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Are the Sabres committed enough to building a winner in Rochester?


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https://www.yahoo.com/news/lightning-syracuse-crunch-player-development-140400915.html

I saw this article and it reminded me of why the Bolts are such a good organization and consistently develop later round players like Point, Cirelli, Johnson, Palat, Joseph, Paquette, Killhorn and Gudas.  TB believes learning to win starts in the AHL.

Like TB, I have longed believe that building a winning culture starts with building a winner in the AHL.  The prospects need to learn “Sabres hockey” and learn to win there first.  TM thought the AHL was a place to temporarily stash players.  Jbot tried to build a winner in Rochester, but he didn’t have enough prospects from TM to create that teaching environment, although they made the playoffs both of his completed seasons.  

KA now has the prospects (his own plus Jbot’s) to build that winning environment in Rochester.  Signing Mersch and Malone were a positive step to adding veteran leadership, but I’m not yet convinced he is fully committed to building a championship level team in Rochester.
 

 

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7 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/lightning-syracuse-crunch-player-development-140400915.html

I saw this article and it reminded me of why the Bolts are such a good organization and consistently develop later round players like Point, Cirelli, Johnson, Palat, Joseph, Paquette, Killhorn and Gudas.  TB believes learning to win starts in the AHL.

Like TB, I have longed believe that building a winning culture starts with building a winner in the AHL.  The prospects need to learn “Sabres hockey” and learn to win there first.  TM thought the AHL was a place to temporarily stash players.  Jbot tried to build a winner in Rochester, but he didn’t have enough prospects from TM to create that teaching environment, although they made the playoffs both of his completed seasons.  

KA now has the prospects (his own plus Jbot’s) to build that winning environment in Rochester.  Signing Mersch and Malone were a positive step to adding veteran leadership, but I’m not yet convinced he is fully committed to building a championship level team in Rochester.
 

 

How are you defining committed?

If it's simply will he give that team an opportunity to be competitive every night against the best the AHL has to offer, expect he will.

If you are considering it putting winning ahead of giving kids opportunities to grow, then no.  See Ra-cha-cha being perpetually in the give the kids a chance mode that the Sabres were in last year.

If you are considering it as will he keep a key player on the farm even though he might beat out a Sabre for playing time.  Probably.  He did that w/ Quinn & Peterka down the stretch.

If you are considering it as will he keep a key player on the farm even though the Sabres need an injury replacement, well no, don't expect he'll do that.

And if you are asking will he sign a bunch of AHL vets to take key roles and thus key playing time (aka development time) from prospects that are in the Sabres plans, no, doubt he'll go overboard there either.  We've seen the types of AHL vets he brings in.  They'll help win games but aren't going to be the straws stirring the Amerks' drink IMHO.

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4 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/lightning-syracuse-crunch-player-development-140400915.html

I saw this article and it reminded me of why the Bolts are such a good organization and consistently develop later round players like Point, Cirelli, Johnson, Palat, Joseph, Paquette, Killhorn and Gudas.  TB believes learning to win starts in the AHL.

Like TB, I have longed believe that building a winning culture starts with building a winner in the AHL.  The prospects need to learn “Sabres hockey” and learn to win there first.  TM thought the AHL was a place to temporarily stash players.  Jbot tried to build a winner in Rochester, but he didn’t have enough prospects from TM to create that teaching environment, although they made the playoffs both of his completed seasons.  

KA now has the prospects (his own plus Jbot’s) to build that winning environment in Rochester.  Signing Mersch and Malone were a positive step to adding veteran leadership, but I’m not yet convinced he is fully committed to building a championship level team in Rochester.
 

