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20 minutes ago, JohnC said:

As you stated there is a strong argument to shake up a roster that hasn't produced. But that's not how this roster should be looked at. The Krueger method was a roster crushing system. In comparison, the Granato method gives you a better insight to the actual talent level of the roster. Even with a relatively small sample size it is evident that there is much more talent to work with than was apparent when Krueger was behind the bench. And because there is a young core that is playing better under the new coach it augurs well that those players still have more potential to tap. If you add in Jack to the mix and just maybe a much better return on the Skinner investment then the case can be made to be judicious and not aggressive in altering the roster. It just seems to me with better coaching guidance that internal improvement more than outside additions will be the better approach to take this offseason.   

The thing about internal improvement is that other teams improve, internally, too. The competition is also ever-shifting. 

I’m not arguing for a core shakeup or several significant adds, but rather than counting on best case scenarios from the young players moving forward, across the board, I think a genuine top 6 winger addition would go a long way. 

Who are the top 4 wingers right now, currently? I’ll assume Jack back, and say, Skinner, Reinhart, and 2 of Bjork, Ruotsalainen, Asplund, and Thompson. 

There’s definitely room for a proven vet. It may come down to expectations. If we are keeping Jack, etc - the time to win is now, our best player is in his prime, and we have the ability to capitalize, for the first time in a long time, on GOOD young players who are on ELCs. Something we’ve seen CONTENDERS do, quite often. 

The jump we’d need in points to make the playoffs is huge even with the way we’ve been playing since Granato came on - if the expectation is merely to likely put up a fight at making it, we could probably run things back and, if the shooting %s stays high, it’s a feasible scenario. 

For my part, I’d rather avoiding the All-time playoff drought look to be the likely expectation looking at the roster, and if things go right, look like a team ready to make noise once getting in 

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1 hour ago, Thorny said:

I’m not really much of a fan of running back a last place roster, even though we’ve been a lot better. Also, R2 has been playing right wing 

Like @JohnC I'm going to disagree that this is currently a last place roster.  Gone is the offense crushing system.  Gone are Lazar, Hall and Staal.  Guys like Reider, Eakin and Sheahan will also soon be gone.  That a 50% turnover in this forward group in a season.  They have been replaced ultimately by younger and better players.  Cozens and Thompson have gone from part-time to full-time.  Mitts, R2, and Asplund have gone from Taxi Squad/AHL to full time NHLers.  We have added Bjork as well.  

I know we all want shiny new toys like Taylor Hall.  We want "proven" players to get us over the hump.  However it hasn't worked.  Kane, ROR, Hall, Staal, MoJo, Skinner and Okposo have all come and most are gone and we still stink (although Kane and ROR played well for the most part).  Now it is time to use our drafted and/or developed guys and see what happens.  With the new style and the kids dominating the roster we are 6-3-3 in the last 12; a 98 point pace.  No Eichel, no Staal and then no Hall and Okposo and we are a better team.  Ask Pitt and Wash if this is a bad roster needing a complete overhaul.

@LGR4GM I didn't see the Granato quote on Samson at center.  Interesting.  Does that mean they might really trade Eichel or does it more likely mean that one of either Cozens or Mitts is going back to wing.  Could it mean that Samson is also on the trading block instead of re-signing him?

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1 hour ago, Thorny said:

I’m not really much of a fan of running back a last place roster, even though we’ve been a lot better. Also, R2 has been playing right wing 

I'm with you on this.

I struggle though with getting a grasp on how much we are "running back"

Thompson, Mittelstadt, Asplund, Ruotsalanien, Bjork and Girgensons were on the periphery of that last-place roster. Cozens  and Eichel have been around half the time and good case can be made that next year's versions will be upgrades. That's eight "changes."

What do those guys give us next year and how does that affect the players we target and how many?

