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Jiri Kulich through the lens of JJ Peterka


LGR4GM

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One think to keep in mind with Kulich (and this applies to Rosen as well) is development plan the Sabres implemented.

Kulich's first year he was usually deployed like a middle-six offensive player: he got lots of ice time, but it was in friendly situations: lots of o-zone time, against friendly lineups, often on the wing.

Last year he was often used as a first-line centre and asked to play a complete game against the toughest opponents in the hardest situations.

They asked more of him in order to grow his game.

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15 minutes ago, dudacek said:

One think to keep in mind with Kulich (and this applies to Rosen as well) is development plan the Sabres implemented.

Kulich's first year he was usually deployed like a middle-six offensive player: he got lots of ice time, but it was in friendly situations: lots of o-zone time, against friendly lineups, often on the wing.

Last year he was often used as a first-line centre and asked to play a complete game against the toughest opponents in the hardest situations.

They asked more of him in order to grow his game.

Yup, and he improved still. We should be excited for Kulich and it is why I suggest buying Skinner out next year instead of this, you get Kulich another year of development so when you move on from Skinner, Kulich is more able to replace that level of production (not all but between Benson and Kulich, I think you can replace Skinner's goals). 

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Just now, LGR4GM said:

Yup, and he improved still. We should be excited for Kulich and it is why I suggest buying Skinner out next year instead of this, you get Kulich another year of development so when you move on from Skinner, Kulich is more able to replace that level of production (not all but between Benson and Kulich, I think you can replace Skinner's goals). 

Have said it before, am pretty sure next year is when Skinner gets bought out.  Especially if that middle 6W they bring in ends up Kane, between being able to give him an incentive laden contract and the cap finally going up again, they'll have plenty of cap space to bring in the other pieces they might realistically be adding this year.

Next season is when that extra cap space really starts to become truly critical.

Still expect one of (or maybe both) Savoie and Kulich to be injury callups during the season and not convinced that either won't stay in the lineup but don't expect either to make it right out of the gate.  With Rousek the callup when a bottom of the lineup guy breaks.

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Here's the other thing about comparisons to Peterka: JJ at 19 was really, really good.

I did the research a couple years back on here and am not going to repeat it, but at the time Jack Quinn's 21-22 season was off the charts, the most productive by a D2 AHL player in 20 years. JJ's was not far behind, something like 4th or 5th, if memory serves.

That's why JJ became an NHL 2nd liner just 2 years later and I believe has another level.

He was a rare prospect. Kulich is simply a good prospect.

As LGR shows, his numbers stack up well against his cohort and an NHL career is likely.

Edited by dudacek
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I think Kulich was negatively affected by his trip to the world Juniors this year. He was hurt after the return and the coach explained about how much hockey the kid had played in the past year was wearing him down. I think he is a much better player than what he showed at the end of the year. I think he should be with the Sabres next fall. There is an extra spot on the roster with the loss of the third goalie and unless you think Rousek is better to have in that position It could be Juri. He does have over 100 AHL games which is a lot for a guy his age. Lets see how he comes to camp this year.    

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9 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Have said it before, am pretty sure next year is when Skinner gets bought out.  Especially if that middle 6W they bring in ends up Kane, between being able to give him an incentive laden contract and the cap finally going up again, they'll have plenty of cap space to bring in the other pieces they might realistically be adding this year.

Next season is when that extra cap space really starts to become truly critical.

Still expect one of (or maybe both) Savoie and Kulich to be injury callups during the season and not convinced that either won't stay in the lineup but don't expect either to make it right out of the gate.  With Rousek the callup when a bottom of the lineup guy breaks.

It really feels like the Sabres have reached a critical mass on prospects that reflects where an NHL franchise should be: 20-year-olds won't be handed jobs in training camp out of desperation, they will be cooked in the minors until an opportunity opens up top and it will be up to them to take advantage.

(Also saw some talk on line that last night featured a lack of Skinner talk from Adams and Linday that left some reading between the lines.)

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7 minutes ago, dudacek said:

It really feels like the Sabres have reached a critical mass on prospects that reflects where an NHL franchise should be: 20-year-olds won't be handed jobs in training camp out of desperation, they will be cooked in the minors until an opportunity opens up top and it will be up to them to take advantage.

(Also saw some talk on line that last night featured a lack of Skinner talk from Adams and Linday that left some reading between the lines.)

My favorite prospects are the ones both marinated and cooked.  Those guys are delicious.  

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4 minutes ago, dudacek said:

It really feels like the Sabres have reached a critical mass on prospects that reflects where an NHL franchise should be: 20-year-olds won't be handed jobs in training camp out of desperation, they will be cooked in the minors until an opportunity opens up top and it will be up to them to take advantage.