 

Where do you want Krebs, Fitzgerald, Peterka, Quinn, and Lukkonnen to play next year? Rochester or Buffalo?  I'm not even counting guys like Samuelsson or Power.  The only way to build the sort of team you are talking about is to have many successful drafts in a row so there is a constant stream of talent coming in to replace that which graduates to the NHL.  While the Sabres do have a number of prospects right now, they don't have a number of players ready to step into the AHL to replace the players I just listed. They will in a year or two, but not right now. If those players I listed are all in Buffalo, Rochester will suffer for it this season.  If they crank out 3 or 4 good drafts in a row where they hit on a handful of guys each draft then the AHL team will be and will remain strong for a couple years provided those guys aren't screwed up by the Swedish League rules, or stay in the NCAA for the full 4 years, etc.  Portillo and Johnson COULD be in Rochester this year, but won't be.  The Sabres drafting has been so bad for so long they don't have the layers of talent within the organization.  The talent that they do have has been needed in Buffalo.  There has also been a trend league wide to get guys into the league at younger ages.  You don't see as many players marinating in the AHL for 2 years or more if they can actually play.  It's one and done or less. 

I look at it this way, if you have a great AHL team it means a couple things. 1 you drafted really well at least a couple years in a row AND you have a really good NHL team that is blocking some of those guys from immediate call-ups. The Sabres have neither right now.

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4 minutes ago, Taro T said:

How are you defining committed?

If it's simply will he give that team an opportunity to be competitive every night against the best the AHL has to offer, expect he will.

If you are considering it putting winning ahead of giving kids opportunities to grow, then no.  See Ra-cha-cha being perpetually in the give the kids a chance mode that the Sabres were in last year.

If you are considering it as will he keep a key player on the farm even though he might beat out a Sabre for playing time.  Probably.  He did that w/ Quinn & Peterka down the stretch.

If you are considering it as will he keep a key player on the farm even though the Sabres need an injury replacement, well no, don't expect he'll do that.

And if you are asking will he sign a bunch of AHL vets to take key roles and thus key playing time (aka development time) from prospects that are in the Sabres plans, no, doubt he'll go overboard there either.  We've seen the types of AHL vets he brings in.  They'll help win games but aren't going to be the straws stirring the Amerks' drink IMHO.

There is a balance.  AHL rules limit the number of vets skaters allowed to play each night (vets are players with over 260 games of pro experience ) to a max of 6. It’s rare for teams to have 12 or more legit drafted prospects playing in the AHL in a year. It’s why guys like Davies and college UFAs get signed.  Best case we’ll have 9 drafted skaters in the AHL next season in Murray, Rosen, Kisakov, Kulich, Cederqvist, Rousek, Pekar, Laaksonen and Weissbach. (10 if you include Malone) (UPL is a goalie and has different rules).  

Right now I think only Mersch and Prow are vet skaters under the AHL rules.  TB usually kept a stable of 4 or so truly veteran guys to provide constant leadership in the AHL.  I haven’t seen that yet from KA other than Mersch. DR kept guys like Michael Ryan, Chris Taylor up front and David Cullen and Brandon Smith on D to shepherd the kids and it truly helped guys like Roy, Pommers, Vanek, Campbell and others develop.   I’d like to see something similar to that in Rochester again.

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Sorry Amerks fans, not that they are mutually exclusive, but winning championships is trumped by developing Sabres prospects every time.

As far as I'm concerned, last year is likely to represent one of the most successful seasons in Rochester Americans history.

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5 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Sorry Amerks fans, not that they are mutually exclusive, but winning championships is trumped by developing Sabres prospects every time.

As far as I'm concerned, last year is likely to represent one of the most successful seasons in Rochester Americans history.

Which is the primary role of the Amerks mission with its affiliation with the Sabres.

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1 minute ago, PromoTheRobot said:

If things work out the pipeline will flow with fresh young talent from Cincinnati. (Why do we never talk about the Cyclones?)

Because very few of the players who play there will ever see the ice in Buffalo, let alone become important pieces there.

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5 minutes ago, PromoTheRobot said:

If things work out the pipeline will flow with fresh young talent from Cincinnati. (Why do we never talk about the Cyclones?)

