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2023-24 Sabres Early Thoughts


GASabresIUFAN
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I listened to  KA on Ray Ferraro's podcast and came away with the impression that he isn't going to make any major moves at the deadline or even this summer.  He is set on letting the guys mature and will only fill holes as they naturally occur.

From that standpoint the status quo team looks like it will return in 2023-24

In goal (2) - UPL and Comrie - UPL's play has convinced KA to let him become the starter.  (Cost 2.638)

Defense (6) - Power, Dahlin, Samuelsson, Jokiharju, Lyubushkin and Bryson.  They are all under contract.  Only question is RFA Clague.  This is a huge mistake imho.  Jokiharju isn't good enough for the 2nd pairing and Bryson isn't good enough to be an everyday player.  (Cost 18.302)

Forwards (8) - Tnt, Tuch, Skinner, Mitts, VO, JJP, Quinn and Krebs are all under contract.  Jost, Cozens and Asplund are all RFAs and both will be re-signed.  KA was clear on the podcast how happy he was with Jost and how he is a guy who can grow with the group.  That leaves Z and KO, both UFAs as the only points of possible change.  (Cost 30.726)

Capwise - The 16 players cost 51.166.  Add about 10.5 for Cozens ($8?) and Jost (2.5?) and we are at approx 61.5 for 18 players. 

Basically KA's biggest offseason question is what to do about KO and Z.  Re-sign or not and if re-signed for how long.  How do you replace them if not re-signed.  Cap space is not an issue for next year, but the year after Power, Dahlin, Mitts, Joki and UPL will all need new deals.  VO will also if KA thinks he is part of the core.  30+ goal scorers are hard to replace.   

Prospects looking for jobs

1) Forwards - Savoie is NHL or CHL only next year.  Kulich is prospering at 18 in the AHL (17 pts in 29 games).  Older prospects Bio (24) 29 pts in 30 games, Weissbach (24) 26 pts with 13 goals in 36 games and Rousek (23) 25 pts in 36 games are the Amerks leading scorers.  

2) Defense - Only former 1st rd pick Johnson is possibly NHL ready assuming KA signs him once Minn's season ends.  

3) Goalie - None, but KA was gushing over Levi.  He was clear that Levi won't be rushed to the NHL.  KA was also happy with Portillo, but his words were very measured.  

After listening to the podcast, I now doubt Kulich or Savoie will be Sabres next year.  No need to rush either, but I still don't like the idea of Savoie returning to the CHL.  I think it's a waste of his time.  Might he go to Europe for a year to play against older competition?  

If I'm honest, I think this is the wrong strategy for next season.  It's now time to start moving on from some of the former prospects, now players, who aren't contributing how they should.  Asplund, Bryson, Jokiharju, and even Mitts and VO should all be discussed.  For me I'm ok with Mitts and Vo for another season especially if the chemistry with Jost continues to improve.  However allowing 3+ goal a game against is not acceptable. If I were KA I'd be looking for a partner for Power.  My thought would be, in keeping with the status quo theme, to drop Bryson and Bush to the 7/8 roles, move Joki to the 6, find a RHD partner for Power and a LHD partner for Jokiharju. 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, PASabreFan said:

WHY.

Why not.  KA made it clear from the podcast that this is on his mind as the deadline approaches and how he is going to handle prospects going forward.  If he is already thinking about next season, it seems like a worthy discussion here.

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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@Pimlach  wrote the following in another thread and when I think about whether KA will re-sign KO and or Z, I think he has to ask how does he replace their skill set if he doesn't re-sign them.  In context of what he said in the podcast, can he replace them with younger players who can grow with the core? How does he repalce their leadership if he goes that route?

Quote

Kyle does the little things that don’t get noticed.  Like yesterday’s back check in our defensive zone, he pins his man to the boards so another player can take the puck and breakout.   He is one of the few that plays the body correctly and at the right times.  Zemgus is the other.  We have a lot of players that barely touch the opponent in the course of a game.  When they are gone they will be missed.  

 

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11 minutes ago, PASabreFan said:

WHY.

If this team fails to make the playoffs the question is why not?   
 

They desperately need a defenseman to force Bryson to 7th.   If Kulich or Savoie look ready then what?  

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20 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I listened to  KA on Ray Ferraro's podcast and came away with the impression that he isn't going to make any major moves at the deadline or even this summer.  He is set on letting the guys mature and will only fill holes as they naturally occur.

