons AZ hasn't made a move yet.

The good news on this front is that from what's being said, the 'taxi squad' that teams will be allowed to carry is likely going to effectively be an extension of the AHL team.  Which gives teams the benefit of only paying AHL salaries, and would also mean those players would have to go through waivers.

Of course, none of that is finalized.

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53 minutes ago, dudacek said:

A narrative has grown up around Risto that started with analytics and was cemented by Sabres disappointment.

It’s not wrong, just exaggerated to the point that some people simply dismiss his offensive game, and his ability to win one-on-one battles. His overall package isn’t the franchise D his coaches have consistently used him as, but it is way above the shielded 3rd pairing guy his detractors “generously” concede.

He was as bad as his haters think he is in the 2nd half of Housley’s last year.

He was pretty good last year.

I agree that the disappointment is exaggerated.  Wouldn't surprise me at all that if you could go back and attach analytics to Zhitnick's game he'd be hated as well.  Bodger too. 

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55 minutes ago, dudacek said:

A narrative has grown up around Risto that started with analytics and was cemented by Sabres disappointment.

It’s not wrong, just exaggerated to the point that some people simply dismiss his offensive game, and his ability to win one-on-one battles. His overall package isn’t the franchise D his coaches have consistently used him as, but it is way above the shielded 3rd pairing guy his detractors “generously” concede.

He was as bad as his haters think he is in the 2nd half of Housley’s last year.

He was pretty good last year.

Risto is a second pairing defenseman. He's not a first pairing player but that is fine with me. Krueger seems to like him a lot especially for his physical presence that is lacking with most of the other members of the unit. (McCabe is the other defenseman who plays with some jam.) The key to maximizing his usage is to play him a little less and to simplify his game. Stating the obvious Risto is physical and not cerebral. The one area where I would like to see him used more is on the PP but not at the point. The few times he was used as a body in front of the net he was disruptive and gave the unit some jam. 

I don't understand the overstated criticism of him. I like him as a player when he is playing in a role that he is suited for. With the collection of players that we have in the unit the coaching staff should be able to put together three pairings that spread the playing time around more. That lighter load will result in more production for him relative to the playing time. The players that I want to step up on the unit are Miller and Montour. 

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40 minutes ago, JohnC said:

Risto is a second pairing defenseman. He's not a first pairing player but that is fine with me. Krueger seems to like him a lot especially for his physical presence that is lacking with most of the other members of the unit. (McCabe is the other defenseman who plays with some jam.) The key to maximizing his usage is to play him a little less and to simplify his game. Stating the obvious Risto is physical and not cerebral. The one area where I would like to see him used more is on the PP but not at the point. The few times he was used as a body in front of the net he was disruptive and gave the unit some jam. 

I don't understand the overstated criticism of him. I like him as a player when he is playing in a role that he is suited for. With the collection of players that we have in the unit the coaching staff should be able to put together three pairings that spread the playing time around more. That lighter load will result in more production for him relative to the playing time. The players that I want to step up on the unit are Miller and Montour. 

Which is what Ralph did: 22 minutes instead of 26. Risto is a horse, not a 16-minute a night guy.

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3 hours ago, dudacek said:

A narrative has grown up around Risto that started with analytics and was cemented by Sabres disappointment.

It’s not wrong, just exaggerated to the point that some people simply dismiss his offensive game, and his ability to win one-on-one battles. His overall package isn’t the franchise D his coaches have consistently used him as, but it is way above the shielded 3rd pairing guy his detractors “generously” concede.

He was as bad as his haters think he is in the 2nd half of Housley’s last year.

He was pretty good last year.

Ristolainen does a lot of things well.  The primary issues he has are he gets lost against a strong cycle & also can find himself covering the wrong man/ wrong space when the other team is developing a strong net front presence or is on the PP.  He also is not particularly effective at getting the puck out of the zone.  

So, if possible, he shouldn't be spending the bulk of his time against the other team's top line.  He also shouldn't be paired with Dahlin until Rasmus the Younger demonstrates that he can be good enough in his own end to settle Rasmus the Elder down so he doesn't go off running around like an ox that the kill shot wasn't effective on.

But, he's strong, quick for his size, good 1 on 1, good in front of the net (barring those situations already mentioned), is OK/good at odd man rushes, is reasonably effective keeping at keeping the puck in at the BL, and for a D-man has a good shot and passes well in the offensive zone, and has the stamina of an ox.

