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Fixing the Sabres Long-Term - Can it be done?


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13 minutes ago, tom webster said:

Arenas will be full by October. Cap will be up after next year. KO will have one year left. Halls will be a 5 year deal max.

 

9 minutes ago, Brawndo said:

If necessary vaccine passports can help with getting people into the stands. 
 

Hall is an elite player, they usually do not drop off as quickly.

In terms of Staal I’m not ready to write him off just yet. He admitted last night he is traditionally a slow starter, let’s give Him to some more time. 

Vaccine passports I'm sure will be required but who is to say the vaccines will save people from the mutating virus?  My guess is the vaccines will more likely become a annual Covid shot, like the current annual flu shot.  Some kind of instant test is the more likely solution and that could be years away.     The NHL is scheduled to lose about $1 billion this year without the fans.  The cap is unlikely going anywhere for years to come as the club recover financially.  

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21 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

 

Vaccine passports I'm sure will be required but who is to say the vaccines will save people from the mutating virus?  My guess is the vaccines will more likely become a annual Covid shot, like the current annual flu shot.  Some kind of instant test is the more likely solution and that could be years away.     The NHL is scheduled to lose about $1 billion this year without the fans.  The cap is unlikely going anywhere for years to come as the club recover financially.  

The Cap will go up before 2021/2022 season. The actual losses won’t be anywhere near projections. 
Either way, they don’t need cap to rise in order to afford Sam and Taylor. 

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1 hour ago, tom webster said:

This organization is fine and set up to be even better in the coming years. No drastic changes needed. Both Sam and Hall will be here long term unless Sam is traded for a top defenseman.

 So for say the next 5 years or so, you are okay with a forward core consisting of Eichel, Reinhart, Hall & Skinner totaling ~35mil in cap hit, plus KO for two more years after this year with a 6 mil cap hit?

This is your leadership group...if so, I'm not sold on the plan.

 

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27 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

 

Vaccine passports I'm sure will be required but who is to say the vaccines will save people from the mutating virus?  My guess is the vaccines will more likely become a annual Covid shot, like the current annual flu shot.  Some kind of instant test is the more likely solution and that could be years away.     The NHL is scheduled to lose about $1 billion this year without the fans.  The cap is unlikely going anywhere for years to come as the club recover financially.  

It’s expected to become an annual vaccine for the foreseeable future but eventually it will be as easy to get a Covid Vaccine as it is to get a flu vaccine. It will also depend on the prevalence of of the disease it the time, low rates in a given region or if 75 to 80 percent of the population is immunized herd immunity would be achieved. Full buildings by October is a very achievable goal

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Question, if I may.

What makes you think guys like Eichel, Reinhart and Risto are going to stick around past this season as it falters yet again? And I'm not talking solely about your rebuild idea, but the honest question fans, and the organization for that matter, should be asking is at what point do these guys (1 of which has already said he wants out, Risto, another with rumblings of "tired of losing) say I've had enough and demand to be moved.

I'm going to say this now, and it wont be popular I know, but if this team falters this season, Eichel, Risto and Reinhart are demanding out. That is my humbled opinion, and, it has some merit to be considered reasonable given the recent past comments of a couple of those players. 

Therefore, I do not believe KA has the clock to "evaluate the organization" nor should he need it given the fact he's been a part of it.

As for management changes, sure, why not. But as of now, in the view I have over these past 5 years or so, the Sabres are on the clock, and the clock is nearing the end of its countdown.

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6 minutes ago, Scottysabres said:

Question, if I may.

What makes you think guys like Eichel, Reinhart and Risto are going to stick around past this season as it falters yet again? And I'm not talking solely about your rebuild idea, but the honest question fans, and the organization for that matter, should be asking is at what point do these guys (1 of which has already said he wants out, Risto, another with rumblings of "tired of losing) say I've had enough and demand to be moved.

I'm going to say this now, and it wont be popular I know, but if this team falters this season, Eichel, Risto and Reinhart are demanding out. That is my humbled opinion, and, it has some merit to be considered reasonable given the recent past comments of a couple of those players. 

Therefore, I do not believe KA has the clock to "evaluate the organization" nor should he need it given the fact he's been a part of it.

As for management changes, sure, why not. But as of now, in the view I have over these past 5 years or so, the Sabres are on the clock, and the clock is nearing the end of its countdown.

and I thought I was negative.  

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Since 2015, 3 gm's, 4 coaches.

23, 26, 31, 27, 25 in overall standings.

