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Kids In The Line Up This Year vs Next Year


JoeSchmoe
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Considered putting this thought in tonight's GDT but thought it might merit it's own discussion.

While Quinn, Peterka, and Krebs still haven't fully hit their stride, their presence in the lineup still has been a MAJOR boost over last year. That's because they're effectively replacing the minutes Eakin, Bjork, and Hayden were playing (albeit on different lines). Bjeaken were three of the absolute worst players in the league, yet they played a regular shift all season long.

By next year, as the kids' man-strength develops and they have a full season of playing NHL hockey under their belts, we could be well on our way to having the runaway best offense in the league.

Edited by JoeSchmoe
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Krebs has been playing very well I think since he has been getting paired with KO and Zemgus. Really picking it up on offense the past 5-6 games as well.

Agree...our offensive skill up and down the lineup is second to nobody in totality.

31 minutes ago, JoeSchmoe said:

Thought about putting this thought in tonight's GDT but thought it might merit it's own discussion.

While Quinn, Peterka, and Krebs still haven't fully hit their stride. Their presence in the lineup still has been a MAJOR boost over last year. That's because they're effectively replacing the minutes Eakin, Bjork, and Hayden were playing (albeit on different lines). Bjeaken were three of the absolute worst players in the league, yet they played a regular shift all season long.

By next year, as the kids' man-strength develops and they have a full season of playing NHL hockey under their belts, we could be well on our way to having the runaway best offense in the league.

 

Edited by matter2003
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During the off-season we talked about how few goals the dreadful forwards you mentioned scored for the Sabres and that the kids plus full seasons of Tuch and Krebs would elevate the offense giving DG 4 lines that can score.  While many expected Cozens to build on last year, the heights being reached by the top line have been both unexpected but a pleasure to watch.

Before the season I thought the team would score 260+ and I hoped for 270+, but they are blowing my predictions out of the water.  

Like you I fully expect JJP and Quinn to progress even further.  I also think Jost under DG’s watchful eye could be a breakout player.  If you go read his pre-draft scouting reports, the scoring potential is there.  So far DG seems to be the only coach he’s had as a pro that is beginning to unlock it.

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31 minutes ago, JoeSchmoe said:

Thought about putting this thought in tonight's GDT but thought it might merit it's own discussion.

While Quinn, Peterka, and Krebs still haven't fully hit their stride. Their presence in the lineup still has been a MAJOR boost over last year. That's because they're effectively replacing the minutes Eakin, Bjork, and Hayden were playing (albeit on different lines). Bjeaken were three of the absolute worst players in the league, yet they played a regular shift all season long.

By next year, as the kids' man-strength develops and they have a full season of playing NHL hockey under their belts, we could be well on our way to having the runaway best offense in the league.

They'll definitely be stronger & acclimatized to the NHL.

The question becomes will that overcome their ikely being 2nd line all season (in Quinn & Peterka's case) and the checking line C or possibly bumping up & supplanting Jost on the 3rd line in Krebs case.  

Normally kids slump in their 2nd season getting tougher usage and having the expectation they won't just get to play simple games anymore.  But those 3, Power, & UPL have already been given the "tough" usage that they normally wouldn't see until their 2nd year so there is a very real possibility they won't have a sophomore slump.  Though they all could run out of some gas at the end of this year & next as playing a full 82 plus playoffs (expected next year & possible this year) is even tougher than the full AHL year.

Don't know that the team will have a runaway best O.  But would be disappointed if they aren't top 5.

Next year will be fun.

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1 minute ago, Taro T said:

They'll definitely be stronger & acclimatized to the NHL.

The question becomes will that overcome their ikely being 2nd line all season (in Quinn & Peterka's case) and the checking line C or possibly bumping up & supplanting Jost on the 3rd line in Krebs case.  

Normally kids slump in their 2nd season getting tougher usage and having the expectation they won't just get to play simple games anymore.  But those 3, Power, & UPL have already been given the "tough" usage that they normally wouldn't see until their 2nd year so there is a very real possibility they won't have a sophomore slump.  Though they all could run out of some gas at the end of this year & next as playing a full 82 plus playoffs (expected next year & possible this year) is even tougher than the full AHL year.

Don't know that the team will have a runaway best O.  But would be disappointed if they aren't top 5.

Next year will be fun.

Any of last year's draft pics make the team?  Maybe Kulich... Savoie?

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4 minutes ago, North Buffalo said:

Any of last year's draft pics make the team?  Maybe Kulich... Savoie?

Depends on if both Okposo & Girgensons are both back next year.

Really expect as @tom webster says often that there's a very real possibility that Kyle retires or goes back to Minnesota next season.  If that happens, Savoie likely gets his 9 games & either he or Kulich take that spot after the 9 game look.  If he doesn't leave, there aren't any obvious holes where kids will be penciled in.  They'll have to beat out actual NHLers to move up.

Kulich, Rousek, & Rosen will all be available as injury callups but don't know if any stick this coming season.  The next offseason is when we'll likely see another influx of young talent as the team gets close to the cap.