(Also saw some talk on line that last night featured a lack of Skinner talk from Adams and Linday that left some reading between the lines.)

Yes, they do seem to finally have an NHL level player heirarchy and they likely will start getting roughly a year older as a team for the next 3-4 years as they don't have true kids taking up 60 or so % of the lineup as time goes on.

They never mentioned Skinner.  But they also never mentioned anyone in the bottom 6 nor the bottom of the D either last night.  Dahlin was mentioned A LOT (not surprisingly, especially when 1 question was directly - who will Dahlin's partner be), Byram once when discussing the core (1st level (aka original guys brought in) and 2nd level (newer guys filling it out, he was in that grouping)) and Power and Samuelsson discussed as Dahlin's typical partners though it was said he'll also play with the offensive guys when needing a goal (and that very well could be Byram).  Sometime this evening, I'll try to add the rest of my notes to that other thread.  

Not sure if Jokiharju was mentioned, or not, but he definitely wasn't mentioned as a partner for Dahlin; nor was Clifton mentioned as a partner for him.  Like said above, they only mentioned the guys they see at the top of the lineup in last night's talk.  And because of a specific question asked, there was talk about guys getting moved down the lineup and how that gets done.

Personally, didn't hear anything that changes the belief that Skinner is pencilled in on the 3rd line and that he won't be a part of the top PP unit.  That might be confirming notions already held, just like reading from last night that Skinner will be bought out is confirming notions already held.

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As far as the young guys go, I'm at the point, like many others have said, that I want this team to have 1 or 2 of them break into the lineup each year going forward.  A young D-man breaking into the lineup gets 15 minutes per game, a young forward likely gets 12-14 minutes per game.  I WANT that yearly infusion of young talent, but this team has gotten to the point where they can't rely on it.  95% of the heavy lifting (and ice time) needs to be done by guys with NHL experience.

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34 minutes ago, mjd1001 said:

As far as the young guys go, I'm at the point, like many others have said, that I want this team to have 1 or 2 of them break into the lineup each year going forward.  A young D-man breaking into the lineup gets 15 minutes per game, a young forward likely gets 12-14 minutes per game.  I WANT that yearly infusion of young talent, but this team has gotten to the point where they can't rely on it.  95% of the heavy lifting (and ice time) needs to be done by guys with NHL experience.

Absolutely agree.

That's why we need to add 4 forwards over the next month.

Right now, Kulich and Savoie are on the roster by default.

Girgensons, Jost, Robinson Olofsson (and Okposo) need to be replaced (read upgraded) in a way that makes them have to earn a spot.

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1 hour ago, dudacek said:

Absolutely agree.

That's why we need to add 4 forwards over the next month.

Right now, Kulich and Savoie are on the roster by default.

Girgensons, Jost, Robinson Olofsson (and Okposo) need to be replaced (read upgraded) in a way that makes them have to earn a spot.

Yup, we need to make enough upgrades so that Kulich and Savoie are callups this upcoming season. 

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3 hours ago, Jorcus said:

unless you think Rousek is better to have in that position It could be Juri.

It all depends on what "position" you're referring to.  If the open spot is in the middle six, the Kulich.  If it's 4th line, then Rousek.  I think Kulich has the higher ceiling but if the open spot is on the 4th line they'd rather let Kulich work on his game in the A.

And all that depends on what off-season moves Kevyn makes... who goes out, who comes in.

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JJP and Kulich are two of my favorite prospects we drafted in recent years.  They were two guys who stood out at the U18’s relative to their teams and the scouting reports made me very excited when we were able to snag them.

JJP’s progress has been nothing short of miraculous.  The last time the Sabres found a 2nd rd forward who has made a similar impact on the Sabres were Roy and Pominville.  (We traded Compher before he had a chance to make an impact in Buffalo).  

Kulich may not have JJP’s upside, but I think he could be the long-term solution to 2-way 3rd line center.  Unfortunately, he may be the price to get a 3C for next season.  

 

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2 hours ago, dudacek said:

Absolutely agree.

That's why we need to add 4 forwards over the next month.

Right now, Kulich and Savoie are on the roster by default.

Girgensons, Jost, Robinson Olofsson (and Okposo) need to be replaced (read upgraded) in a way that makes them have to earn a spot.

I've been saying 3 but 4 would be even better. Totally agree. Jobs need to be earned. No more developing kids in the NHL and just handing them spots or even reserving spaces. 

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I always maintain that a good team (i.e., playoff veteran team) can handle one rookie at each position at a time. And you can do two in a season if they’re spaced out— one from camp, new add at the trade deadline. 

The Sabres should not consider themselves a good team, but one rookie forward is possible to start the season if the rest are NHL-caliber vets.