Eichel, Reinhardt, Ristolainen, McCabe, Ullmark are the only constant for the last 5 seasons plus. Something is rotten with this core. I would have no problem trading any of these players. What have they done? Really can't get any worse at this point. They need respected experienced people in the front office. 

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2 hours ago, Thorny said:

Players can waive for the purposes of expansion draft, correct?

They can waive for any reason they would like actually.  Its possible Skinner gets sick of the 4th line and requests a trade.  He could be traded, this is the NHL and crazy things are possible.  The probability of it happening is slim.  I think there's a better chance Okposo is "moved". 

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11 minutes ago, Ogelthorpe said:

Since 2015, 3 gm's, 4 coaches.

23, 26, 31, 27, 25 in overall standings.

Eichel, Reinhardt, Ristolainen, McCabe, Ullmark are the only constant for the last 5 seasons plus. Something is rotten with this core. I would have no problem trading any of these players. What have they done? Really can't get any worse at this point. They need respected experienced people in the front office. 

Not an unreasonable assessment.

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18 minutes ago, Ogelthorpe said:

Since 2015, 3 gm's, 4 coaches.

23, 26, 31, 27, 25 in overall standings.

Eichel, Reinhardt, Ristolainen, McCabe, Ullmark are the only constant for the last 5 seasons plus. Something is rotten with this core. I would have no problem trading any of these players. What have they done? Really can't get any worse at this point. They need respected experienced people in the front office. 

Should be noted we acquired and starting playing those guys prominently very close to the time we scorched the earth the organization stands on in the name of a tank and salted the ground just to be sure we'd succeed in said aim. 

Whether through overall team wide lack of talent, or leadership, constant management turnover, what have you, those players have had to battle back from quite a hole. 

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I really don't need to hear ever again that the system or the coaches are "killing Dahlin." In my opinion it's nonsense. If he wants to be an actual NHL defensemen, guess what, he's going to have to learn how to play in an actual system. He is a 20 year old gifted defensemen who is struggling.

You know what a sixteen year old defensemen should also know what not to do, leave a guy alone on the backdoor twice. That's not system. That's hockey.

 

I think I'm leaning more toward TW here. The guys who know how to score are going to remember how to score again and we'll be okay.

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1 minute ago, SwampD said:

I really don't need to hear ever again that the system or the coaches are "killing Dahlin." In my opinion it's nonsense. If he wants to be an actual NHL defensemen, guess what, he's going to have to learn how to play in an actual system. He is a 20 year old gifted defensemen who is struggling.

You know what a sixteen year old defensemen should also know what not to do, leave a guy alone on the backdoor twice. That's not system. That's hockey.

 

I think I'm leaning more toward TW here. The guys who know how to score are going to remember how to score again and we'll be okay.

Agreed.  it's interesting right?  Middlestadt's failures are all his but Dahlin's are all the coach?  The plays that Dahlin are screwing up are not system plays, they are hockey plays that skilled hockey players make. He's not making them right now and it's beginning to snowball on him.  I think they would have left him in the game but smashing his stick on the ice and falling over while doing it was a great indicator that he's completely off.  It's a bit of a joke but also true. 

Do I think Dahlin will be better?  I sure do... which is why I suggested they need to remove him from the ice so fans aren't losing their mind over it. It's a two part story.. is Dahlin playing like absolute garbage?  Yes.  Is Dahling absolute garbage at D? No.

Jack Eichel also scores goals... but not right now.

All of that aside.. they aren't winning and this isn't a year for moral victories.

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11 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Do we need to rebuild every time a team plays decent hockey over a five-game stretch but only gets 3 points?

That’s the problem. Your ok with bad results  as long as you see some effort.  That can’t be the standard any longer.  We need actual results.  

The rebuild is necessary because even with new forwards the results are the same.  Something is wrong with the whole organization.

Also they didn’t lose because of bad puck luck.  They lost because they didn’t get enough good scoring chances and they let in bad goals.  This isn’t a winning formula and it’s the same losing formula from last year.

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Get a goaltender.  That's how it gets fixed.  All this "you can win with an average goaltender" nonsense from the last ten years is just that, nonsense.  And I'm not sure the Sabres even have an average goaltender.

Oh, I'd love it if the "Miller is mediocre" crowd came back having learned their lesson.

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9 minutes ago, Eleven said:

Get a goaltender.  That's how it gets fixed.  All this "you can win with an average goaltender" nonsense from the last ten years is just that, nonsense.  And I'm not sure the Sabres even have an average goaltender.

Oh, I'd love it if the "Miller is mediocre" crowd came back having learned their lesson.

Yep and it needed to be done over the off-season.  Now is almost to late.

By the way I wrote this on Mar 9 2020 in the off-season game plan thread.

