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Can the Sabres make the Playoffs In this new division?


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50 minutes ago, Thorny said:

And a backup goalie. 

And better dmen 

It's not enough to improve - we need to make the playoffs, anything short of that is an objective fail, and I think we need at least the tender to make that realistic. 

Considering the Division. 

- - - 

We have Hall for 56 games. Jack is unhappy. It is crucial we make it this season. That's really it, IMO. I think we *can* make it, I probably have more optimism than most in this regard (I think the forwards potentially stack up against pretty much anyone) - but I don't think it's very likely at all without further moves. Or, really, at least 1. 

I see us only being that move or 2 away - I don't think the schedule/opponents is going to be quite as tough as people think, I expect we'd hang around with the roster as is. To me though it's about achieving the goal at this point. 

We don't need better defenders. Our defenders were good at shot suppression. We needed better forwards and added 3 maybe 4 with Cozens.

Edited by LGR4GM
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1 hour ago, LGR4GM said:

The Sabres were excellent at limiting chances. Ullmark has that sv% because we had the literal worst pk ever. Again, I'm not worried about goaltending. 

Since this got a confused look, the Sabres pk was something like 1090th out 1095 pks tracked going back to the 70s. The pk was a passive dumpster, Ullmark was not the problem. Further the Sabres defense was i think 10th in shot suppression so again the defense isn't bad, especially 5v5.

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15 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

Since this got a confused look, the Sabres pk was something like 1090th out 1095 pks tracked going back to the 70s. The pk was a passive dumpster, Ullmark was not the problem. Further the Sabres defense was i think 10th in shot suppression so again the defense isn't bad, especially 5v5.

Agreed. I think there has been a tendency around the internet to dismiss the Sabres defence corps going into the season as “bad” when they objectively weren’t according to the measurables.

Also, player for player, the Sabres D stacks up pretty well against the other bluelines in the division.

Justin Schultz and Brendan Dillon are not clearly better than Jake McCabe and Brandon Montour. Neither are Mike Matheson and Cody Ceci, or Thomas Hickey and Adam Pelech.

Yes, we do need Dahlin to take a step to match with the Carlsons and Letangs

Edited by dudacek
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45 minutes ago, LGR4GM said:

We don't need better defenders. Our defenders were good at shot suppression. We needed better forwards and added 3 maybe 4 with Cozens.

I think a lot of this was system. Which I expect to change due to our forward alterations. 

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1 hour ago, LGR4GM said:

Since this got a confused look, the Sabres pk was something like 1090th out 1095 pks tracked going back to the 70s. The pk was a passive dumpster, Ullmark was not the problem. Further the Sabres defense was i think 10th in shot suppression so again the defense isn't bad, especially 5v5.

It got a "confused" look because you ended with "im not worried about the goaltending" and the backup goaltender is a part of that. 

Which is currently a massive weakness, as much as our rose-coloured offseason glasses are taking over this time of year. Like they do every year this time of year, relative to season start. 

I get it. 

But there are no small problems. None can be swept under the rug because, quite frankly, the margin for error for what we must achieve is so slim. Forward upgrades or not, I don't think that's going to be enough to get us into the playoffs, in this division, with a run-back of the same back-8 from last year. I don't think it's enough to bridge the gap. 

I'm grading on a steep curve, here. It's necessary if the goal is actually a serious one, IMO.

Edited by Thorny
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Is it possible ... possible ... that because the team in front of the goaltending duo of Ullmark and Hutton has improved overall since KA took over (who has argued it hasn’t), that the goaltenders will look better? That the goals against will drop. Even a little. And that’s IF those  goaltenders are the same as last season. Not to mention IF IF Ullmark and Hutton improve/develop and are better in their position as last year.
 

I think that’s possible....

And IF that’s possible... there’s a good possibility (baring long injuries to the top 2 lines) that the Sabres get to the playoffs.

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17 hours ago, Brawndo said:

I think it comes down to two things, goaltending and Krueger’s Player Usage. 
 

Hopefully the dominoes fall correctly so they can make a move for a goalie as TW outlined. 
 

The other issue, revolves around Ralph and what he does with His Players. 
Does He load up the top line Hall-Eichel-Reinhart, There by weakening the other forward lines. 
Or does he balance things out and have Reinhart play down the lineup? 

Hall-Eichel-xxx

Skinner-Staal-Cozens

Olofsson-Eakin-Reinhart 

Zemgus-Lazar/R2-Okposo

 

xxx- Thompson, Reider, Zemgus or Okposo  Yes Zemgus and Okposo are slow but they would provide defense and are good retrieving the puck in defensive zone. If they can move it to Hall or Eichel on a break out, goal scoring should increase. 

 

Lines 2 and 3 would get equal minutes and Reinhart would move to the Top Line for least minute of the period or in the third if trailing. 

Does he expect Risto and Montour to be the top pairing again, or does he continue to increase Dahlin’s Ice Time and have His pairing take over. 
 

Is it the personnel on the PK or is it coaching. They certainly tried to fix the former, but kept the same coaches.
 

Put Jack and Hall out in the last 30 secs of a PK,  play Dahlin with His Puck Moving ability on the PK more
 

Can they go on a 10 game winning streak for the third season in a row. This year with only 56 games that would be very beneficial and probably give them enough cushion to at least be very close to playoff spot at the end of the season. 
 

I think it comes down to goaltending and player deployment. 

Why put a 4th liner on our top line?  Don't get that.

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34 minutes ago, Thorny said:

I think a lot of this was system. Which I expect to change due to our forward alterations. 