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17 hours ago, Doohickie said:

It all depends on what "position" you're referring to.  If the open spot is in the middle six, the Kulich.  If it's 4th line, then Rousek.  I think Kulich has the higher ceiling but if the open spot is on the 4th line they'd rather let Kulich work on his game in the A.

And all that depends on what off-season moves Kevyn makes... who goes out, who comes in.

A lot depends on what they look like when they come to camp but what I would like to see is the open spot be is the end of the bench. My vision for Juri at this point would be to get him up and on the practice ice working on his defense. Then getting him in and out of the line up with limited minutes until he works his way up to a bigger role. Maybe he is not ready for that yet but my hope is that he will be.   

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Dallas is a model for how to integrate youth into a veteran ready to win NHL line-up. In 20-21 they added 20 year old Robertson and 21 year old Oettinger. The next year Thomas Harley. The next Wyatt Johnston and Ty Dellandrea. This past year Stankovan. Next year will probably be Mavrik Bourque, who will be 23 (there should be no rush).  Over the same period we added, often at a younger age: Cozens, Krebs, Samuelsson, Quinn, Power, Peterka, Luukkonen, Benson and, I would say, Levi. We may well add more youngsters this coming season as Kulich, Savoie, Rosen and Johnson are nearing readiness to be NHL players. While the situations are different, the results were predictable. We have added too many young players too quickly to a roster that did not have a base of veterans or a veteran coach (Dallas had Bowness and DeBoer) that could help them thrive. 

I agree that we need to add veterans this off-season who make it near impossible for our forward prospects to make the team out of camp. If one of them knocks the door down, fine. If one or two are having a strong year in Rochester and then get an injury call-up and never look back, great. 

If we are trading assets this off-season, my preference is that we move a prospect or two instead of #11. Move one or two kids who are nearing NHL readiness for a player who helps us over the next 2-4 years, and use our picks to keep the pipeline stocked. 

Edited by Archie Lee
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Kulich will be disappointed in being sent back to Rochester after camp but Seth Appert can have a great heart to heart with him and explain what Lindy wants him to work on. If he follows their direction he could be the first call up and his play will dictate if he should remain on the big club.

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18 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

Yup, we need to make enough upgrades so that Kulich and Savoie are callups this upcoming season. 

What happens if Kulich and/or Savoie shine in camp and demonstratively outperform other players competing for a roster spot? Do you send them down because you are wedded to an approach that is usually the right way to go. Or do you make a judgment on an individual case that goes against the norm. I was surprised when Benson made the roster last year. As it turned out, he was an asset and not a liability. In general, the patient approach you are advocating for is the right approach to take. But sometimes, a player playing beyond expectations should be judged on performance. It's a delicate balance that calls for a lot of judgment.  In general, I so agree with you that when in doubt take the longer development route. But there are exceptions to every rule. 

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15 minutes ago, JohnC said:

What happens if Kulich and/or Savoie shine in camp and demonstratively outperform other players competing for a roster spot? Do you send them down because you are wedded to an approach that is usually the right way to go. Or do you make a judgment on an individual case that goes against the norm. I was surprised when Benson made the roster last year. As it turned out, he was an asset and not a liability. In general, the patient approach you are advocating for is the right approach to take. But sometimes, a player playing beyond expectations should be judged on performance. It's a delicate balance that calls for a lot of judgment.  In general, I so agree with you that when in doubt take the longer development route. But there are exceptions to every rule. 

Then Adams failed. 

There should be no spot in the top 9 for Kulich or Savoie barring injury. 

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8 minutes ago, JohnC said:

What happens if Kulich and/or Savoie shine in camp and demonstratively outperform other players competing for a roster spot? Do you send them down because you are wedded to an approach that is usually the right way to go. Or do you make a judgment on an individual case that goes against the norm. I was surprised when Benson made the roster last year. As it turned out, he was an asset and not a liability. In general, the patient approach you are advocating for is the right approach to take. But sometimes, a player playing beyond expectations should be judged on performance. It's a delicate balance that calls for a lot of judgment.  In general, I so agree with you that when in doubt take the longer development route. But there are exceptions to every rule. 

I don’t think this is how it works in practical terms. In practical terms good teams fill holes with players whose performance is, for the most part, predictable.
 

I disagree with the narrative that Benson busted down the door last year. I think the Sabres left a spot open for the best prospect in camp and then demanded so little from their vets in camp that Benson, a confident, tenacious, talented kid, rose above others. It should never have been an option though. 

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Kulich is not a centre. Move him to the wing and keep him there. Round out his game to match his shot. He likes to score the big goals in the big moments.

If they are moving him in a trade it better be for a long term impact piece.

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