Quote

Goaltending - When Ullmark played this is a playoff team, when Hutton plays it isn’t.  Simple.  Hutton needs to go.  Johansson isn’t the solution.  We need to find a guy who can step in and give us at least Ullmark quality goaltending for 30-40 games. Who that is, I have no idea, but there will be ample FA goalies this off-season.  

I also wrote

Quote

I’ve stepped away for a few week or so to deal with some work and family situations. Most of those are now resolved and I look up to see my Sabres playing tough, but without finish or goaltending thus dooming the season and probably leading to some significant change again this off-season.

Rinse, Wash, Repeat.  Playing tough, without finish or goaltending is meaningless.

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4 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

We all know the Sabres are a swimmer in the ocean holding on to a life raft and trying to stay afloat.  TP got lucky that the Bills have become excellent because they got the right guys in charge.  I just finished an Athletic article on McDermott and what a great hire.

However building a football organization is much easier then building a hockey one.  No guaranteed contracts, drafting mature players who you expect to step right in etc....

The question right now is whether this "rebuild" of the Sabres 3.0 is salvageable?  I think it is, but I'm not sure KA is up to the task, but he is so raw who knows.  He certainly is no Beane experience wise.  That doesn't mean he can't succeed, but it makes it that much harder.  The team just doesn't have enough talent up front and in goal to win on talent alone.  They also don't have a coaching staff or enough experienced players steeped in winning to help them all buy in.

Short-term we need playoff caliber goaltending for the next 3 years.  UPL maybe the future or even Portillo, but that is years away.  Ullmark is a solid NHL goalie, but his terrible save % on the PK gives me serious pause.  I actually want MAF.  He is a proven winner and leader.  Right now Staal is the only one we have.

We also need to hope that the kids come in and make a difference over the next 2 years.  Samuelsson, Johnson, Bryson, Cozens, Quinn, JJP and others step up quicker then expected helping to salvage this mess.

However internal prospects won't be enough.  We need the guys to stop being soft and I have the first part of the solution.  I'm bucking RK upstairs.  His D system has done a great job of suppressing the opponents opportunities, but his special teams and offense are awful.  He also has them playing soft.  He also is killing Dahlin by to much structure and not enough creativity.  As a team, to much perimeter and not enough forechecking.  The solution is easy.  Hire Mike Grier to coach this team.  He isn't soft, has received excellent reviews as an Ast Coach, is part of the Sabres family, and understands how to build a winning environment. If he coaches as he played, relentless, this team will change in a hurry for the positive.  

I'm also trading Hall at the deadline to get more depth in the organization up front.  I'm not investing another long-term deal in a 30 ish player.  Outside Jack, Cozens and maybe Reinhart, are their any true core pieces in our forward group?  I'm also taking a page out of the McDermott playbook and deciding to trade away any guys who aren't committed to winning.  DR let Ruff and Drury set that new tone.  MAF and Grier can change the tone here.  So far I've seen only 3 Sabres who have put forth real effort all 5 games; Lazar, McCabe and Risto.  That's it.

Identifying who to keep and who to let go is hard and this is where KA's inexperience hurts us.  IMHO there are only 4-7 players on this team that I want long-term and a couple I'd be fine with keeping.  They are Dahlin, Risto (really), Cozens and Jack.  I'm fine with Reinhart and Jokiharju, if he makes progress also, and possibly McCabe. I want to get faster and more physical.  

The first step is playing the kids as soon as we are truly out of the playoff picture, which should be soon.  R2 and Mitts need a long look see this season to see if we have anything there.  I might even throw Quinn in for 6 games or so to see how he does.  I'm probably also recalling Bryson and Samuelsson to give them a taste of the NHL and see how they react.  

Other then the core guys mentioned earlier, I'm done with most everyone else including VO.  I'm buying out KO after this season.  I'm trading Hall as I mentioned earlier, unless I can find a taker for Skinner.  I'm hoping (giving them an incentive) Seattle takes Miller off our hands.  I'm extending Risto because we need a physical presence and his improvement over the last season plus is remarkable.  I may extend McCabe, because we have no else like him and he meshes well with Risto.  I'm keeping Ullmark for now to learn from MAF and also to balance PT.  Everyone else, trade or let walk.  I'm also only taking FAs if I can from winning organizations.  I know this doesn't guarantee anything (see Conor Sheary), but at least they understand the buy in to succeed.  

The truth is this season is probably no longer about a playoff birth.  It's about KA evaluating the organization top to bottom, from RK down to the 4th liners in Rochester.  If he is honest with himself, he'll probably see what I see, a few good pieces that need to be kept and taught to win and the rest that can be flushed away.