Give him 22 minutes primarily against the other team's 2nd & 3rd lines and with a defensively responsible partner like McCabe and he's going to be really useful.  Give him 26 minutes with a bulk of them against the other team's top line & get used to watching him crosscheck the goal scorer right after he scores again. 

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4 hours ago, dudacek said:

A narrative has grown up around Risto that started with analytics and was cemented by Sabres disappointment.

It’s not wrong, just exaggerated to the point that some people simply dismiss his offensive game, and his ability to win one-on-one battles. His overall package isn’t the franchise D his coaches have consistently used him as, but it is way above the shielded 3rd pairing guy his detractors “generously” concede.

He was as bad as his haters think he is in the 2nd half of Housley’s last year.

He was pretty good last year.

This always rankles me. One side isn't a narrative while the other is accurate. It depends on what one chooses to focus on. This take also focuses on analytics specifically yet again and ignores the eye-test - the same eye test where Risto performs, I suppose well for you, but I don't see it. I see mistakes, turnovers, poor hockey sense. Of course there's the possibility my vision is influenced somewhat by my understanding of the numbers and personal bias, but I don't see why that wouldn't apply, to both sides. 

He's an average second pair D who isn't given close to that usage. 

IMO he's far, far closer to 3rd pair ideally than "franchise D". 

Edited by Thorny
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3 minutes ago, Thorny said:

This always rankles me. One side isn't a narrative while the other is accurate. It depends on what one chooses to focus on. This take also focuses on analytics specifically yet again and ignores the eye-test - the same eye test where Risto performs, I suppose well for you, but I don't see it. I see mistakes, turnovers, poor hockey sense. Of course there's the possibility my vision is influenced somewhat by my understanding of the numbers and personal bias, but I don't see why that wouldn't apply, to both sides. 

He's an average second pair D who isn't given close to that usage. 

IMO he's far, far close to 3rd pair ideally than "franchise D". 

Using "narrative" to describe mere opinions on this site pisses me off too.  It's such a negative connotation whose only purpose really is to minimalize and marginalize an opinion.  Noone here is building an agenda.  They're just making their opinion known.  It's a ***** word to use because it trivializes opinions here.  I'd like to see it autocorrcted out, frankly.

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1 minute ago, Thorny said:

This always rankles me. One side isn't a narrative while the other is accurate. It depends on what one chooses to focus on. 

He's an average second pair D who isn't given close to that usage. 

IMO he's far, far close to 3rd pair ideally than "franchise D". 

Should he ever get appropriate usage, IMHO, he's a GOOD 2nd pairing D-man that can log enough minutes (along w/ Dahlin's expected minute munching) that can allow a team to have an effective 6 man unit with 6/7's on the 3rd pairing rather than 4/5's as those 3rd pairing guys could be getting as few as 12 but likely ~16 minutes each which those tweeners should be able to handle.

To your last comment, in fairness, except for Dahlin that could describe any of the current Sabres D.

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4 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Should he ever get appropriate usage, IMHO, he's a GOOD 2nd pairing D-man that can log enough minutes (along w/ Dahlin's expected minute munching) that can allow a team to have an effective 6 man unit with 6/7's on the 3rd pairing rather than 4/5's as those 3rd pairing guys could be getting as few as 12 but likely ~16 minutes each which those tweeners should be able to handle.

To your last comment, in fairness, except for Dahlin that could describe any of the current Sabres D.

I can see this being possible. 

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36 minutes ago, Thorny said:

This always rankles me. One side isn't a narrative while the other is accurate. It depends on what one chooses to focus on. This take also focuses on analytics specifically yet again and ignores the eye-test - the same eye test where Risto performs, I suppose well for you, but I don't see it. I see mistakes, turnovers, poor hockey sense. Of course there's the possibility my vision is influenced somewhat by my understanding of the numbers and personal bias, but I don't see why that wouldn't apply, to both sides. 

He's an average second pair D who isn't given close to that usage. 

IMO he's far, far closer to 3rd pair ideally than "franchise D". 

 

30 minutes ago, Weave said:

Using "narrative" to describe mere opinions on this site pisses me off too.  It's such a negative connotation whose only purpose really is to minimalize and marginalize an opinion.  Noone here is building an agenda.  They're just making their opinion known.  It's a ***** word to use because it trivializes opinions here.  I'd like to see it autocorrcted out, frankly.