Can't speak for anyone else, but IMHO it's because NHL teams can only have a max of 50 players under contract in the organization and with 23 being in Buffalo, another nearly 20 in Ra-cha-cha, plus a handful of juniors signed as well once you account for keeping a couple of slots free for any emergency / potential college signings, there aren't more than a couple of actual Sabres prospects there.

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6 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Can't speak for anyone else, but IMHO it's because NHL teams can only have a max of 50 players under contract in the organization and with 23 being in Buffalo, another nearly 20 in Ra-cha-cha, plus a handful of juniors signed as well once you account for keeping a couple of slots free for any emergency / potential college signings, there aren't more than a couple of actual Sabres prospects there.

According to capfriendly, the Sabres are currently at 38/50. 

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I mean Rochester is in need of a very good vet offensive centre. There are still probably options out there. If they sign one then I think they will be in decent shape.

The D corps is improved. UPL and Subban should be an upgrade in net if UPL is healthy and takes a step.

The young kids won’t be at Quinn and JJ’s level but hopefully they grow and develop. 

People hate him but if Bjork is sent down he will be an offensive producer in the AHL.

 

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39 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

There is a balance.  AHL rules limit the number of vets skaters allowed to play each night (vets are players with over 260 games of pro experience ) to a max of 6. It’s rare for teams to have 12 or more legit drafted prospects playing in the AHL in a year. It’s why guys like Davies and college UFAs get signed.  Best case we’ll have 9 drafted skaters in the AHL next season in Murray, Rosen, Kisakov, Kulich, Cederqvist, Rousek, Pekar, Laaksonen and Weissbach. (10 if you include Malone) (UPL is a goalie and has different rules).  

Right now I think only Mersch and Prow are vet skaters under the AHL rules.  TB usually kept a stable of 4 or so truly veteran guys to provide constant leadership in the AHL.  I haven’t seen that yet from KA other than Mersch. DR kept guys like Michael Ryan, Chris Taylor up front and David Cullen and Brandon Smith on D to shepherd the kids and it truly helped guys like Roy, Pommers, Vanek, Campbell and others develop.   I’d like to see something similar to that in Rochester again.

Thought about including a mention of the AHL max limit on # of vets dressed in any given game in the last paragraph of the quoted post, but considering we've discussed that aspect of the AHL on several occasions, figured acknowledging it specifically was unnecessary.  Lesson learned.

As to your 2nd paragraph, we're still very early in the AHL stocking phase of the summer, but Adams has already brought in several tweener D-men (though the new guys are all of the same variety) & brought back Mersch & Prow.  Neither of which will be the stir the drink types of vets you seem to be looking for.  It's going to be later in the summer that the rest of Ra-cha-cha's roster will be finalized.

And not really sure why you include Mike Ryan as the type of Amerk vet you're looking for.  He played 4 years on the Amerks right out of college and then came back for 1 season years later at the end of his career.  Jankowski was a better fit into that vet role than Ryan was for most of his tenure.  So was Davidsson last season.  Teves and MacInnis were brought in to be vets as well last year (they aren't NHLers at this point).  And all those guys were brought in to help develop the kids.

So, again, how are you defining being committed to winning a championship in Ra-cha-cha?

 

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22 minutes ago, LabattBlue said:

According to capfriendly, the Sabres are currently at 38/50. 

According to Puckipedia (formerly NHL Numbers) they're at 44.  Pretty sure they include unsigned RFAs in that #.

But regardless, there will be a couple of more signings for the Sabres and additional players brought in for the Amerks.  Several of which will be on AHL, not NHL 2 way, deals.

So, other than Houser who appears to have signed w/ the Amerks & not the Sabres, are there any legit potential Sabres in Cincy?  If not, or if there are only 1 or 2 others, IMHO there is nothing really for us to be talking about them on a regular basis.  YMMV.  (Again, not speaking for anybody else.)

(And really not TRYING to be argumentative.  Not sure if it comes across that way or not.)

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To answer the question, not really. But probably more so than many other NHL teams. 
 

