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Have the Sabres' trades made us better?


RangerDave

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In the last couple of years, Sabres management has traded away some of our best players:  Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen (?), Casey Middlestadt, etc..

My questions is, have those trades made us better?  We still haven't made the playoffs, so if the object of trading players is to improve the team, I don't see that that has happened.

There may be other reasons to trade away players, but it all boils down to making your team better.  At least I hope it does.

The question is, are the Sabres a better team now, or would they be a better team today if those trades had not happened?

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20 minutes ago, Scottysabres said:

If you look at the win/loss record pre and post trade time for 3 of those players, slightly better. 

Of course, I don't blame these individual players. After all, they didn't build the team around them, nope. The management did.

But obviously we're built to start winning when our young core continues to mature. It's not about our record to this point with the trades, it's what will happen in the coming years.

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38 minutes ago, RangerDave said:

In the last couple of years, Sabres management has traded away some of our best players:  Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen (?), Casey Middlestadt, etc..

My questions is, have those trades made us better?  We still haven't made the playoffs, so if the object of trading players is to improve the team, I don't see that that has happened.

There may be other reasons to trade away players, but it all boils down to making your team better.  At least I hope it does.

The question is, are the Sabres a better team now, or would they be a better team today if those trades had not happened?

It would be better had they not been in the position they needed to, or rather, felt they needed to, move those players. The returns themselves are ok to reasonable.

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I love hypotheticals like these. For consistency, lets undo ALL GM Sheevyn's trades, instead RFAing folks he had under team control. Draft standing/season outcomes remain the same. Granato is the coach and we're still operating under EEE principles from up top.

Adams never traded MoJo for Staal (MoJo leaves in UFA) = no Josh Bloom, Riley Stillman, or Viljami Marjala. Jonas Johansson never traded for the pick that became Novikov. Brandon Montour re-signed but UFA this summer (no Sardarian). Hall and Lazar leave in UFA (no Kisakov, Bjork, or Gicewicz acquired). Rasmus Ristolainen re-signed (no Hagg, Rosen, Wahlberg, or Gustav Karlsson). Sam Reinhart extended but UFA this season (no Levi, Kulich). No Future Considerations for Will Butcher (leaves in UFA) (no Vsevolod Komarov). Jack Eichel still captain (no Tuch, Krebs, Östlund, or Greenway). Erik Portillo signs 3-year ELC (no McCarthy). Rasmus Asplund extended (no pick that became Eric Robinson). Lyubsushkin is a UFA this summer. Cederqvist is in Rochester. Casey Mittelstadt, Kyle Okposo, and Erik Johnson are UFA* this summer (no Byram).

The Sabres still have the potential for Rastricks if Asplund stays in the NHL. Stronger center spine, but still operating Sheevyn-level goalie batteries.
The Amerks... have... nothing. The trades have completely re-stocked the farm: Novikov, Rosen, Wahlberg, Levi, Kulich, Östlund, Komarov...

The lines going into 2023-24 would have been:

Buffalo

Skinner - Eichel - Reinhart*
Peterka - Thompson - Quinn
Benson - Mittelstadt* - Cozens
Girgensons* - Jost - Okposo*
(Olofsson*)

Dahlin - Montour*
Power - Jokiharju
Samuelsson - Clifton/Ristolainen
(Lyubushkin*, E. Johnson*) Can only sign one of Clifton/E.Johnson last summer

Luukkonen
Comrie*

 

Rochester

Murray - Biro - Rousek
Weissbach - Asplund - Mersch
Neuchev - Jobst - Cederqvist
Warren - Kozak - Giroux
(Nadeau, Richards)

Bryson - R.Johnson
Clague - Prow
Cecconi - Metsa
(Davies, Jandric)

Portillo
Johansson
Tokarski

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Have they made us better? No. If they had, we'd BE better. You could assemble a better team with the people we have traded away I think. Traded or not re-signed that is. Some trades might not have been made if not for others (eg. Mitts for Byram)

Off the top of my head,

Ullmark backed up by UPL.

Montour on D makes Byram unnecessary. McNabb. McCabe

ERod and Foligno on your third line

Carrier and DesLauriers on your fourth line.

Eichel, ROR, as 1 and 2 C.

Reinhart. Kane. 

Right there we look a lot more like Florida don't we?

I don't know where you are drawing the line, but if it's just the big 3 Adams moves only Tuch has impacted the roster so far. He was a good addition, but nothing else has impacted yet. They might, but not yet. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Scottysabres said:

If you look at the win/loss record pre and post trade time for 3 of those players, slightly better

Of course, I don't blame these individual players. After all, they didn't build the team around them, nope. The management did.

Last year’s team had 84 points, the team prior to the Eichel trade-off had a prorated 54.

Hope we’re slightly better next season too.

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Since the teardown of the old core, how many impactful trades has KA even completed? 1, maybe 2?

He acquired Stillman at the deadline - Meh!  He couldn't even make the team the next season.

He acquired Greenway for a 2nd - good and an improvement of the roster

He traded Lyubushkin for a 4th in 2025.  Doesn't really move the needle one way or another except hurting our depth a little.