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3 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Like @JohnC I'm going to disagree that this is currently a last place roster.  Gone is the offense crushing system.  Gone are Lazar, Hall and Staal.  Guys like Reider, Eakin and Sheahan will also soon be gone.  That a 50% turnover in this forward group in a season.  They have been replaced ultimately by younger and better players.  Cozens and Thompson have gone from part-time to full-time.  Mitts, R2, and Asplund have gone from Taxi Squad/AHL to full time NHLers.  We have added Bjork as well.  

I know we all want shiny new toys like Taylor Hall.  We want "proven" players to get us over the hump.  However it hasn't worked.  Kane, ROR, Hall, Staal, MoJo, Skinner and Okposo have all come and most are gone and we still stink (although Kane and ROR played well for the most part).  Now it is time to use our drafted and/or developed guys and see what happens.  With the new style and the kids dominating the roster we are 6-3-3 in the last 12; a 98 point pace.  No Eichel, no Staal and then no Hall and Okposo and we are a better team.  Ask Pitt and Wash if this is a bad roster needing a complete overhaul.

Ya, it’s 12 games. 

I don’t think we’ve proven that trades and additions should be outlawed. I’d like to bring in a top 6 wing to help out for when the games actually matter again 

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6 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I'm with you on this.

I struggle though with getting a grasp on how much we are "running back"

Thompson, Mittelstadt, Asplund, Ruotsalanien, Bjork and Girgensons were on the periphery of that last-place roster. Cozens  and Eichel have been around half the time and good case can be made that next year's versions will be upgrades. That's eight "changes."

What do those guys give us next year and how does that affect the players we target and how many?

Well, looking at the wingers, I don’t think that’s too high a bar to clear for any vet t6 wing addition. 

Do we really see 2 locks-to-be-adequate top 6 wingers out of Ruotsalainen Asplund Bjork and Thompson? What about really good t6 Ws instead of adequate? 

VO is in the mix as well but his t6 projection for me is more less like those guys listed 

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Just now, Thorny said:

Ya, it’s 12 games. 

I don’t think we’ve proven that trades and additions should be outlawed. I’d like to bring in a top 6 wing to help out for when the games actually matter again 

But the shake up may also not be what you want.  What is Eichel or Sam is traded to get you your top 6 winger? Does that really make us better?  What about trading VO, which is something I've mentioned before?  I'm not sure I'm on board with this idea any longer either given how Granato has taught him to open up his game.  He is showing speed and a willingness to carry the puck and set up his teammates.  

It's 12 games of good play out of 17 games Granato has coached, which is a relatively small sample size. However, if they continue with this good play to season's end, I think the small sample size argument fades away.  Also, given our recent history, our coaching changes, our understaffed front office, I'm honestly not comfortable with them signing UFAs and not confident that they can make a beneficial trade.  

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Just now, Thorny said:

Ya, it’s 12 games. 

I don’t think we’ve proven that trades and additions should be outlawed. I’d like to bring in a top 6 wing to help out for when the games actually matter again 

Let's just say:

  • top line: Jack
  • middle six: Tage Casey, Dylan
  • bottom six: Asplund Girgensons, Bjork

After that, you've got Skinner, Sam, Okposo, R2 and Victor to mix and match.

If I had to add two players to round out what that group is lacking it would be a Paul Gaustad for the bottom six and a Mike Foligno for the top six.

Which probably means Sam or Victor is the player that would have to be sacrificed to make room.

But that only works if Tage, Casey and Dylan are what they are teasing us with.

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3 minutes ago, Thorny said:

Well, looking at the wingers, I don’t think that’s too high a bar to clear for any vet t6 wing addition. 

Do we really see 2 locks-to-be-adequate top 6 wingers out of Ruotsalainen Asplund Bjork and Thompson? What about really good t6 Ws instead of adequate? 

