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Friedman:Sabres are looking for Goaltending Help


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45 minutes ago, Eleven said:

The main reason I wasn't confident with a 3-0 lead against Florida was Aaron Dell, not the defense.  This defense isn't good, I can acknowledge that, but even a decent goalie, like Ullmark, makes saves and directs rebounds well enough that this team's scoring would have it in the top 8 in the conference.

I'm going to disagree with you here because I just don't think this is the year to make a jump into the playoffs. We are not better than Toronto, Florida, Tampa Bay, Boston, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Washington or the Rangers this year. I think next year both Boston and Pittsburgh are going to see their ages finally catch up with them so they'll be a shuffle of the decks so to speak. Too soon for this team even with better GKs to make a jump. The young core needs to correct their mistakes and take their lumps and be ready to go next year. Development is the key for this team this year, they're just not ready this year.

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21 minutes ago, JohnC said:

You can have an upgrade in net and still be scored upon. Whether you have mediocre to bad backstopping it becomes even more exposed with inadequate defensive coverage. I'm not arguing which issue is more important because they are linked. The Sabres currently have insufficient staffing at the goalie position. That's obvious.  It becomes even more manifested when you have a sieve defense. There are just too many glaring coverage mistakes that lead to opportunities that are easily converted. A goal by deflection is one thing but an easy tap in because a player is uncovered is a major problem. It happens too often. 

It does happen too often.  Whether that's personnel or system is something I'm still developing my opinion about.

With goaltending, it is 100% personnel.

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2 minutes ago, Archie Lee said:

I agree with this.

Without Dell in net our save % is .908.  If we had a .908 in the games that Dell played that would be a difference of 8 goals; factor in the empty net goals that occur when you are trailing late and it perhaps works out to a 10-11 goal swing in the positive direction.  That likely makes us around a .500 points % team or slightly better.  I don't think it makes us a playoff team.

The reasonable debate is over what impact losing has on a team and in particular on young players. We do have some experience with this.

Is the development of young players negatively impacted by losing?  In the long run, will the high draft pick we get this year because of losing have a more positive impact than the impact that could be gained from us being a more  competitive team now (if not a playoff team)?

I suspect it has more to do with the leaders in charge (Adams/Granato v. Murray/Blysma v. Botts/Housley/Krueger) than with the short-term win/loss outcomes.  Here is hoping Adams, Granato and the rest of the hierarchy know what they are doing.

 

As you noted there should be a worry about the mounting losses creating a psychology of losing that demoralizes the young core as it did with the last core. The situation that resulted in Jack/Risto/Reinhart wanting out primarily revolved around the issue of constant losing and the inability to foresee a change in the near future. Does anyone doubt that Reinhart was glad that he was on the home bench instead of the visiting bench in the Florida game?

I'm not a pessimist regarding the near future of the Sabres. The organization seems to have a number of high end prospects ready to make the jump next season, or soon thereafter. But my fear is that another season laid on top of the past few seasons will dispirit this promising young core to the point where some of them will want another place to play. 

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1 hour ago, JohnC said:

The Sabres would have a better record if Ullmark was our primary goalie. Few people would argue otherwise.  But I'm not convinced that this would be a playoff team because the defensive coverage is atrocious. It's obvious why so many are fixated on our goaltending deficiencies. It's a problem that is starkly evident.  However, when you have below average backstopping along with weak defensive coverage then your goaltending deficiency becomes exponentially worse. When mediocre goalies constantly get bombarded with ripe scoring chances then you get this repeated flurry of goals in short periods. The Florida game, among other games, was an example of this. How many people truly believed that after the Sabres scored the first three goals that the Sabres would coast to a victiory? I didn't. 

This team has a number of issues that go beyond the goalie issue related to the overall talent level of its roster. I just don't see this front office willing to expend resources to significantly upgrade the position this season. It's going to be a tough year. 

One thing getting forgotten in this is that except for the TB game, in the games that Anderson played, the team didn't get hemmed in their zone much at all.

Having faith in the goaltending goes a long way to playing the right way inside their own zone.  Fix the goaltending & the in-zone play will improve appreciably.  "Fix" the D & Tokarski looks serviceable again.  Dell would still be costing them games.

The easier & quicker fix is to get a guy in the lineup that can bump Tokarski or Subban to backup & should he ever play again Anderson to that role.  It'd take at least 2 other D & possibly 2-3 forwards to cover for the current goaltending.

(And this post wasn't specifically directed at you.  Just your post seemed a reasonable spot for this reply.)