To me, the Amerks history and stature in the league should grant them additional resources and attention to win. That’s just my personal opinion. They have a rich history, and I think Buffalo has an obligation to keep that going. That doesn’t mean putting the Amerks needs over the Sabres. But no one has ever suggested that. You can prioritize winning in the AHL without sacrificing development. 
 

Ultimately, Buffalo puts a little extra emphasis on winning compared to some of the typical AHL bottom feeders, but to the level of Hershey, Chicago, Providence, Wilkes- Barre, Syracuse? I don’t believe so. 

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I’m not throwing shade at anybody who does, but I can not be compelled to care.  The question IMHO is are the Sabres investing enough in developing players in Roc.   Is winning better than not winning?  Sure.  But if it comes down to making decisions that are the best for Roch this year or the Sabres going forward…. I know which side of the line I’m coming down on.  
 

I think too much was made about the ‘04-05 lockout Amerks who most certainly would not have been together entirely or for the whole year had there been an NHL season.  

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34 minutes ago, Amerks8796 said:

To answer the question, not really. But probably more so than many other NHL teams. 
 

To me, the Amerks history and stature in the league should grant them additional resources and attention to win. That’s just my personal opinion. They have a rich history, and I think Buffalo has an obligation to keep that going. That doesn’t mean putting the Amerks needs over the Sabres. But no one has ever suggested that. You can prioritize winning in the AHL without sacrificing development. 
 

Ultimately, Buffalo puts a little extra emphasis on winning compared to some of the typical AHL bottom feeders, but to the level of Hershey, Chicago, Providence, Wilkes- Barre, Syracuse? I don’t believe so. 

Do you know if those other franchises are independently owned or are they owned by the parent club?

Don't know the answer to that (thus the Q 😉 ) and expect at least Hershey & Chicago are separate entities from their parent club,, but if they are independently owned can see why there'd be a much greater emphasis on winning.  They NEED to make money to remain viable.  The Amerks (fortunately, considering their post-Fla Donner debacle) don't.

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18 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Do you know if those other franchises are independently owned or are they owned by the parent club?

Don't know the answer to that (thus the Q 😉 ) and expect at least Hershey & Chicago are separate entities from their parent club,, but if they are independently owned can see why there'd be a much greater emphasis on winning.  They NEED to make money to remain viable.  The Amerks (fortunately, considering their post-Fla Donner debacle) don't.

Most are independently owned. Chicago and Hershey have quite a bit of money, but as far as I know, neither team controls any hockey ops anymore. Going back 10 years ago, both teams would sign their own players. But now they’re at the whims of their parent club. Same with Syracuse. Howard Dolgon owns the team, but TB has total control over the on ice product. 

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26 minutes ago, GoPuckYourself said:

UPL, Bloom, Cedarqvist, Rosen, Malone, Kulich, Östlund, Savoie, Lindgren, Paltopov. Fitzgerald, Prow. Not all of these players will be there this season but will be there soon. I think we have a solid roster in the AHL that will compete.

Not disputing your point, but I think the only way Matt Savoie plays a shift in the minors is if the Sabres take a huge leap next year.

I expect he should be NHL ready next year and will be in two. He's a Cozens-level prospect.

3 minutes ago, JustOneParade said:

For those of you very familiar with the Amerks, do we wish RK hadn't run off Chris Taylor?

Seth Appert Mike Peca and Mike Weber have done a better job with our prospects than any coaching group in 15 years.

So, no.

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4 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Not disputing your point, but I think the only way Matt Savoie plays a shift in the minors is if the Sabres take a huge leap next year.

I expect he should be NHL ready next year and will be in two. He's a Cozens-level prospect.

Seth Appert Mike Peca and Mike Weber have done a better job with our prospects than any coaching group in 15 years.

So, no.

Wasn't Taylor the coach that got Thompson & Mittelstadt their confidence back &  in the case of Casey helped to stop him from being a golden lab puppy chasing a ball in his own end?

Liked Taylor a lot.  Still not sold on Appert but am looking forward to seeing what he can do this year.  (Like Peca & Weber a lot too.)