From that standpoint the status quo team looks like it will return in 2023-24

In goal (2) - UPL and Comrie - UPL's play has convinced KA to let him become the starter.  (Cost 2.638)

Defense (6) - Power, Dahlin, Samuelsson, Jokiharju, Lyubushkin and Bryson.  They are all under contract.  Only question is RFA Clague.  This is a huge mistake imho.  Jokiharju isn't good enough for the 2nd pairing and Bryson isn't good enough to be an everyday player.  (Cost 18.302)

Forwards (8) - Tnt, Tuch, Skinner, Mitts, VO, JJP, Quinn and Krebs are all under contract.  Jost, Cozens and Asplund are all RFAs and both will be re-signed.  KA was clear on the podcast how happy he was with Jost and how he is a guy who can grow with the group.  That leaves Z and KO, both UFAs as the only points of possible change.  (Cost 30.726)

Capwise - The 16 players cost 51.166.  Add about 10.5 for Cozens ($8?) and Jost (2.5?) and we are at approx 61.5 for 18 players. 

Basically KA's biggest offseason question is what to do about KO and Z.  Re-sign or not and if re-signed for how long.  How do you replace them if not re-signed.  Cap space is not an issue for next year, but the year after Power, Dahlin, Mitts, Joki and UPL will all need new deals.  VO will also if KA thinks he is part of the core.  30+ goal scorers are hard to replace.   

Prospects looking for jobs

1) Forwards - Savoie is NHL or CHL only next year.  Kulich is prospering at 18 in the AHL (17 pts in 29 games).  Older prospects Bio (24) 29 pts in 30 games, Weissbach (24) 26 pts with 13 goals in 36 games and Rousek (23) 25 pts in 36 games are the Amerks leading scorers.  

2) Defense - Only former 1st rd pick Johnson is possibly NHL ready assuming KA signs him once Minn's season ends.  

3) Goalie - None, but KA was gushing over Levi.  He was clear that Levi won't be rushed to the NHL.  KA was also happy with Portillo, but his words were very measured.  

After listening to the podcast, I now doubt Kulich or Savoie will be Sabres next year.  No need to rush either, but I still don't like the idea of Savoie returning to the CHL.  I think it's a waste of his time.  Might he go to Europe for a year to play against older competition?  

If I'm honest, I think this is the wrong strategy for next season.  It's now time to start moving on from some of the former prospects, now players, who aren't contributing how they should.  Asplund, Bryson, Jokiharju, and even Mitts and VO should all be discussed.  For me I'm ok with Mitts and Vo for another season especially if the chemistry with Jost continues to improve.  However allowing 3+ goal a game against is not acceptable. If I were KA I'd be looking for a partner for Power.  My thought would be, in keeping with the status quo theme, to drop Bryson and Bush to the 7/8 roles, move Joki to the 6, find a RHD partner for Power and a LHD partner for Jokiharju. 

 

 

 

Have been saying for months it isn't likely there are going to be any moves this season.  Except for signing Levi & hopefully Johnson, obviously.

They do obviously like Bryson (they gave him a 2 year contract for money he hasn't earned yet), but still expect them to bring in another D-man this off-season if Johnson doesn't sign; though most likely it'll be another Lyubushkin type signing.  And then there'll be the flood of tweener D-men to round out Ra-cha-cha & step up if there are injuries; Clague could very well be one.

Like @tom webster, expect there's a good chance Okposo goes back to his Minnesota roots, but expect Girgensons back.  Which likely opens A slot for a kid provided he can beat out Asplund for playing time.

Adams, Granato, & crew have way more faith in these guys than the fans do.  Have moved beyond saying they're wrong as they seem to be on the right track and the experience the kids are getting this year will put them that much further next year.  People watching from the outside have been willing to move on from a lot of these guys at various points, but except for Bryson & Asplund (who people haven't advocated for moving on from, and who hasn't had an opportunity to show if he's improved too) all of those guys have stepped up.  Maybe those 2 will step up too.  Really believe that Adams thinks this team will compete for the Stanley Cup next year with only minor tweaks.  Won't bet against him.

And, it's entirely possible that none or only 1 of Savoie & Kulich and the rest of the next wave can't fight their way past what is currently in Buffalo next year.  That's actually a good thing as it keeps them in the fold and cheap for an extra year and lets the Sabres get back towards a more stable change out about 4 guys per offseason starting that following year.  2-3 rookies earning a promotion & 1-2 FAs.

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1 hour ago, Pimlach said:

If this team fails to make the playoffs the question is why not?   
 

They desperately need a defenseman to force Bryson to 7th.   If Kulich or Savoie look ready then what?  

We're not there yet (missing the playoffs). We've been so conditioned to look to the future.

It's a tone deaf topic IMHO.

I mean, why not Anticipated 24-25 Opening Night Roster?

