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Forwards under contract - 10 players (37.319 million)

Eichel 10 mill

Skinner 9 mil

Okposo 6 mill

Olofsson 3.05

Eakin 2.25

Girgensons 2.2

Bjork 1.6

Thompson 1.4

Routsalainen .925

Cozens .894

RFAs: Reinhart, Asplund, and Mittelstadt

UFAs: Caggiula, Rieder and Sheahan

Like the D, KA doesn't have to do much if he wants to go with status quo.  All he has to do is re-sign the 3 RFAs and he has 13 forwards for next season.  The kids (Asplund, Mitts, Thompson, Cozens, Bjork and Routsalainen are giving him many good reasons to keep their lines together for next season.   If the kids continue to perform, then this scenario becomes even more likely. If I'm honest, this is the path I want KA to follow this off-season with this group.  I feel the team has turned the corner and I want to see how the kids progress.  I'm done with the signings or acquisitions of guys like KO, Skinner, Staal and Hall.  It just hasn't worked.   I know Mitts and Cozens aren't yet proven or finished products, but their growth this season has been immense once we canned Rasputin. 

This creates forward lines on paper of 

Skinner/Olofsson Eichel Reinhart

Asplund Mitts Thompson

R2 Cozens Bjork

Girgensons Eakin KO

So if KA agrees, where can we make subtle changes to improve the team. 

1st step, trade Victor Olofsson.  With Skinner's contract (and I'm assuming Asplund or Bjork aren't lost to Seattle) and the kids line performing, it makes me wonder if VO might be the odd man out.  I can see KA trading VO to Seattle to insure they don't draft Asplund or Borgen, and also get something else in return.  Maybe Sea has access to a back up goalie we'd want.  

What else might we do? Upgrade Eakin or Girgensons?  Eakin has only one year left on his deal.  He seems like a candidate for demotion to the AHL.  

Carry a 14th forward:  Could management re-sign one or two of Rieder, Sheahan or Caggiula?

Not enough change for you? I you think about it, we have already flipped 50% of this group from the start of the year.  Gone are Lazar, Hall, Staal, and likely Rieder and Sheahan.  If VO is traded, that's 50% turnover in the starting forward group from this season.   

 

 

 

 

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Who needs protection?  If memory serves me right, neither Ruotsalainen nor Cozens needs protection.  It looks like the Sabres should protect Skinner, Eichel, Reinhart, Asplund, Mittlestadt, Thompson, and either Olofsson or Bjork.

Assuming no forward is lost, Okposo and Girgensons have enough skill that they would not be lost with Olofsson there.

Having said that, both Olofsson and Bjork would be very tempting to Seattle.  It is virtually certain that one of them will be available.  As I personally would protect Dahlin, Borgen, and Jokiharu, I figure that Seattle will take a forward.

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4 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Forwards under contract - 10 players (37.319 million)

Eichel 10 mill

Skinner 9 mil

Okposo 6 mill

Olofsson 3.05

Eakin 2.25

Girgensons 2.2

Bjork 1.6

Thompson 1.4

Routsalainen .925

Cozens .894

RFAs: Reinhart, Asplund, and Mittelstadt

UFAs: Caggiula, Rieder and Sheahan

Like the D, KA doesn't have to do much if he wants to go with status quo.  All he has to do is re-sign the 3 RFAs and he has 13 forwards for next season.  The kids (Asplund, Mitts, Thompson, Cozens, Bjork and Routsalainen are giving him many good reasons to keep their lines together for next season.   If the kids continue to perform, then this scenario becomes even more likely. If I'm honest, this is the path I want KA to follow this off-season with this group.  I feel the team has turned the corner and I want to see how the kids progress.  I'm done with the signings or acquisitions of guys like KO, Skinner, Staal and Hall.  It just hasn't worked.   I know Mitts and Cozens aren't yet proven or finished products, but their growth this season has been immense once we canned Rasputin. 

This creates forward lines on paper of 

Skinner/Olofsson Eichel Reinhart

Asplund Mitts Thompson

R2 Cozens Bjork

Girgensons Eakin KO

So if KA agrees, where can we make subtle changes to improve the team. 

1st step, trade Victor Olofsson.  With Skinner's contract (and I'm assuming Asplund or Bjork aren't lost to Seattle) and the kids line performing, it makes me wonder if VO might be the odd man out.  I can see KA trading VO to Seattle to insure they don't draft Asplund or Borgen, and also get something else in return.  Maybe Sea has access to a back up goalie we'd want.  