VO is in the mix as well but his t6 projection for me is more less like those guys listed 

We are looking for 6 wingers to play top 9 roles.  Skinner and VO are givens.  Now your down to 4.  One of Reinhart, Mitts or Cozens will be on the wing next season.  Now your down to 3 top 9 wingers needed.  R2 and Thompson are ready and capable top 9 wingers.  That leaves one slot.  Asplund has shown in the minors and finally this season that he can produce in the NHL.  He is chemistry with Mitts and Thompson has been excellent which gives him the inside track at the 9th slot.  I know you want "more proven guys," but sometimes you have to take a chance.  IMHO Bjork is KO's replacement.

I do understand the argument for a veteran scorer at RW, especially if Reinhart is moved to center, but a RW of VO, Cozens and Thompson looks pretty solid. 

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10 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

But the shake up may also not be what you want.  What is Eichel or Sam is traded to get you your top 6 winger? Does that really make us better?  What about trading VO, which is something I've mentioned before?  I'm not sure I'm on board with this idea any longer either given how Granato has taught him to open up his game.  He is showing speed and a willingness to carry the puck and set up his teammates.  

It's 12 games of good play out of 17 games Granato has coached, which is a relatively small sample size. However, if they continue with this good play to season's end, I think the small sample size argument fades away.  Also, given our recent history, our coaching changes, our understaffed front office, I'm honestly not comfortable with them signing UFAs and not confident that they can make a beneficial trade.  

If we aren’t able to trust then to make a good trade, we can’t really trust them to evaluate who to play and where or do anything, really, as it all comes down to talent evaluation in the end. 

Maybe the sample size argument fades away, but not the idea that it’s easier to retain the mental positivity and focus after a loss when, after a good effort, it’s just “get ‘em next time!” Which HAS been the sentiment here, in the media, and I’m sure in the room - they’ve said they are playing free and loose themselves.

Doesn’t that get much harder when the games do actually matter? In games 1-10, the moral victories are then meaningless. We can’t talk as much as we have about how much the aura of negativity has weighed us down, notice how much better the team responds when that aura is gone, and not expect that aura more likely to start seeping in again when the “grace period” has worn off and a hard fought loss is just that, a loss. 

The free and lose play won’t be a safety net for the mental aspects of this team anymore, it’ll need to come strictly from wins 

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Does this have any appeal?

Skinner Eichel (Foligno)

Cozens Reinhart

Asplund Mittelstadt Thompson

Girgensons (Gaustad)

 

R2, Okposo, Bjork plug in as needed?

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21 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Like @JohnC I'm going to disagree that this is currently a last place roster.  Gone is the offense crushing system.  Gone are Lazar, Hall and Staal.  Guys like Reider, Eakin and Sheahan will also soon be gone.  That a 50% turnover in this forward group in a season.  They have been replaced ultimately by younger and better players.  Cozens and Thompson have gone from part-time to full-time.  Mitts, R2, and Asplund have gone from Taxi Squad/AHL to full time NHLers.  We have added Bjork as well.  

I know we all want shiny new toys like Taylor Hall.  We want "proven" players to get us over the hump.  However it hasn't worked.  Kane, ROR, Hall, Staal, MoJo, Skinner and Okposo have all come and most are gone and we still stink (although Kane and ROR played well for the most part).  Now it is time to use our drafted and/or developed guys and see what happens.  With the new style and the kids dominating the roster we are 6-3-3 in the last 12; a 98 point pace.  No Eichel, no Staal and then no Hall and Okposo and we are a better team.  Ask Pitt and Wash if this is a bad roster needing a complete overhaul.

@LGR4GM I didn't see the Granato quote on Samson at center.  Interesting.  Does that mean they might really trade Eichel or does it more likely mean that one of either Cozens or Mitts is going back to wing.  Could it mean that Samson is also on the trading block instead of re-signing him?

what about 4 balanced lines? 

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Just now, dudacek said:

Does this have nay appeal?

Skinner Eichel (Foligno)

Cozens Reinhart

Asplund Mittelstadt Thompson

Girgensons (Gaustad)

 

R2, Okposo, Bjork plug in as needed?

Gaustad? or someone like Gaustad?  Casey Citzkas is a UFA 

1 minute ago, Crusader1969 said:

what about 4 balanced lines? 