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8 hours ago, Taro T said:

Have been saying for months it isn't likely there are going to be any moves this season.  Except for signing Levi & hopefully Johnson, obviously.

They do obviously like Bryson (they gave him a 2 year contract for money he hasn't earned yet), but still expect them to bring in another D-man this off-season if Johnson doesn't sign; though most likely it'll be another Lyubushkin type signing.  And then there'll be the flood of tweener D-men to round out Ra-cha-cha & step up if there are injuries; Clague could very well be one.

Like @tom webster, expect there's a good chance Okposo goes back to his Minnesota roots, but expect Girgensons back.  Which likely opens A slot for a kid provided he can beat out Asplund for playing time.

Adams, Granato, & crew have way more faith in these guys than the fans do.  Have moved beyond saying they're wrong as they seem to be on the right track and the experience the kids are getting this year will put them that much further next year.  People watching from the outside have been willing to move on from a lot of these guys at various points, but except for Bryson & Asplund (who people haven't advocated for moving on from, and who hasn't had an opportunity to show if he's improved too) all of those guys have stepped up.  Maybe those 2 will step up too.  Really believe that Adams thinks this team will compete for the Stanley Cup next year with only minor tweaks.  Won't bet against him.

And, it's entirely possible that none or only 1 of Savoie & Kulich and the rest of the next wave can't fight their way past what is currently in Buffalo next year.  That's actually a good thing as it keeps them in the fold and cheap for an extra year and lets the Sabres get back towards a more stable change out about 4 guys per offseason starting that following year.  2-3 rookies earning a promotion & 1-2 FAs.

Good Stuff Taro.  
 

When I watch the games and I see a lot of goals scored with Bryson, Mitts, and VO on the ice.  I see blown leads and little ability to adjust our teams game and slow down a good opponent.  That needs fixing.  Moving on from Bryson is a no brainer in my opinion.  Adam’s cannot fall in love with this group now.  Bryson/Clague is not a playoff 6/7.   

If Kyle goes then maybe one rookie comes up but that rookie is not gonna play the same critical role.   There will be a big hole without KO.   If both Kyle and Z go then we rely on Asplund and one of Kulich/Savoie/Rosen to fill the roster?   Who kills penalties and checks the opponent top line?   Asplund has not shown any progress in his game from last season to this season.   He lacks both a scoring touch and a physical game.   He has not taken minutes from Z because he is not as good.  

So if there are no new vets added and we loose KO and Z ,then Quinn and Peterka will have to grow up very fast and we can no longer limit their minutes.  Bringing back the exact same team but without both Kyle and Z is very likely to slow down the team’s  progress and is likely to lead to a worse  W/L.  They do good things that are not tracked on the scoresheet 
 

This doesn’t account for the loss on Anderson either.  

Edited by Pimlach
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7 hours ago, PASabreFan said:

We're not there yet (missing the playoffs). We've been so conditioned to look to the future.

It's a tone deaf topic IMHO.

I mean, why not Anticipated 24-25 Opening Night Roster?

Sure, we are still in the playoff race and I for one enjoy that.   The Sabres fan base is starting to get energized again. 
 

This whole topic is 2023-24. Nothing wrong with a poster listening to a GM talk about his team and then post about it.  Especially when the GM is talking about the future.  
 

We have been irrelevant for over a decade, talking about next year is quite normal for a fan base waiting to see real progress.  

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Also any trades at the deadline could have profound effect on the 2023-24 Sabres roster.

For example:  KO let's KA know he won't be back next season.  Does KA trade him at the deadline or just let him walk?  How that plays out may determine how that roster spot is filled next season.  

What if someone makes a TB for Hagel like offer for Olofsson at the deadline? If KA accepts, that may open a 3rd line opportunity for someone outside the organization next season.

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I know VO has been scoring but with added ice time JJP and Quinn provide that next year.  I would maximize VO's value by moving him this deadline.  A team in contention will want his scoring and give up a 1st todo so.  He is not part of the long term plan.

Bryson should only be back next year as the 7th d-man. 

I can see KO coming back on a one year deal before he retires.  Probably around $2 million.

I think Girgs will move on.  Likes the progress and where Buffalo is going but can see hime going to play in Pittsburg, his wife is from there.

Needs-

2nd pair RD to play with Power

Physical winger or center who can win face-offs.

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2 minutes ago, sweetlou said:

I know VO has been scoring but with added ice time JJP and Quinn provide that next year.  I would maximize VO's value by moving him this deadline.  A team in contention will want his scoring and give up a 1st todo so.  He is not part of the long term plan.

Bryson should only be back next year as the 7th d-man. 