There is a reason that there are no Bills drafted players on the Bills that weren't drafted by McDermott, that there are 12 ex Panthers on this team and that Jerry Hughes is the only holdover from the previous administration.

This is a comprehensive and excellent analysis. But from an overview standpoint I disagree with it. Like you, I am disappointed from a record standpoint at how this season has started off. But with the exception of the first game the Sabres have on balance played evenly with the opposition. The outcomes didn't translate into wins but the difference between the competing teams were nearly indistinguishable. If that is an accurate description of the situation then why would you want to blow up the organization when the competitive differences as exhibited so far are rather miniscule. Make no mistake what I'm saying here. This roster has deficiencies that need to be addressed. But the solution is not to dramatically teardown in order to restart the extended period of rebuilding again. In my view, and certainly not in your view, we are beyond the major reconstruction stage. Without question there still needs to be some reshuffling of players but not to the extent that you are proposing. 

My suggestion to you is to be a little more patient and see how things play out. Another suggestion I have is to stay away from open windows in tall buildings . You might become so exasperated with this team that you might be tempted to do something irrational in order forever end this self-induced pain. 

One issue that I strenuously disagree with you is your recommendation to trade Hall at the deadline. What do you expect to get for him when he will be an UFA next year? It's still early in the season but from what I have already seen from him I believe he has a lot to offer. 

My leanings are more @tom websterthan toward your dour inclinations. 

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3 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

That’s the problem. Your ok with bad results  as long as you see some effort.  That can’t be the standard any longer.  We need actual results.  They didn’t lose because of bad puck luck.  They lost because they didn’t get enough good scoring chances and they let in bad goals.  This isn’t a winning formula.

I’m not OK with bad results.

And I am not just seeing effort, I’m seeing a team that is creating chances and limiting chances.

I believe that Skinner Eichel and Hall are probably going to combine for more than 1 goal in most five game stretches, and when that happens we will go 3-1-1 instead of 1-3-1.

I don’t know if this team is going to make the playoffs, but so far they have looked to me like they are capable of making the playoffs.

Yesterday they didn’t lose because they were soft, or listless, or the same old Sabres, or any other tiresome BS that dominated the game day thread. they lost because of two god-awful defensive plays by Dahlin, a couple posts, and a terrible penalty call on Risto heading into OT.

The PK looks better, the breakout looks better, the secondary scoring looks better, the rush defence looks better and the offensive cycle looks better. I will take Cozens, Reider, Eakin and Sheahan over Sheary, Vesey, ERod and Frolik any day of the week. 

The top scorers haven’t started scoring, the PP has looked good once it gets set up, but has struggled to get set up, and the goaltending is still questionable. These are things that can be fixed.

***** the long-term, the Sabres can be fixed right now.

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3 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

@JohnC.  My patience is gone.  This is exactly how this team looked under RK at the end of last season and the results are the same.  it's enough already.

Hang in there. Maybe an extra helping of grits will soften you up. The difference between success and failure can be miniscule. How many golden opportunities have our shooters have and failed to convert? 

When you find yourself in a state of despair you can lean on me for support. 🤡

Bill Withers - Lean On Me (1973 live) - YouTube

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1 hour ago, LTS said:

Agreed.  it's interesting right?  Middlestadt's failures are all his but Dahlin's are all the coach?  The plays that Dahlin are screwing up are not system plays, they are hockey plays that skilled hockey players make. He's not making them right now and it's beginning to snowball on him.  I think they would have left him in the game but smashing his stick on the ice and falling over while doing it was a great indicator that he's completely off.  It's a bit of a joke but also true. 

Do I think Dahlin will be better?  I sure do... which is why I suggested they need to remove him from the ice so fans aren't losing their mind over it. It's a two part story.. is Dahlin playing like absolute garbage?  Yes.  Is Dahling absolute garbage at D? No.

Jack Eichel also scores goals... but not right now.

All of that aside.. they aren't winning and this isn't a year for moral victories

The notable difference being that Dahlin has a full-season's worth of good performance in the bank. Something with Dahlin is amiss rather than just non-existent, as has been for Casey at the NHL level. That explains a big factor in the perception discrepancy. 

26 minutes ago, Eleven said:

Get a goaltender.  That's how it gets fixed.  All this "you can win with an average goaltender" nonsense from the last ten years is just that, nonsense.  And I'm not sure the Sabres even have an average goaltender.

Oh, I'd love it if the "Miller is mediocre" crowd came back having learned their lesson.

I've been screaming it from the rooftops 

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