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10 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

No real need to rush either to the NHL. 

Sabres are about to have a really great problem...stocked with talent that will have a hard time breaking into the lineup...

Possibly flip one for a 3/4 Dman and a depth piece?

Edited by matter2003
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4 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Depends on if both Okposo & Girgensons are both back next year.

On the ice, either one is readily replaceable with our cap space.

Off the ice, KO would be key to have for  one more year for his mentorship. After his first contract here, he kind of owes us a discount too. 😉

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50 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Depends on if both Okposo & Girgensons are both back next year.

Really expect as @tom webster says often that there's a very real possibility that Kyle retires or goes back to Minnesota next season.  If that happens, Savoie likely gets his 9 games & either he or Kulich take that spot after the 9 game look.  If he doesn't leave, there aren't any obvious holes where kids will be penciled in.  They'll have to beat out actual NHLers to move up.

Kulich, Rousek, & Rosen will all be available as injury callups but don't know if any stick this coming season.  The next offseason is when we'll likely see another influx of young talent as the team gets close to the cap.

I generally agree with this, except I think that if Kyle isn’t back his spot will be taken by a veteran acquisition. Salary cap almost demands it.

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On 1/24/2023 at 11:05 PM, Taro T said:

there aren't any obvious holes where kids will be penciled in.  They'll have to beat out actual NHLers to move up.

We've already seen that with Hinestroza being waived rather than sending down JJ or Quinn.

Also bear in mind that the forward corps has been remarkably healthy most of the season.  I'm certainly not hoping for it, but an empty roster spot due to injury could also result in a promotion.

Edited by Doohickie
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With none of the youngest kids quite ready I can see both KO and Girgs signing for another year.  After that I think KO will retire as a player and likely have his home base in Minnesota.  I think he and Anderson will likely be some sort of forward and goalie *whisperers* for the Sabres after retirement.  I think Anderson becomes that next season.

I also agree with @tom webster that for as long as Girgs wants to play here he will.  He has been a very good soldier for 10 seasons.  Just about all of them terrible.

Edited by Sabres Fan in NS
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18 minutes ago, Sabres Fan in NS said:

With none of the youngest kids quite ready I can see both KO and Girgs signing for another year.  After that I think KO will retire as a player and likely have his home base in Minnesota.  I think he and Anderson will likely be some sort of forward and goalie *whisperers* for the Sabres after retirement.  I think Anderson becomes that next season.

I also agree with @tom webster that for as long as Girgs wants to play here he will.  He has been a very good soldier for 10 seasons.  Just about all of them terrible.

All I know is it's really great to have young players who want to be here, who love being here and with each other and who take a lot of pride in wearing this jersey and connecting with this community and who wants to earn everything they get from fans and getting people back in the building versus the ones who felt entitled to everything without earning it with their play.

That started once the young players who didn't have any of that got shipped out. 

Edited by matter2003
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  • nfreeman changed the title to Kids In The Line Up This Year vs Next Year
11 hours ago, matter2003 said:

Krebs has been playing very well I think since he has been getting paired with KO and Zemgus. Really picking it up on offense the past 5-6 games as well.

Agree...our offensive skill up and down the lineup is second to nobody in totality.

 

He seems to have gotten over his allergy to shooting.  If there is nothing open, don't force a pass - just shoot.  Sometimes it goes in.  

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It just seems like Kulich, Savoie or Rosen would really have to play in training camp like he's been shot out of a cannon in order to make the NHL squad next fall.  I think it's more likely that Savoie returns to juniors and that Kulich and Rosen are back in Rochester fighting it out, perhaps with Rousek, for the top callup slot.

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13 hours ago, dudacek said:

I generally agree with this, except I think that if Kyle isn’t back his spot will be taken by a veteran acquisition. Salary cap almost demands it.

While I think it’s certainly possible KO won’t return, I can’t see the salary cap demanding a veteran playing in his place.  Once you add Jost and Cozens back to the 16 players under contract the team’s cap hit will be about 61.5 for 18 players.  Bettman expects the cap to only rise to 83.5 which would put the floor at around 61.8.  Even if the Sabres re-sign Z and 4 minimum vets, the cap hit will come in at least 67.2 mill.

Next year the can easily afford a vet his a big contract, but it’s not a necessity.

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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On 1/25/2023 at 12:55 AM, dudacek said:

I generally agree with this, except I think that if Kyle isn’t back his spot will be taken by a veteran acquisition. Salary cap almost demands it.

Well Cozens is getting nice raise, so that could be KO’s money right there (7 X 7.5ish). 
 

With Jost onboard and with Bishop’s salary included, the Sabres are at 64M (floor is 61M). 

Assuming they don’t take on another Bishop-type contract, the Sabres would need to spend Girg’s 2M and (estimated) 3M-ish of Bishop’s 5M somehow. This assumes the cap floor rises 1M. 
 

That’s plenty of money to rebuild your fourth line.  
 