What else might we do? Upgrade Eakin or Girgensons?  Eakin has only one year left on his deal.  He seems like a candidate for demotion to the AHL.  

Carry a 14th forward:  Could management re-sign one or two of Rieder, Sheahan or Caggiula?

Not enough change for you? I you think about it, we have already flipped 50% of this group from the start of the year.  Gone are Lazar, Hall, Staal, and likely Rieder and Sheahan.  If VO is traded, that's 50% turnover in the starting forward group from this season.   

 

 

 

 

I just don't see Olofsson being traded. In my view that would be a mistake. What I see from him now is a greater willingness to move around the ice instead of being anchored to his primary shooting spot. So he is showing a wider dimension than simply being a shooter.

Is Olofsson a genuine first or second line winger? You can reasonably argue that he doesn't merit that status. However, especially for a team that struggles to score goals he is a legitimate sniper. And because he is such a high yield PP player and because he is playing a longer game than he did before I would argue to keep him. If he didn't show much growth to his game I would be more receptive to your position on him. But I still see potential to broaden his game that makes him a contributing component to this roster. 

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3 hours ago, JohnC said:

I just don't see Olofsson being traded. In my view that would be a mistake. What I see from him now is a greater willingness to move around the ice instead of being anchored to his primary shooting spot. So he is showing a wider dimension than simply being a shooter.

Is Olofsson a genuine first or second line winger? You can reasonably argue that he doesn't merit that status. However, especially for a team that struggles to score goals he is a legitimate sniper. And because he is such a high yield PP player and because he is playing a longer game than he did before I would argue to keep him. If he didn't show much growth to his game I would be more receptive to your position on him. But I still see potential to broaden his game that makes him a contributing component to this roster. 

I generally agree and would just add that on a team starving for goals, it makes no sense to unload a guy who can score ‘em.

I can see VO taking Asplund’s spot with Mitts and TT and Asplund centering Zemgus and KO.  

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19 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

I generally agree and would just add that on a team starving for goals, it makes no sense to unload a guy who can score ‘em.

I can see VO taking Asplund’s spot with Mitts and TT and Asplund centering Zemgus and KO.  

If you want VO to play as a top 6 forward he needs to be able to score more consistently at 5 on 5. He scores, but more than half of his goals come on the PP. He can easily play on the 3rd on 4th line and still score the same amount on the PP if you keep him. the problem becomes in how much he'll cost in the short term to be borderline bad at 5 on 5 and very good at the PP. Don't you want to upgrade your top 6? Bottom 6 is much easier to fill. 

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Olofsson is both a great and terrible player due to his practically 1-trick pony status. And he's a doctorate holder in that one trick.

He's not a guy I'd want to trade but given a solid player more suited to 5v5 in a hockey trade I might do it. 

21 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

I can see VO taking Asplund’s spot with Mitts and TT and Asplund centering Zemgus and KO. 

The problem with that idea would be that Asplund adds specific skills that Olofsson doesn't have to their line. Asplund is solid defensively, tenacious on the puck, play in the corners and will crash the net. Olofsson really isn't effective at any of those facets aside occasionally playing the puck along the wall. Not to mention it would unbalance Mitts' line which would then have 3 very offensive minded players and two of which are at least spending some time looking for shooting lanes. It comes down to wanting a Playmaker, a Shooter, and a Power Forward/Possession Hound on each line. And once gelling the three players all begin taking some attributes from their linemates thus making the line itself stronger.

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It’s nice seeing Mitts, Tage, and Asplund emerge.  I think Eichel might need better on LW.  
 

Need to see use at least one big bruisers on wing that can also play, and preferably 2 of them.  Yes, very 70s’ish but I like teams that have some edginess. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, thewookie1 said:

Asplund is solid defensively, tenacious on the puck, play in the corners and will crash the net.

That is correct.  Olofsson has speed and a great shot.  He is a monster on the PP and mostly invisible any where else.  

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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  • Skinner-Jack-Reinhart 
  • R2-Cozens-Olofsson 
  • XXX-Mitts-Tage 
  • Girgensons-Asplund-Bjork 

And I'm sticking to it until Monday, xxx could be Beniers, Eklund or Guenther if one of them is ready. Spend your spare cash on GKs

 

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We shouldn't trade VO. 

The real question imo is how much money does Reinhart want? If it's a lot I'd move him. With the money tied up in Skinner we cannot afford to dump over 25 million in one top line that has already proven in the past doesn't win us hockey games. 