I figured we are stuck with Z and KO for next season with Bjork in the mix there.  I have mentioned previously getting an upgrade on Eakin.

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I'm with @Thorny that bringing in a good top-6 winger should be a priority, but only if it's a Mike Foligno type as @dudacek suggests.  I want a veteran who plays with strength and passion.

Unfortunately, that guy isn't likely to want to join a team as bad as the Sabres.

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6 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

We are looking for 6 wingers to play top 9 roles.  Skinner and VO are givens.  Now your down to 4.  One of Reinhart, Mitts or Cozens will be on the wing next season.  Now your down to 3 top 9 wingers needed.  R2 and Thompson are ready and capable top 9 wingers.  That leaves one slot.  Asplund has shown in the minors and finally this season that he can produce in the NHL.  He is chemistry with Mitts and Thompson has been excellent which gives him the inside track at the 9th slot.  I know you want "more proven guys," but sometimes you have to take a chance.  IMHO Bjork is KO's replacement.

I do understand the argument for a veteran scorer at RW, especially if Reinhart is moved to center, but a RW of VO, Cozens and Thompson looks pretty solid. 

You can’t say we need 9 top 9 roles filled and fill them with 9 3rd line players. You didn’t do it to that extreme but you listed a bunch of guys that fill a “mid 6” aka 3rd line spot and not enough for strictly top 6

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18 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Let's just say:

  • top line: Jack
  • middle six: Tage Casey, Dylan
  • bottom six: Asplund Girgensons, Bjork

After that, you've got Skinner, Sam, Okposo, R2 and Victor to mix and match.

If I had to add two players to round out what that group is lacking it would be a Paul Gaustad for the bottom six and a Mike Foligno for the top six.

Which probably means Sam or Victor is the player that would have to be sacrificed to make room.

But that only works if Tage, Casey and Dylan are what they are teasing us with.

You don’t sacrifice Sam to bring in another forward. VO is an option. 

It also doesn’t matter if we have an “extra” top 6 player like VO “not penciled in” because by the third day of training camp, as is the case every year, we’ll have 3-4 guys listed as “day to day”. 

Pencil in a good player like VO on line 4 to start, for all I care. In fact, we should: there will be a t6 injury. And instead of injuries being an excuse for why we didn’t make it, our pre planning will have us in a good spot relative to some other teams. 

That’s just General Managing 

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39 minutes ago, Thorny said:

The thing about internal improvement is that other teams improve, internally, too. The competition is also ever-shifting. 

I’m not arguing for a core shakeup or several significant adds, but rather than counting on best case scenarios from the young players moving forward, across the board, I think a genuine top 6 winger addition would go a long way. 

Who are the top 4 wingers right now, currently? I’ll assume Jack back, and say, Skinner, Reinhart, and 2 of Bjork, Ruotsalainen, Asplund, and Thompson. 

There’s definitely room for a proven vet. It may come down to expectations. If we are keeping Jack, etc - the time to win is now, our best player is in his prime, and we have the ability to capitalize, for the first time in a long time, on GOOD young players who are on ELCs. Something we’ve seen CONTENDERS do, quite often. 

The jump we’d need in points to make the playoffs is huge even with the way we’ve been playing since Granato came on - if the expectation is merely to likely put up a fight at making it, we could probably run things back and, if the shooting %s stays high, it’s a feasible scenario. 

For my part, I’d rather avoiding the All-time playoff drought look to be the likely expectation looking at the roster, and if things go right, look like a team ready to make noise once getting in 

Most rosters get tweaked every year, even talented rosters often due to contract and cap considerations. So I expect changes but not major alterations. My contention is that internal improvement is going to be a bigger factor for us than for many teams because  our young core is larger than what most teams have. Mitts, Cozens, Thompson, Dahlin, Joki, Olofsson (I'm aware he is a little older), Bryson etc. If you look at the Boston roster they may be a more established roster but it's my belief that our roster has more upside than their older roster. Washington is a cup contending team with a very established roster. However, it is fair to say that our younger core makes up a larger component of the roster than their veteran laden roster. The same claim can be made in a Pittsburg comparison. So my point is it would be a wiser not to tamper too much with that core in order to get a more immediate fix.