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22 minutes ago, JohnC said:

As you noted there should be a worry about the mounting losses creating a psychology of losing that demoralizes the young core as it did with the last core. The situation that resulted in Jack/Risto/Reinhart wanting out primarily revolved around the issue of constant losing and the inability to foresee a change in the near future. Does anyone doubt that Reinhart was glad that he was on the home bench instead of the visiting bench in the Florida game?

I'm not a pessimist regarding the near future of the Sabres. The organization seems to have a number of high end prospects ready to make the jump next season, or soon thereafter. But my fear is that another season laid on top of the past few seasons will dispirit this promising young core to the point where some of them will want another place to play. 

Like you, I am not a pessimist re: the team's future.  I am somewhat worried about the impact of continuous losing on our current crop of young players (especially Dahlin, who seems to wear every loss). I'm further worried that we are about to add a 3rd wave of young players with several of Samuelsson, Power, Krebs, Quinn, Peterka and Luukkonen joining the team in the next 4 to 10 months. I think it is unrealistic that this 3rd wave can just replace the likes of Hagg, Miller, Eakin, Caggiula, Hinostroza and Tokarski and have us take a step forward in the W/L columns.  Experience does matter and my guess is that some of the "JAGS" are currently better hockey players than are the young players we are exited about.   

 

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3 minutes ago, Taro T said:

One thing getting forgotten in this is that except for the TB game, in the games that Anderson played, the team didn't get hemmed in their zone much at all.

Having faith in the goaltending goes a long way to playing the right way inside their own zone.  Fix the goaltending & the in-zone play will improve appreciably.  "Fix" the D & Tokarski looks serviceable again.  Dell would still be costing them games.

The easier & quicker fix is to get a guy in the lineup that can bump Tokarski or Subban to backup & should he ever play again Anderson to that role.  It'd take at least 2 other D & possibly 2-3 forwards to cover for the current goaltending.

(And this post wasn't specifically directed at you.  Just your post seemed a reasonable spot for this reply.)

I agree with this too, except it is not an easy or quick fix once you get past day one of free agency.  

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1 hour ago, Archie Lee said:

I agree with this.

Without Dell in net our save % is .908.  If we had a .908 in the games that Dell played that would be a difference of 8 goals; factor in the empty net goals that occur when you are trailing late and it perhaps works out to a 10-11 goal swing in the positive direction.  That likely makes us around a .500 points % team or slightly better.  I don't think it makes us a playoff team.

The reasonable debate is over what impact losing has on a team and in particular on young players. We do have some experience with this.

Is the development of young players negatively impacted by losing?  In the long run, will the high draft pick we get this year because of losing have a more positive impact than the impact that could be gained from us being a more  competitive team now (if not a playoff team)?

I suspect it has more to do with the leaders in charge (Adams/Granato v. Murray/Blysma v. Botts/Housley/Krueger) than with the short-term win/loss outcomes.  Here is hoping Adams, Granato and the rest of the hierarchy know what they are doing.

 

I also have a theory—just a theory—that good goaltending producers more scoring as team is usually in a better situation in the game ( not being behind as often) 

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42 minutes ago, Archie Lee said:

Like you, I am not a pessimist re: the team's future.  I am somewhat worried about the impact of continuous losing on our current crop of young players (especially Dahlin, who seems to wear every loss). I'm further worried that we are about to add a 3rd wave of young players with several of Samuelsson, Power, Krebs, Quinn, Peterka and Luukkonen joining the team in the next 4 to 10 months. I think it is unrealistic that this 3rd wave can just replace the likes of Hagg, Miller, Eakin, Caggiula, Hinostroza and Tokarski and have us take a step forward in the W/L columns.  Experience does matter and my guess is that some of the "JAGS" are currently better hockey players than are the young players we are exited about.   

Others have noted that deconstructing a roster is the easy part of a rebuild.  Replacing departed veterans with youth and maintaining/inserting a veteran presence that won't interfere with those prospects playing is the challenging part.

This is really year 0 of the rebuild.  Some of the players thought of as the future are with the major league team and others remain in the system.   They've made moderate commitments to Mittelstadt and a larger one to Dahlin, contract terms speaking.  

It would be nice, as is evidenced by this thread, if more effort was put into goaltending...but maybe is intentional.  Either way, they're on about a 65 point pace which is near where most reasonable fans figured they'd be considering this roster.  