Personally, and my dislike of Reinhart at times is well known so this might surprise people, I think he's looked better on that line with Skinner and VO than he did playing with Jack and I'd leave that line alone and find Jack new wingers. Skinner is all too often oblivious to where his team mates are that's his biggest weakness while Sam is the exact opposite. While he can be slow and too pensive he's very good at seeing the ice and knowing where people are and so they are perfectly matched on our second line.

All too often playing with Jack both just watched Jack too much and waited for him to make the play. Matter of fact that might be part of why this Jackless team is better. With him it's all about Jack and too many people look to give the puck to Jack or let Jack do it and so on rather than doing it themselves. It's a better TEAM now and I'd hate to lose that. So then maybe trade Jack and pay Sam a reasonable amount. idk

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11 hours ago, JohnC said:

I just don't see Olofsson being traded. In my view that would be a mistake. What I see from him now is a greater willingness to move around the ice instead of being anchored to his primary shooting spot. So he is showing a wider dimension than simply being a shooter.

Is Olofsson a genuine first or second line winger? You can reasonably argue that he doesn't merit that status. However, especially for a team that struggles to score goals he is a legitimate sniper. And because he is such a high yield PP player and because he is playing a longer game than he did before I would argue to keep him. If he didn't show much growth to his game I would be more receptive to your position on him. But I still see potential to broaden his game that makes him a contributing component to this roster. 

It's a good point, and for my part, I'm not actively seeking to trade VO. 

I think he's just the guy I come to in theoretical trade proposals sometimes because I started thinking about what we have (that we'd be willing to move) that actually might fetch value from other teams. Of course we can move picks and prospects, but moving *any* good roster player off this team seems like pulling teeth because we've been struggling for so long to get to an adequate level. He's grown, he's improving, but combined with the fact that I'm thinking we have enough plain skill to make up for his loss on the PP, he's a guy I like that may be one of the only guys in that sweet spot where he's pretty good, but also capable of perhaps fetching us an asset from another team that fills a more important spot, due to the players we already have and what we lack. 

He'd be on the table for me if we are bringing in a good goalie, a strong defensive centre, etc. In some ways it's easier to navigate the trade waters where he is concerned because if you don't get a great offer, you just keep him. 

Edited by Thorny
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7 hours ago, Pimlach said:

It’s nice seeing Mitts, Tage, and Asplund emerge.  I think Eichel might need better on LW.  
 

Need to see use at least one big bruisers on wing that can also play, and preferably 2 of them.  Yes, very 70s’ish but I like teams that have some edginess. 

Just put Skinner back tbh

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5 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

We shouldn't trade VO. 

The real question imo is how much money does Reinhart want? If it's a lot I'd move him. With the money tied up in Skinner we cannot afford to dump over 25 million in one top line that has already proven in the past doesn't win us hockey games

Personally, and my dislike of Reinhart at times is well known so this might surprise people, I think he's looked better on that line with Skinner and VO than he did playing with Jack and I'd leave that line alone and find Jack new wingers. Skinner is all too often oblivious to where his team mates are that's his biggest weakness while Sam is the exact opposite. While he can be slow and too pensive he's very good at seeing the ice and knowing where people are and so they are perfectly matched on our second line.

All too often playing with Jack both just watched Jack too much and waited for him to make the play. Matter of fact that might be part of why this Jackless team is better. With him it's all about Jack and too many people look to give the puck to Jack or let Jack do it and so on rather than doing it themselves. It's a better TEAM now and I'd hate to lose that. So then maybe trade Jack and pay Sam a reasonable amount. idk

I'd love to see that line (skinner - eichel - reinhart) with actual depth support behind them, which we've never seen

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I’m a little surprised at the willingness to do mostly nothing to this forward group going into another season. If we do that we’re only increasing the chances of being forced into a crossroads with Eichel, thus lowering his value further.

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I think this group as a whole has shown a lot of improvement.  

Asplund, Mitts, and Thompson have played well because of their different skill sets. Asplund is a mucker who can also score. Tage is developing into a Mantha type power forward.  Mitts has finally understanding the defensive responsibilities of a center and has shown a little bit of nasty in his game lately.

Cozens, R2, and Bjork is an interesting line.  Feisty, but skilled.

Skinner, Reinhart, and Olofsson is the one that is interesting.  When Eichel comes back he goes to center, which shifts Reinhart to RW.  So you are in the same dilemma of last year.  Who plays LW, Skinner or Olofsson?  Skinner is not tradable because of his contract.  So that leaves Olofsson as the odd man out.  Unless Reinhart wants too much in contract then you move him.