 

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I think Rousek and Kulich will be next to arrive. Savoie, Rosen, Östlund etc are a couple years away but those two seem the closest to making a push. 

Rousek will be 24 in April, older then a lot of the Sabres. He is a late round pick who had a devastating knee injury which slowed his development. He has tons of speed and skill. Could be a great energy player with hands.

Kulich is only 18 but seems to be pushing. Two great WJCs and adjusting well to the AHL at 18, younger then when JJ and Quinn played there. He has a howitzer of a shot and seems to step up in big moments.

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On 1/24/2023 at 10:52 PM, North Buffalo said:

Any of last year's draft pics make the team?  Maybe Kulich... Savoie?

There are two pieces to this. First, who is not currently on the team that could make it? Just looking at everyone:

The options: Biro, Kulich, Savoie, Rousek, Weissbach, Murray, Cederqvist, Rosen, Kozak, Kisakov, Bloom, Nadeau, and Östlund. I'm intentionally leaving out unsigned prospects.

Off the bat:

I think Kozak and Kisakov are pretty unlikely. Both are getting pushed around in the AHL due to their size/strength. They need more seasoning. Bloom and Nadeau will play in Rochester next year and will be fun to follow, but I don't see either making the NHL roster. Cederqvist needs more time in the AHL as he isn't playing consistently but he is built and plays like a classic NHL 4th line player. I wouldn't write him off yet. He's like a younger Girgs honestly.

I expect Savoie to play another season in juniors, but potentially getting a 9 game look to start this season depending on his camp and the roster. Similarly, I expect the same with Östlund who will likely stay in Sweden for another season. I suspect part of the Sabres' cap management plan is to slide both these ELCs.

That leaves Rousek, Kulich, Rosen, Biro, Weissbach and Murray.

Rousek has done everything asked of him and battled injury. He's a good player, strong on the boards, has speed and plays a two-way game. He doesn't have the skill to play in the top 6 in the NHL, but I think he could slide in on 3rd/4th as a role player. I expect he'll get the look over the less-skilled/slower Weissbach. Weissbach plays a similar game--he's just small.

Rosen and Biro play like Top 6 players. Kulich is an enigma. He can play like a top 6 player, but he can also shut down opponents. He's good on carrying the puck into the zone and retrieval from corners. He plays like a bigger player than he is. I don't know if he's there yet, but he could eventually play almost any kind of roster role with the Sabres--especially under DG's system--if his game transitions well to the NHL. Finally, Murray should be more than capable of playing a 4th line role and adding "grit" and "size" and whatever other 80s/90s coaching clichés you can think of--except he at least has skill to go with it. I just don't think he's fast enough to play up the lineup though.

So now to the second part: who do the players replace? How do you see the lines next season?

Based on the current roster, I don't see Weissbach, Rosen or Biro making a Top 6 role and, while I recognize DG doesn't run a "traditional" frame for his lines, I'm not sure any of those three slide in on a third line either. Who do they replace?

Right now, the only players without contracts next season are Okposo, Girgensons, Jost (RFA), Cozens (RFA), and Asplund (RFA). Asplund isn't in the lineup. No one in the farm system is going to replace Cozens. That leaves Jost, Girgs and Okposo as the current :"open" positions.

I can see Rousek, Kulich and Murray playing 3rd/4th line spots. If one of Girgs/Okposos leaves, that opens up a fourth line spot. Any of those three players could slide in, but Murray is the best fit for replacing Girgensons. Kulich could replace Krebs if Krebs moves up in the roster. But Rousek, Kulich and Murray are all lefties. No one fits the role filled by Okposo right now--and I firmly believe Okposo is coming back next season anyway.

Kulich could slide in for Jost on the third line, but I'm honestly not sure he's better right now considering Jost, VO, and Mitts are (finally) playing well together. This one might come down to camp.

So, to go a very roundabout way of getting there, the only pick from 2022 I see potentially making the roster at the start of next year is Kulich and I don't think it's all that likely. This is from a combination of lack of available roster spots opening up, a lack of "vulnerable" players because we actually have talent (WHAT A CONCEPT!), and cap management. There's also other players in Rochester who are going to compete for the same spot(s) and some are arguably a better fit.

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On 1/25/2023 at 10:56 AM, nfreeman said:

It just seems like Kulich, Savoie or Rosen would really have to play in training camp like he's been shot out of a cannon in order to make the NHL squad next fall.  I think it's more likely that Savoie returns to juniors and that Kulich and Rosen are back in Rochester fighting it out, perhaps with Rousek, for the top callup slot.

I could be wrong, but isn't this the last year for Savoie in junior? 

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I’m excited to see Power next year. I bet he forgoes a slump like Dahlin had. DG seems to be a confidence builder and with a full NHL season under his belt, Power and Dahlin will be a one-two offensive push on the backend.

More importantly I believe Power’s defensive awareness will be improved. He still loses coverage sometimes but I think it’s inexperience causing uncertainty on when to cover a passing lane or provide puck support down low. I think that will be a noticeable improvement next year.

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