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It sure seems like Adams is planning to build a strong team in Rochester, establishing a winning culture there is important,  and player development will be his first priority.  He needs to sprinkle in AHL vets to help the kids find there way in a very physical league.   You can win and develop players.  

Since the Sabre's are a rebuilding young team, they are pulling prospects out of there fast right now - Samuelsson, Quinn and JJP are examples.   UPL is getting the AHL time he needs.   Depending on how this year goes with last years young core plus Krebs, Power, Mule, Quinn and JJP, the next batch of prospects might have a harder time cracking the NHL roster.  Which is what Tampa has and what we want.  

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39 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Not disputing your point, but I think the only way Matt Savoie plays a shift in the minors is if the Sabres take a huge leap next year.

I expect he should be NHL ready next year and will be in two. He's a Cozens-level prospect.

Seth Appert Mike Peca and Mike Weber have done a better job with our prospects than any coaching group in 15 years.

So, no.

You could be right, I’m definitely not an expert on these prospects but I don’t recall reading anywhere that he was “NHL ready” out of the gate, not  that it really means much. 

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On 7/22/2022 at 1:14 PM, Pimlach said:

It sure seems like Adams is planning to build a strong team in Rochester, establishing a winning culture there is important,  and player development will be his first priority.  He needs to sprinkle in AHL vets to help the kids find there way in a very physical league.   You can win and develop players.  

Since the Sabre's are a rebuilding young team, they are pulling prospects out of there fast right now - Samuelsson, Quinn and JJP are examples.   UPL is getting the AHL time he needs.   Depending on how this year goes with last years young core plus Krebs, Power, Mule, Quinn and JJP, the next batch of prospects might have a harder time cracking the NHL roster.  Which is what Tampa has and what we want.  

First just want to thank @GASabresIUFANfor his thread and points.  I'm totally naive about how AHL teams are put together by the parent teams.

As to the bolded, it would seem to me that the "sprinkling" of AHL vets you want on the team are fairly important, right?  Are there guys in the league that excel at such roles and are highly sought after?  Or is it a constant changeover with filler guys in these roles that don't stay on the team long?

I guess the way I see it is you want to have this good core of AHL players that excel at training and playing multiple roles and the success of the team is dependent on the quality of the young guys moving through the system.

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On 7/22/2022 at 7:50 AM, GASabresIUFAN said:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/lightning-syracuse-crunch-player-development-140400915.html

I saw this article and it reminded me of why the Bolts are such a good organization and consistently develop later round players like Point, Cirelli, Johnson, Palat, Joseph, Paquette, Killhorn and Gudas.  TB believes learning to win starts in the AHL.

Like TB, I have longed believe that building a winning culture starts with building a winner in the AHL.  The prospects need to learn “Sabres hockey” and learn to win there first.  TM thought the AHL was a place to temporarily stash players.  Jbot tried to build a winner in Rochester, but he didn’t have enough prospects from TM to create that teaching environment, although they made the playoffs both of his completed seasons.  

KA now has the prospects (his own plus Jbot’s) to build that winning environment in Rochester.  Signing Mersch and Malone were a positive step to adding veteran leadership, but I’m not yet convinced he is fully committed to building a championship level team in Rochester.
 

 

I remember way back when they were bought by the Knox's around 1980 if I remember correctly they were certainly committed to making them a winner and they were generally a very good team in the 1980s. Of course the Sabres were a better team as well so that sort of thing always goes hand in hand. I think the idea is right though. You have to teach team first and hard work ethic and winning culture and all that stuff at every stage so you can't neglect the farm. 

Right now I think the cupboard WAS so bare Rochester became a "least of our concerns" kind of thing and it'll only improve as the Sabres improve and they have young perhaps NHL ready players who simply have no roster spot (yet) so they will stay down there longer. When you have that both teams should be winning.

When we get to that point, I think the GM needs to make sure he has added that smattering of depth veterans to fill out that Rochester roster so that they are really competitive. 

So ya, let's bring back the '80s, only this time no mullets 🙂

 

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