I would be very surprised and disappointed if the system changed at all 5-on-5. Ralph put too much emphasis on teaching it last year and made too many references to the players needing to be able to play it without thinking.

I think the off-season was about acquiring forwards to better fit the system, not forwards that will allow him to change the system.

Teaching a new system in  a short camp for an abbreviated season would hurt our playoff chances more than not adding a goalie, IMO, 

32 minutes ago, Thorny said:

 

Which is currently a massive weakness, as much as everyone's rose coloured offseason glasses are taking over this time of year. Like they do every year this time of year, relative to season start. 

No. You don’t understand that he’s changed.

Things are going to be different this time.

 

😜

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1 hour ago, dudacek said:

Agreed. I think there has been a tendency around the internet to dismiss the Sabres defence corps going into the season as “bad” when they objectively weren’t according to the measurables.

Also, player for player, the Sabres D stacks up pretty well against the other bluelines in the division.

Justin Schultz and Brendan Dillon are not clearly better than Jake McCabe and Brandon Montour. Neither are Mike Matheson and Cody Ceci, or Thomas Hickey and Adam Pelech.

Yes, we do need Dahlin to take a step to match with the Carlsons and Letangs

This is one of the reasons I think Dahlin’s development is the key to the season (Jokiharju also for that matter).  I think the defense is actually good.  There are no members of the top 6 that are bad players.  All add positives overall despite some negatives in their games.  When Colin Miller is your worst D, you have a solid group.  

But Dahlin’s development is the key.  He becomes elite, it changes the entire dynamic of the team on both ends.  

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3 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I would be very surprised and disappointed if the system changed at all 5-on-5. Ralph put too much emphasis on teaching it last year and made too many references to the players needing to be able to play it without thinking.

I think the off-season was about acquiring forwards to better fit the system, not forwards that will allow him to change the system.

Teaching a new system in  a short camp for an abbreviated season would hurt our playoff chances more than not adding a goalie, IMO, 

No. You don’t understand that he’s changed.

Things are going to be different this time.

 

😜

I'm still thinking they move to a more aggressive style. So much of that from Ralph is coach-speak. With the forwards we have, I expect change, but Ralph in general is another source of anxiety. If he doesn't change the way he deploys his players within that system, we are in trouble regardless. 

If Risto continues getting paired with Eichel, and getting top pair minutes, that would hurt our playoff chances more than not adding a goalie, OR changing the system, IMO. 

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5 minutes ago, klos1963 said:

Why put a 4th liner on our top line?  Don't get that.

The LOG line was very good at maintaining puck possession in the opponent’s zone while on the ice. Both Zemgus and Okposo are known for winning puck battles down low on the boards, the issue is that puck then was passed to Larsson, Zamgus or Okposo. If one of two who remains on the Sabres is able to do the same, those passes will end up on Hall or Eichel’s Stick increasing the chance of their efforts resulting in a goal. 

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5 minutes ago, Thorny said:

I'm still thinking they move to a more aggressive style. So much of that from Ralph is coach-speak. With the forwards we have, I expect change, but Ralph in general is another source of anxiety. If he doesn't change the way he deploys his players within that system, we are in trouble regardless. 

If Risto continues getting paired with Eichel, and getting top pair minutes, that would hurt our playoff chances more than not adding a goalie, OR changing the system, IMO. 

This is the biggest question going into the season because it’s recipe for disaster. 
 

 

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13 minutes ago, Brawndo said:

This is the biggest question going into the season because it’s recipe for disaster. 
 

 

The 56 game season may be one factor working in their favor along with then getting an extra couple of weeks of practice. Get off to a fast start. Boston for one, could be missing a few key pieces early along with counting on a goalie who done think quit on them.

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32 minutes ago, Brawndo said:

The LOG line was very good at maintaining puck possession in the opponent’s zone while on the ice. Both Zemgus and Okposo are known for winning puck battles down low on the boards, the issue is that puck then was passed to Larsson, Zamgus or Okposo. If one of two who remains on the Sabres is able to do the same, those passes will end up on Hall or Eichel’s Stick increasing the chance of their efforts resulting in a goal. 

I would rather have a talented scorer on the wing. Take advantage of Eichel and Hall as linemates. It's possible Okposo can score a bit more because he has offensive skills, but I'm not concerned about having a 'mucker' on the line. Eichel is great at puck possession on his own.

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16 minutes ago, I-90 W said:

I think we should manage our expectations. If we finish 5th or 6th by a small margin I will be very proud of our team and will have been thoroughly entertained. 

cecliy strong episode 4 GIF by Saturday Night Live

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1 minute ago, I-90 W said:

^ If you’re going to be disappointed with anything other than 4th place, consider it done. What I’m hoping for is entertaining hockey and a big improvement.

Anything other than the playoffs is a complete failure by the coaching staff and GM. 

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You are what your record is; you can only play your schedule; all of it - the Sabres are at no disadvantage relative to the other 7 teams in their division, and 50% make the playoffs. 

Our best shot at a Cup is in his prime. Playoffs is the bar right now, at minimum. 

And none of that even blames KA for the previous regime failures. And btw, we match the all-time playoff drought if we miss. 

No excuses! It can be done. 

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6 minutes ago, thewookie1 said:

A straight up .500 record gives us a good opportunity to make it. With everything being in-division, if we split with everyone the worst we can do is 5th. 

I don’t think this is correct — ie I think it’s possible for #s 7 and 8 to do so poorly that the Sabres could split with everyone and finish in 6th.  But I’d be interested in seeing the calculations if anyone is so inclined.  

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