I can see KO coming back on a one year deal before he retires.  Probably around $2 million.

I think Girgs will move on.  Likes the progress and where Buffalo is going but can see hime going to play in Pittsburg, his wife is from there.

Needs-

2nd pair RD to play with Power

Physical winger or center who can win face-offs.

I don't see Zemgus leaving. Only franchise he's played for and Terry and Adams like him. 

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6 hours ago, tom webster said:

Yes, my belief is that he’s here as long as he wants to be. Besides, he, as much as anyone, deserves to experience the highs after so many lows.

Agreed, plus I don’t see many better 4th-liners around the league.

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12 hours ago, dudacek said:

Agreed, plus I don’t see many better 4th-liners around the league.

So you want Z back.  How much are you investing and for how long?  Same goes for Jost.  His qualifying offer is 2.25.  
 

Keep in mind that 10 guys need new deals the following year including Power, Dahlin, Krebs, Mitts, UPL, and Joki.
 

 

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22 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I listened to  KA on Ray Ferraro's podcast and came away with the impression that he isn't going to make any major moves at the deadline or even this summer.  He is set on letting the guys mature and will only fill holes as they naturally occur.

From that standpoint the status quo team looks like it will return in 2023-24

In goal (2) - UPL and Comrie - UPL's play has convinced KA to let him become the starter.  (Cost 2.638)

Defense (6) - Power, Dahlin, Samuelsson, Jokiharju, Lyubushkin and Bryson.  They are all under contract.  Only question is RFA Clague.  This is a huge mistake imho.  Jokiharju isn't good enough for the 2nd pairing and Bryson isn't good enough to be an everyday player.  (Cost 18.302)

Forwards (8) - Tnt, Tuch, Skinner, Mitts, VO, JJP, Quinn and Krebs are all under contract.  Jost, Cozens and Asplund are all RFAs and both will be re-signed.  KA was clear on the podcast how happy he was with Jost and how he is a guy who can grow with the group.  That leaves Z and KO, both UFAs as the only points of possible change.  (Cost 30.726)

Capwise - The 16 players cost 51.166.  Add about 10.5 for Cozens ($8?) and Jost (2.5?) and we are at approx 61.5 for 18 players. 

Basically KA's biggest offseason question is what to do about KO and Z.  Re-sign or not and if re-signed for how long.  How do you replace them if not re-signed.  Cap space is not an issue for next year, but the year after Power, Dahlin, Mitts, Joki and UPL will all need new deals.  VO will also if KA thinks he is part of the core.  30+ goal scorers are hard to replace.   

Prospects looking for jobs

1) Forwards - Savoie is NHL or CHL only next year.  Kulich is prospering at 18 in the AHL (17 pts in 29 games).  Older prospects Bio (24) 29 pts in 30 games, Weissbach (24) 26 pts with 13 goals in 36 games and Rousek (23) 25 pts in 36 games are the Amerks leading scorers.  

2) Defense - Only former 1st rd pick Johnson is possibly NHL ready assuming KA signs him once Minn's season ends.  

3) Goalie - None, but KA was gushing over Levi.  He was clear that Levi won't be rushed to the NHL.  KA was also happy with Portillo, but his words were very measured.  

After listening to the podcast, I now doubt Kulich or Savoie will be Sabres next year.  No need to rush either, but I still don't like the idea of Savoie returning to the CHL.  I think it's a waste of his time.  Might he go to Europe for a year to play against older competition?  

If I'm honest, I think this is the wrong strategy for next season.  It's now time to start moving on from some of the former prospects, now players, who aren't contributing how they should.  Asplund, Bryson, Jokiharju, and even Mitts and VO should all be discussed.  For me I'm ok with Mitts and Vo for another season especially if the chemistry with Jost continues to improve.  However allowing 3+ goal a game against is not acceptable. If I were KA I'd be looking for a partner for Power.  My thought would be, in keeping with the status quo theme, to drop Bryson and Bush to the 7/8 roles, move Joki to the 6, find a RHD partner for Power and a LHD partner for Jokiharju. 

 

 

 

Especially 30 goal scorers that are now scoring 81% of them in 5v5 situations...

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24 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

So you want Z back.  How much are you investing and for how long?  Same goes for Jost.  His qualifying offer is 2.25.  
 

Keep in mind that 10 guys need new deals the following year including Power, Dahlin, Krebs, Mitts, UPL, and Joki.
 

 

You don't think Jost has proven to be worth 2.25? I do. You don't want Z back for another year? I do. It puzzles me how someone like you, who seems knowledgeable and puts out good content, can continue to criminally underrate the value that Z brings. 