Ultimately I can see the Sabres moving one of Reinhart or Olofsson to upgrade either the defense or goaltending.

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50 minutes ago, Hoss said:

I’m a little surprised at the willingness to do mostly nothing to this forward group going into another season. If we do that we’re only increasing the chances of being forced into a crossroads with Eichel, thus lowering his value further.

But you are forgetting, people want to move Jack 

We don't need him anymore

(yes this is hyperbole)

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2 hours ago, Thorny said:

It's a good point, and for my part, I'm not actively seeking to trade VO. 

I think he's just the guy I come to in theoretical trade proposals sometimes because I started thinking about what we have (that we'd be willing to move) that actually might fetch value from other teams. Of course we can move picks and prospects, but moving *any* good roster player off this team seems like pulling teeth because we've been struggling for so long to get to an adequate level. He's grown, he's improving, but combined with the fact that I'm thinking we have enough plain skill to make up for his loss on the PP, he's a guy I like that may be one of the only guys in that sweet spot where he's pretty good, but also capable of perhaps fetching us an asset from another team that fills a more important spot, due to the players we already have and what we lack. 

He'd be on the table for me if we are bringing in a good goalie, a strong defensive centre, etc. In some ways it's easier to navigate the trade waters where he is concerned because if you don't get a great offer, you just keep him. 

The organization has to be open to trading anyone if the return merits it. It would be foolish not to look at any option that may improve and better balance out the roster. But it should be considered when discussing Olofsson that one player who benefits with his presence is Jack on the PP.  What Olofsson does is force the PK unit to spread to cover him on the opposite side where Jack is and giving our star player more room and options with the puck.

As you astutely point out we are starting to get to the point where the roster is being filled with genuine NHL caliber players who are meshing and growing together. If you look at our roster our forward line is starting to be filled out with some good young players. But it is still a thin unit. Where we are starting to have a more loaded unit is on the blue line if you factor in the prospects in the system. Parlaying players from that unit might make more sense. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Hoss said:

I’m a little surprised at the willingness to do mostly nothing to this forward group going into another season. If we do that we’re only increasing the chances of being forced into a crossroads with Eichel, thus lowering his value further.

It’s funny you say that but we will be at 50% turnover in the forward group when the off-season gets here.  Hall, Staal, and Lazar are already gone. Sheahan and Rieder are likely not returning.  Move or lose one more player, like KO to retirement, and 50% of your starting 12 is gone. 

Instead we gave the team over to the kids and R2, Mitts, Cozens, Asplund and now Bjork. They have changed the dynamic of the offense giving us 3 lines of real scoring talent for the first time since 2007.

Admittedly they are far from perfect, but you see the growth each game. Why replace them with more outside help that has consistently failed us and created our two albatross contracts?  

IMHO rebuilds work best when the are centered around home grown players.  This is the first time in a decade we have enough good internal players to build around.  Why not give them a shot.  My guess is Jack will love playing with these guys

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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3 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

It’s funny you say that but we will be at 50% turnover in the forward group when the off-season gets here.  Hall, Staal, and Lazar are already gone. Sheahan and Rieder are likely not returning.  Move or lose one more player, like KO to retirement, at your at 50% of your starting 12 gone. 

Instead we gave the team over to the kids and R2, Mitts, Cozens, Asplund and now Bjork have changed the dynamic of the offense giving us 3 lines of real scoring talent for the first time since 2007.

Admittedly they are far from perfect, but you see the growth each game. Why replace them with more outside help that has consistently failed us and created out two albatross contracts?  

IMHO rebuilds work best when the are centered around home grown players.  This is the first time in a decade we have enough good internal players to build around.  Why not give them a shot.  My guess is Jack will love playing with these guys

Bjork is the only real "turnover." I wouldn't consider it turnover when guys have been in the system, played on the team prior and/or play 10+ games in the lineup, especially in a 56-game season. I think you've got to find success with your own but you've also got to get things going at some point. I won't celebrate too much about guys that would be scratched on most decent teams leaving.

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3 minutes ago, thewookie1 said:

Quick Proposal 

Risto(35%) for JT Miller and Beagle

We eat some money for the now cash strapped Canucks and get a 2C caliber player

Don't see why the Canucks would move Miller that easily. 

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10 minutes ago, thewookie1 said:

I’ve read that he was on the trade block.

I haven’t seen that and if anyone is reporting it I will never trust them again. He was a massive get for them. Even if he were available Risto isn’t even a third of the price it would take.

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