What is evident when watching games under Granato is that when the Sabres get solid/good/consistent goaltending the Sabres can be competitive even against superior teams. That's the critical issue you have been pounding at for a long time. And on that the issue we are simpatico.   

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1 minute ago, Thorny said:

You can’t say we need 9 top 9 roles filled and fill them with 9 3rd line players. You didn’t do it to that extreme but you listed a bunch of guys that fill a “mid 6” aka 3rd line spot and not enough for strictly top 6

Aren't Eichel and Reinhart Legit top line players?  Aren't VO and Skinner proven top 6 scorers?  Don't Cozens and Mitts have the talent to be top 6 forwards?  R2 was the top scorer in the tough Liiga in Finland before he came over and was a pt a game player in the AHL before being recalled.  What you're really complaining about is the inexperience of a young team.  Shocking!  You only get experience by playing and earning an opportunity which all the young guys I've mentioned are doing.  There are no guarantees.  Great vets like KO get injured and or stop producing.  Again there are no guarantees.  I'm sorry but I don't want to bring another aging vet and get saddled again with another crappy contract.  

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14 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Does this have any appeal?

Skinner Eichel (Foligno)

Cozens Reinhart

Asplund Mittelstadt Thompson

Girgensons (Gaustad)

 

R2, Okposo, Bjork plug in as needed?

I think I’d like to allow Cozens to continue blossoming at C. He’s still our best long term option there after Eichel. Maybe you didn’t have either of him or Reinhart definitively at C, but I would Cozens 

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13 minutes ago, nfreeman said:

I'm with @Thorny that bringing in a good top-6 winger should be a priority, but only if it's a Mike Foligno type as @dudacek suggests.  I want a veteran who plays with strength and passion.

Unfortunately, that guy isn't likely to want to join a team as bad as the Sabres.

Well if we bring in a good top 6 player via trade they won’t have a choice. 

I’m not very familiar with Mike Foligno, current NHL comparison? 

6 minutes ago, JohnC said:

Most rosters get tweaked every year, even talented rosters often due to contract and cap considerations. So I expect changes but not major alterations. My contention is that internal improvement is going to be a bigger factor for us than for many teams because  our young core is larger than what most teams have. Mitts, Cozens, Thompson, Dahlin, Joki, Olofsson (I'm aware he is a little older), Bryson etc. If you look at the Boston roster they may be a more established roster but it's my belief that our roster has more upside than their older roster. Washington is a cup contending team with a very established roster. However, it is fair to say that our younger core makes up a larger component of the roster than their veteran laden roster. The same claim can be made in a Pittsburg comparison. So my point is it would be a wiser not to tamper too much with that core in order to get a more immediate fix.

What is evident when watching games under Granato is that when the Sabres get solid/good/consistent goaltending the Sabres can be competitive even against superior teams. That's the critical issue you have been pounding at for a long time. And on that the issue we are simpatico.   

I don’t think it’s long before “status quo” becomes the preferred sentiment around here for goalie, too, full disclosure 

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27 minutes ago, Thorny said:

You don’t sacrifice Sam to bring in another forward. VO is an option. 

It also doesn’t matter if we have an “extra” top 6 player like VO “not penciled in” because by the third day of training camp, as is the case every year, we’ll have 3-4 guys listed as “day to day”. 

Pencil in a good player like VO on line 4 to start, for all I care. In fact, we should: there will be a t6 injury. And instead of injuries being an excuse for why we didn’t make it, our pre planning will have us in a good spot relative to some other teams. 

That’s just General Managing 

If you can acquire a good defensive centre and a top six power forward, keep VO and Sam and make the cap work, that's good General Managing.