He acquired Robinson for a conditional pick and that condition didn't kick in.  Was Robinson a improvement during his limited stint in Buffalo.  Not really.

He has dumped Asplund, KO and EJ for picks in various deals - no impact there other than clearing dead wood off the roster.

Other than Greenway, the only significant move was trading Mitts for Byram.  Byram made little impact after his first few games and by trading Mitts, Adams left a gapping hole at center on the roster he now needs to fill.  This deal didn't make the Sabres better last season, but if KA can find a good substitute for Mitts and Byram reaches his "potential,"  then this deal might work out.  Doubtful, but possible.  

Adams is a crap GM so far.  

Edited by GASabresIUFAN
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6 hours ago, dudacek said:

Last year’s team had 84 points, the team prior to the Eichel trade-off had a prorated 54.

Hope we’re slightly better next season too.

Yes, I looked up the seasons W/L records and saw the disparity between the pre and post trade seasons dudacek. I believe it is negligible. The Team has overall has gotten slightly better than the previous era, but the results are the same. Shrugs.

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9 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

I don't know where you are drawing the line, but if it's just the big 3 Adams moves only

It's an open-ended question, so I will let you draw your own line.

For me, I would draw the line at when Adams became the GM.  Seems like a good place to make conclusions from.

In a vacuum, I believe trading Eichel was something that had to happen due to the circumstances of his injury an dthe treatment he was seeking.  I believe should not have traded Reinhart.  I think Risto would have been a good component of a good playoff team, which we have not been.  I don't think he made that Sabres team better.  I didn't like trading Mitts either.

I think each trade was made for a reason, in a vacuum.  The same for not re-signing certain players.  I just wonder what the team woud be now if we had kept the best of them.  Was the team atmosphere so rotten that management felt they had to jettison the influencers?  Could that problem had been solved another way, through coaching or bringing in mentoring players for instance?

Just a thought experiment.  Some will draw conclusions about managament, coaching, ownership, and/or player personalities.  I don't know if there is only one thing to point a finger at.

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The question of are we better with the trades than not in of itself reflects the distorted way in which this franchise has been run. For the most part, we gave up developed players only to bring on developing players. It's like running a race, and then when you get to the halfway point, you go back to the starting line. With the new collection of players, you may or not be better. But the reality is that because you went back to the drawing board, you are closer to the starting line. It's like panning for fools' gold. 

As @Thorny keenly pointed out, instead of focusing on the return, put your efforts into surrounding your own top tier players with the right support players, so that they would in a position to succeed. We lost sight of the goal and got captured by the never-ending process. This franchise has churned through players, coaches and front offices. There has been too much motion and not enough wisdom. Taking two steps forward to then go two steps back doesn't move you forward. Foolishness followed by more foolishness. 

The reality is that players such as Eichel, Reinhart, Montour, Ullmark have had outstanding success with other teams. They are not better players now than when they were with the Sabres. They are simply on better teams. Our front office never understood something that should have been quite obvious.  

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I don't have a major problem with the trades or what they got in return.   The issue isn't 'did it make us better' right now. To me its more 'did it make us better for where we want to go WHEN we want to get there.'

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The traded some very talented players, several of them who have had/are having great success elsewhere (O'Reilly, Kane, Eichel, Reinhart, Montour, etc.)  That said, Buffalo was a mess and these trades needed to be made in order to rebuild.  Time had run out in Buffalo for these players and it was better to start over with a clean slate than to continue on with a group that wasn't working, despite several coaches and GMs.  It's unfortunate, as that's quite a collection of outgoing talent, but it had to be done.  Time will tell whether new core will be successful, but Granato got them to the middle of the pack (which is better than they were back with all of those guys) and Ruff may be able to get them over the hump.  The current group is young and talented and there's a lot of talent in the pipeline.  They now have an experienced NHL coach who has done well with several teams over the years.  All is not lost.  I'm looking forward to next season.

Edited by msw2112
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4 hours ago, JohnC said:

The question of are we better with the trades than not in of itself reflects the distorted way in which this franchise has been run. For the most part, we gave up developed players only to bring on developing players. It's like running a race, and then when you get to the halfway point, you go back to the starting line. With the new collection of players, you may or not be better. But the reality is that because you went back to the drawing board, you are closer to the starting line. It's like panning for fools' gold. 

As @Thorny keenly pointed out, instead of focusing on the return, put your efforts into surrounding your own top tier players with the right support players, so that they would in a position to succeed. We lost sight of the goal and got captured by the never-ending process. This franchise has churned through players, coaches and front offices. There has been too much motion and not enough wisdom. Taking two steps forward to then go two steps back doesn't move you forward. Foolishness followed by more foolishness. 

The reality is that players such as Eichel, Reinhart, Montour, Ullmark have had outstanding success with other teams. They are not better players now than when they were with the Sabres. They are simply on better teams. Our front office never understood something that should have been quite obvious.  

I’ll add that those players might be better elsewhere but that’s a reflection of those players continuing along the growth and development track we could already well identify while they were here 

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15 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Since the teardown of the old core, how many impactful trades has KA even completed? 1, maybe 2?