Apologies to both of you.

I was using narrative in that sense to describe “an opinion widely accepted as true by those who haven’t looked at a situation too closely.”

Thorny thinking Risto is a 3rd pairing defenceman isn’t a narrative. It’s his opinion formed by his close examination of the facts.

@LeafLicker91’s opinion that Risto is terrible because he watched him bait his favourite team three times a year and he sees three-year-old tweets about Risto’s terrible analytics as a great opportunity to troll the Sabres fanbase, then that opinion getting picked up and amplified on the internet so often that casual fans begin to accept it as true is a narrative.

What word would be better used?

Edited by dudacek
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13 minutes ago, dudacek said:

 

Apologies to both of you.

I was using narrative in that sense to describe “an opinion widely accepted as true by those who haven’t looked at a situation too closely.”

Thorny thinking Risto is a 3rd pairing defenceman isn’t a narrative. It’s his opinion formed by his close examination of the facts.

@LeafLicker91’s opinion that Risto is terrible because he watched him bait his favourite team three times a year and he sees three-year-old tweets about Risto’s terrible analytics as a great opportunity to troll the Sabres fanbase, then that opinion getting picked up and amplified on the internet so often that casual fans begin to accept it as true is a narrative.

What word would be better used?

Ideal 3rd pair, but average 2nd pair, to be fair. 

No apology needed, though, I know you were using it in the broader sense I just dislike it in general. And it's not like I've never used the word, either. 

- - - 

I dunno what word you could use but what you are referring to I'd define as less a "narrative" (which, to me, inherently implies a bit of untruth) and more so a case of mob-mentality where people latch onto a viewpoint without doing the research themselves - I'm sure some would come down on the opposite side of the coin, one way or the other, if they did so. I agree the discussion isn't well served by bandwagon jumping. 

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1 hour ago, Thorny said:

Ideal 3rd pair, but average 2nd pair, to be fair. 

- - - 

I dunno what word you could use but what you are referring to I'd define as less a "narrative" (which, to me, inherently implies a bit of untruth) and more so a case of mob-mentality where people latch onto a viewpoint without doing the research themselves - 

Narrative: definition: a spoken or written account of connected events; a story. No where in the definition does it imply an untruth or mob mentality etc....

As for Risto being a 3rd pairing DMan, please explain to me why all 4 of his NHL coaches since his rookie year has he led the team in TOI? Why hasn't the generational, future Norris trophy winner not been able to get more TOI than him which of course implies that he's not as good yet. Eichel has been the admitted best forward on the team and he gets the most TOI at that position accordingly so why would professional coaches who forgot more about hockey than anyone on this site knows play Risto the most? Just asking before my head explodes... 😀😀

 
 
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1 hour ago, jsb said:

Narrative: definition: a spoken or written account of connected events; a story. No where in the definition does it imply an untruth or mob mentality etc....

As for Risto being a 3rd pairing DMan, please explain to me why all 4 of his NHL coaches since his rookie year has he led the team in TOI? Why hasn't the generational, future Norris trophy winner not been able to get more TOI than him which of course implies that he's not as good yet. Eichel has been the admitted best forward on the team and he gets the most TOI at that position accordingly so why would professional coaches who forgot more about hockey than anyone on this site knows play Risto the most? Just asking before my head explodes... 😀😀

 
 

The very fact "story" is included in the definition implies the allowance for bias: all stories vary depending on who's doing the telling. 

Also, u mad bro? Lol 

Get outa here with your "please explain to me"s. You are welcome to your view of him as a player, I'm not in your grill asking you to account for why his metrics say he's terrible. 

The "how could you have the gall to disagree with the pros?" take is beyond tired. If that's the case we might as well fold up shop. 

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1 hour ago, jsb said:

Narrative: definition: a spoken or written account of connected events; a story. No where in the definition does it imply an untruth or mob mentality etc....

😀

 
 

I guess if you stop at the first definition you can narrowly define it.


The 3rd bullet is: a representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values, with a given example, "the coalition's carefully constructed narrative about its sensitivity to recession victims".

In this definition there is a strong implication of bending facts to conform to a predisposition.  Regardless, it's a lazy way to respond to a post as it marginalizes the post as intrinsically insincere.

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