But I think you've looked at this from the opposite end that I was: How many middle-six spots can you pencil in to unproven players? What's the sweet spot so you aren't wasting cap space and roster spots on the Halls and the Staals, but you also aren't hooped if Thompson and Mitts turn into pumpkins in October?

21 minutes ago, Thorny said:

 

I’m not very familiar with Mike Foligno, current NHL comparison?

Think Marcus but a strong skater and capable of 30 goals and 30 assists.

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3 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Aren't Eichel and Reinhart Legit top line players?  Aren't VO and Skinner proven top 6 scorers?  Don't Cozens and Mitts have the talent to be top 6 forwards?  R2 was the top scorer in the tough Liiga in Finland before he came over and was a pt a game player in the AHL before being recalled.  What you're really complaining about is the inexperience of a young team.  Shocking!  You only get experience by playing and earning an opportunity which all the young guys I've mentioned are doing.  There are no guarantees.  Great vets like KO get injured and or stop producing.  Again there are no guarantees.  I'm sorry but I don't want to bring another aging vet and get saddled again with another crappy contract.  

If you add Jack to the top line in itself has an elevating affect not only for the #1 line but also the #2 line. As you are pointing out there is more than enough raw material to work with to assemble genuine top two lines without the need to shipping out any of our emerging talent to get an outside fix when the answer can be found internally. And if Skinner can be salvaged with better handling then more pieces fall into place. While Jack is a given factor Skinner might be the bigger X and bonus factor. 

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1 minute ago, dudacek said:

If you can acquire a good defensive centre and a top six power forward, keep VO and Sam and make the cap work, that's good General Managing.

But I think you've looked at this from the opposite end that I was: How many middle-six spots can you pencil in to unproven players? What's the sweet spot so you aren't wasting cap space and roster spots on the Halls and the Staals, but you also aren't hooped if Thompson and Mitts turn into pumpkins in October?

One of the biggest issues with this team has been a lack of value contracts.  Rarely do we have a situation like VO last year where a forward out performs his contract by such a wide margin.  Thompson, Cozens, Asplund, R2, and Mitts have an opportunity next season to seriously out-perform their contracts and the teams that have the most guys out perform their contracts are usually very successful teams.

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14 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Aren't Eichel and Reinhart Legit top line players?  Aren't VO and Skinner proven top 6 scorers?  Don't Cozens and Mitts have the talent to be top 6 forwards?  R2 was the top scorer in the tough Liiga in Finland before he came over and was a pt a game player in the AHL before being recalled.  What you're really complaining about is the inexperience of a young team.  Shocking!  You only get experience by playing and earning an opportunity which all the young guys I've mentioned are doing.  There are no guarantees.  Great vets like KO get injured and or stop producing.  Again there are no guarantees.  I'm sorry but I don't want to bring another aging vet and get saddled again with another crappy contract.  

I didn’t say I wanted an aging vet on a bad contract, what a straw man. 

My point is that “top 9” and “mid 6” sully the conversion. We need 4 TOP 6 wingers. Obviously Skinner (at least to me - people that don’t like how he’s played aren’t barking up that tree during this current convo) and Reinhart are top 6 wings (another straw man), but the other 2 players we’d be expecting to fill top 6 wing roles would be coming from a pool of unproven players.

- - - 

I’m sorry, but you’ve made threads calling for the head of KA, it’s not fair for you to use the word “complaining” re my posts when I’m merely stating that caution is warranted, and a desire to make playoffs *likely* rather than a maybe.  

I suppose I was “complaining” last offseason too when everyone was predicting playoffs. I tend to be more moderate on these things, but you are free to swing like a pendulum. Normally I wouldn’t take a shot like that but “complaining” sets me off 

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9 minutes ago, Thorny said:

 

I don’t think it’s long before “status quo” becomes the preferred sentiment around here for goalie, too, full disclosure 

The goalie issue is going to be a major focus for this front office this offseason. It will  focus on Ullmark, his durability and  his contract. I just don't know???? 

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