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Just now, Hank said:

You don't think Jost has proven to be worth 2.25? I do. You don't want Z back for another year? I do. It puzzles me how someone like you, who seems knowledgeable and puts out good content, can continue to criminally underrate the value that Z brings. 

I didn’t say that at all.  I asked what he thought they were worth.  No question, as I wrote in the IP, that Jost will return.  The question is how much and how long.  Do you qualify him and say next year you have to prove your deserve a long term deal or do you give him 3 year at 2.75 and hope he continues to develop?  

Really the same question for Z other than the developement piece.  Is he worth a 3 year commitment or does management see him being phased out before then.  I have written elsewhere that if we let Z and KO walk, we’d have to replace their skill set.  However at some point, we won’t be able to afford medium $ contracts for 4th line players.
 

 

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1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

So you want Z back.  How much are you investing and for how long?  Same goes for Jost.  His qualifying offer is 2.25.  
 

Keep in mind that 10 guys need new deals the following year including Power, Dahlin, Krebs, Mitts, UPL, and Joki.
 

 

I'd offer Jost a choice: 1 year on his QA, which is more than he's worth, but something we can easily afford, or term (2 or 3 years) for a pay cut.

Girgs, I'd have to do a deeper dive into comparables, but memory tells me he's slightly overpaid. 2 years, $2 million AAV sounds ballpark off the top of my head. Gives him a bit of premium based on his on his status as assistant captain.

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Listening to KA, I suspect he rolls out the same lineup as this year. There will be a few tweaks but I don’t think he makes a big splash in the UFA or the trade market.

I would like to see Bryson moved out and a more defensive/gritty option brought in. Clague could stay as #7.

They won’t be carrying 3G so the 23 man roster will probably have 14F and 7D.

Bishop, Anderson and Hodgson cap hits come off the books.

I suspect Asplund, KO and Girgs get re-signed, KO taking a pay cut.

Jost gets extended, he won’t break the bank, he is a useful bottom 6 player.

I think Savoie gets his 9 game tryout, his performance will determine his status. If he goes back to junior then Rousek, Kulich and Rosen get called up by positional need and according to AHL performance.

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Could someone save me a trip to CapFriendly and post the salaries and contract statuses of players on the team now?  Who needs a new contract next season and the season after?

I would prefer not to bridge Power or Cozens.  When do we need to pay Tuch?  What about Peterka, Quinn, Krebs, and Asplund?

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2 minutes ago, Marvin said:

Could someone save me a trip to CapFriendly and post the salaries and contract statuses of players on the team now?  Who needs a new contract next season and the season after?

I would prefer not to bridge Power or Cozens.  When do we need to pay Tuch?  What about Peterka, Quinn, Krebs, and Asplund?

I posted most of that infor elsewhere on the site yesterday.

Off the top of my head:

Cozens, Asplund, Clague and Jost RFAs this summer, Okposo Girgs Anderson Hinostroza UFAs

Dahlin, Power, Mitts, Joki, Bryson, UPL RFAs the following off-season, Boosh, Olofsson, Comrie UFAs

Tuch is at least 3 years away from needing a new deal.

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5 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I posted most of that infor elsewhere on the site yesterday.

Off the top of my head:

Cozens, Asplund, Clague and Jost RFAs this summer, Okposo Girgs Anderson Hinostroza UFAs

Dahlin, Power, Mitts, Joki, Bryson, UPL RFAs the following off-season, Boosh, Olofsson, Comrie UFAs

Tuch is at least 3 years away from needing a new deal.

Thank you.

First things first: if possible, sign Cozens long-term to a Tage-style contract plus inflation; call it 8 years x $8M.  Yes, I think he's that valuable.

Okposo, Girgensons, Asplund, Jost, and Clague will get a maximum total of $10M between them.

I would hope to add a medium-term top-4 defenceman.  Call that $4M.

I come up with about $46M for Thompson, Skinner, Tuch, Mittlestadt, Olofsson, Quinn, Peterka, Krebs, Lyubushkin, Bryson, Jokiharu, Power, Samuelsson, and Dahlin.  Add about $5M for goalkeepers in Comrie and Pekka-Luukkonen.

So next season will probably still be far below the Cap with a max of $73M.  We will need to give Power a big contract and Dahlin a bigger contract the year after.  My estimate is that, with no changes, the salary for the current team in that season will pass $85M.  Then Quinn, Peterka, Krebs, and the goaltenders get paid.  Thus, we will need turnover at the bottom of the roster if the top 6 forwards and top 4 defencemen stay the same throughout.

So conservative spending next year looks likely.  It looks like 2024-5 is when the Sabres' salary will explode.

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