 

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With Anderson in the net, this team can be in the top 8 of the conference. We lose a few games only because our goalies can't stop easy pucks and were too slow and some of our players were too lazy to stop rebounds or hit opponents in the right moment...Look at Canadiens - they can't do anything without Price. The same picture is Sabres.

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4 hours ago, JohnC said:

The Sabres would have a better record if Ullmark was our primary goalie. Few people would argue otherwise.  But I'm not convinced that this would be a playoff team because the defensive coverage is atrocious. It's obvious why so many are fixated on our goaltending deficiencies. It's a problem that is starkly evident.  However, when you have below average backstopping along with weak defensive coverage then your goaltending deficiency becomes exponentially worse. When mediocre goalies constantly get bombarded with ripe scoring chances then you get this repeated flurry of goals in short periods. The Florida game, among other games, was an example of this. How many people truly believed that after the Sabres scored the first three goals that the Sabres would coast to a victiory? I didn't. 

This team has a number of issues that go beyond the goalie issue related to the overall talent level of its roster. I just don't see this front office willing to expend resources to significantly upgrade the position this season. It's going to be a tough year. 

Agree, that we are better with Ullmark than Dell/Toker, but not a playoff team.  Ullmark is not playing good enough for that.  

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3 hours ago, PromoTheRobot said:

Folks always say "so-and-so has to make that save." But ignore all the tough saves that do get made. Funny how the one you let in is always the save that should have been made. I'm not defending Dell per se. He was gambling all night coming out way too far to challenge shooters because he didn't want to get beat on the first shot, but left many high-potential rebounds. But he made those "gotta have" saves in the first period against the Panthers while the Sabres defense were chasing their tails. Turns out that only postponed the inevitable. The truth is both goaltending and play in our own end stink.

Good point. We forget how well Dell played in the first five minutes vs the Panthers. He single-handedly prevented the Sabres being down 3-0 before we scored our first goal. But as you point out, that early great play became moot when he couldn’t make a key safe in crunch time. But he had a lot of help from a D that can’t cope with pressure in their own zone. 

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5 hours ago, JohnC said:

The Sabres would have a better record if Ullmark was our primary goalie. Few people would argue otherwise.  But I'm not convinced that this would be a playoff team because the defensive coverage is atrocious. It's obvious why so many are fixated on our goaltending deficiencies. It's a problem that is starkly evident.  However, when you have below average backstopping along with weak defensive coverage then your goaltending deficiency becomes exponentially worse. When mediocre goalies constantly get bombarded with ripe scoring chances then you get this repeated flurry of goals in short periods. The Florida game, among other games, was an example of this. How many people truly believed that after the Sabres scored the first three goals that the Sabres would coast to a victiory? I didn't. 

This team has a number of issues that go beyond the goalie issue related to the overall talent level of its roster. I just don't see this front office willing to expend resources to significantly upgrade the position this season. It's going to be a tough year. 

I agree with this.  The Florida game showed how talent can overwhelm who are mostly JAGs in their defencive zone.  And yes, besides Dahlin and Jokiharu, I am counting Thompson, Mittlestadt, and Olofsson as JAGs in their own zone.  They can't get caught running around, chasing the puck, colliding with each other, and leaving guys wide open in their own zone.

Do I wish we had Ullmark?  Of course -- our record would be considerably better with him on the team.  But on Thursday, Dell actually played well enough to win; the team in front of him looked like it had learnt positional defence online.

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21 minutes ago, Flashsabre said:

Marek just said Dallas have talked to Buffalo about Khudobin.

Too bad Khudobin has stunk this season.

Khudobin's the big guy that can't move laterally, right?

Can't say he'd help much, but if they bring him in, they get 3 things: 

1. the Amerks goaltending is quite good by AHL standards & Cincy could have downright Hasek-esqe goaltending by comparison to the rest of the ECHL; 

2. the Sabres could go through 6 goalies this year just like they did last year; and

3.  Adams will have used more different goaltenders in 2 seasons (1 of which was shortened) than Regier used in over a decade.

So, sure, why not give him a shot. 😉

 

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4 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Khudobin's the big guy that can't move laterally, right?

Can't say he'd help much, but if they bring him in, they get 3 things: 

1. the Amerks goaltending is quite good by AHL standards & Cincy could have downright Hasek-esqe goaltending by comparison to the rest of the ECHL; 

2. the Sabres could go through 6 goalies this year just like they did last year; and

3.  Adams will have used more different goaltenders in 2 seasons (1 of which was shortened) than Regier used in over a decade.

So, sure, why not give him a shot. 😉

 

No, Khudobin is like 5’11.