He acquired Stillman at the deadline - Meh!  He couldn't even make the team the next season.

He acquired Greenway for a 2nd - good and an improvement of the roster

He traded Lyubushkin for a 4th in 2025.  Doesn't really move the needle one way or another except hurting our depth a little.

He acquired Robinson for a conditional pick and that condition didn't kick in.  Was Robinson a improvement during his limited stint in Buffalo.  Not really.

He has dumped Asplund, KO and EJ for picks in various deals - no impact there other than clearing dead wood off the roster.

Other than Greenway, the only significant move was trading Mitts for Byram.  Byram made little impact after his first few games and by trading Mitts, Adams left a gapping hole at center on the roster he now needs to fill.  This deal didn't make the Sabres better last season, but if KA can find a good substitute for Mitts and Byram reaches his "potential,"  then this deal might work out.  Doubtful, but possible.  

Adams is a crap GM so far.  

 

I know this thread is about trades, but as @Thorny does a good job reminding us, it not really about winning trades and making great picks, as much as it's about the roster.

This is what Adams has done in terms of transforming the roster

 

Kept: Thompson, Skinner, Cozens, Dahlin, Jokiharju (Bryson?)

Out: Eichel, Reinhart, Mittelstadt, Hall, Staal, Eakin, Asplund, Lazar, Sheahan, Reider, McCabe, Montour, Ristolainen, Miller, Ullmark, Hutton (Okposo, Girgensons, Olofsson?)

In: Tuch, Quinn, Peterka, Benson, Greenway, Krebs, Power, Byram, Samuelsson, Clifton, Johnson, Luukkonen, Levi (???)

 

I don't think there's any question the five or six best players who left are better right now than the 5 or 6 best players he replaced them with.

 

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15 minutes ago, dudacek said:

 

I know this thread is about trades, but as @Thorny does a good job reminding us, it not really about winning trades and making great picks, as much as it's about the roster.

This is what Adams has done in terms of transforming the roster

 

Kept: Thompson, Skinner, Cozens, Dahlin, Jokiharju (Bryson?)

Out: Eichel, Reinhart, Mittelstadt, Hall, Staal, Eakin, Asplund, Lazar, Sheahan, Reider, McCabe, Montour, Ristolainen, Miller, Ullmark, Hutton (Okposo, Girgensons, Olofsson?)

In: Tuch, Quinn, Peterka, Benson, Greenway, Krebs, Power, Byram, Samuelsson, Clifton, Johnson, Luukkonen, Levi (???)

 

I don't think there's any question the five or six best players who left are better right now than the 5 or 6 best players he replaced them with.

 

I’m certainly no fan of Adams or his management of the Sabres roster and I agree with the notion that the top 5 players sent out (or lost to free agency) (Eichel, Reinhart, Montour, Mitts, and Ullmark) are better than the guys currently playing their positions (Thompson, Cozens, Power/Byram, Krebs & UPL).  However, the team has more depth of talent across the roster, especially at the wings with the addtions of JJP, Benson, Tuch, Quinn and Greenway.
 

 

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19 minutes ago, triumph_communes said:

I still think we won the Reinhart trade but I doubt Florida even remotely regrets any part of it. 

Patience....

So far:
Kulich         1 GP, 0 pts, -1, 1 SOG, 1 hit
Levi            30 GP, 0 pts,  10-8-2, .901 sv%, 3.06 GAA

Reinhart     242GP, 243 pts, +42, 646 shots (18.7 sh%), 185 hits.
+ playoffs   52GP,  32 pts,  -2,  147 shots (13.6 sh%), 102 hits,  & two OT GWG

1 President's Trophy, and win 1 of 3 for the first Stanley Cup in franchise history...  yup, no regrets there.

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24 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I’m certainly no fan of Adams or his management of the Sabres roster and I agree with the notion that the top 5 players sent out (or lost to free agency) (Eichel, Reinhart, Montour, Mitts, and Ullmark) are better than the guys currently playing their positions (Thompson, Cozens, Power/Byram, Krebs & UPL).  However, the team has more depth of talent across the roster, especially at the wings with the addtions of JJP, Benson, Tuch, Quinn and Greenway.
 

 

Agree with this too.

And the other variable of course is the youth of new group. How it matures (or get flipped as assets) matters.

I really need to know how good a lot of the current players actually are.

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1 hour ago, triumph_communes said:

I still think we won the Reinhart trade but I doubt Florida even remotely regrets any part of it. 

“Winning” trades is the province of those who don’t win on the ice - the idea that “winning” a trade even matters relative to other markers where said trade is concerned is a fallacy borne from years of rebuilding 

On the ice you compete against an opponent, zero sum game. In a trade, it’s not about a value competition between a solitary one of your competitors, in a vacuum - that’ll get you nowhere - it’s about improving your team from the trade overall as your competition is with not your trade partner but *the body of league teams as a whole*

As you said, Florida won’t care because they’ve already “won” by any principle they’d actually care to measure by 

Edited by Thorny
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