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21 hours ago, Taro T said:

One thing getting forgotten in this is that except for the TB game, in the games that Anderson played, the team didn't get hemmed in their zone much at all.

Having faith in the goaltending goes a long way to playing the right way inside their own zone.  Fix the goaltending & the in-zone play will improve appreciably.  "Fix" the D & Tokarski looks serviceable again.  Dell would still be costing them games.

The easier & quicker fix is to get a guy in the lineup that can bump Tokarski or Subban to backup & should he ever play again Anderson to that role.  It'd take at least 2 other D & possibly 2-3 forwards to cover for the current goaltending.

(And this post wasn't specifically directed at you.  Just your post seemed a reasonable spot for this reply.)

Anderson in general did play well for us. But it was a major gamble from a durability standpoint to rely on such an older player who was on the precipice of retirement. As you and others have pointed out the GM made a damning mistake by not having an adequate fallback position for the possibility of losing Ullmark, a free agent goalie. He should have had a much better option in his pocket for that possibility. You can't control what a player decides to do when he is a free agent but you should be prepared with reasonable options for the potential loss. Compare what Yzerman did in the offseason to address the goalie position with how KA did? He acquired Alex Nedeljkovic for a reasonable price. And there were other reasonable options due to goalies being exposed for the expansion draft. We could have offered a draft pick for a goalie who could have been a better option than going for the riskier route of getting Anderson as your primary goalie. He would have been a better option as your secondary goalie.  

The Sabres have a number of deficiencies that go beyond the goalie position. So I don't want to get carried away by blaming all problems with this roster on that position. But by buttressing that position you can at least for the short-term compensate for the other problematic areas. 

My worry is that the psychology of losing is going to demoralize our young players. In the Carolina game (I intermittently watched) it seemed as if Dahlin was a beaten man. That bothers me very much. 

 

https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/31863098/carolina-hurricanes-trade-goalie-alex-nedeljkovic-detroit-red-wings

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12 minutes ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

Ok, in the 10 seconds he played for us, he played well. I don't think anyone expected that to continue for a full season or for his 40 year old body to hold up. His body didn't hold up long enough to see if the stats were an anomaly or not. Carey Price is a vastly superior goaltender and I'm not sure why I need to explain that.

 I guarantee there'll be a report in the next week that hes retiring 

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1 hour ago, JohnC said:

Anderson in general did play well for us. But it was a major gamble from a durability standpoint to rely on such an older player who was on the precipice of retirement. As you and others have pointed out the GM made a damning mistake by not having an adequate fallback position for the possibility of losing Ullmark, a free agent goalie. He should have had a much better option in his pocket for that possibility. You can't control what a player decides to do when he is a free agent but you should be prepared with reasonable options for the potential loss. Compare what Yzerman did in the offseason to address the goalie position with how KA did? He acquired Alex Nedeljkovic for a reasonable price. And there were other reasonable options due to goalies being exposed for the expansion draft. We could have offered a draft pick for a goalie who could have been a better option than going for the riskier route of getting Anderson as your primary goalie. He would have been a better option as your secondary goalie.  

The Sabres have a number of deficiencies that go beyond the goalie position. So I don't want to get carried away by blaming all problems with this roster on that position. But by buttressing that position you can at least for the short-term compensate for the other problematic areas. 

My worry is that the psychology of losing is going to demoralize our young players. In the Carolina game (I intermittently watched) it seemed as if Dahlin was a beaten man. That bothers me very much. 

https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/31863098/carolina-hurricanes-trade-goalie-alex-nedeljkovic-detroit-red-wings

Absolutely. Players play better when they have confidence in their goalie. The past few seasons this team has looked remarkably better when they've had Ullmark or Anderson in net. And even with Toker to an extent -- they at least have faith in the Toke. But when it's Hutton or Dell... it all goes to hell.

GM Sheevyn should have claimed Nedeljkovic off waivers. Hutton had been on the downward trend every single year, with vision issues, and was not good early last year. Then you've got two young on-the-rise goalies in Ullmark and Nedeljkovic and you can decide which one to keep based on performance. Don't worry about blocking UPL... if he ends up blocked then you have 3 on-the-rise goalies and can trade for assets. Instead, Sheevyn kept Hutton and moved Johansson (which, by accounts from PHam or Vogl, one of the writers... was terrible in practices last season as he was in games. His confidence was busted) and then lost Ullmark. And it's all AHL-level since because a 40-year old goalie must not be the plan. That's where is offseason had to have an NHL-caliber goalie acquired via trade.

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