Sabres Improved Depth will Make for Tough Roster Decision

It wasn’t long ago that the conversation centered on Sabres training camp involved more questions about which players could take an unexpected leap to in order to fill a much-needed spot in the lineup.

Thanks to a flurry of summer trades and a bit of lottery luck, the Sabres roster features more locked positions than gaping holes. The acquisitions of Conor Sheary and Jeff Skinner filled out a thin left side while Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka may not be offensive dynamos, offer much-needed stability deeper down the lineup.

Who Fills Out the Bottom Six

Buffalo top-six is all but settled at this point. Jack Eichel, Casey Mittelstadt Sam Reinhart, Sheary and Skinner are written in pen. Kyle Okposo might as well be too, though I suppose there’s room for him to bump to the third line if Phil Housely feels they can ice a third scoring line. Where the real battles will occur are in the bottom six, where there are probably three spots truly up for grabs.

Berglund is going to be Buffalo’s “third” center. He’ll likely be tasked with handling more difficult matchups, defensive zone draws and some (keyword: some) of the other duties that were previously filled by Ryan O’Reilly. Berglund won’t come close to covering all of those responsibilities, but he’s the one center in Buffalo’s camp best suited to take on a chunk of them. He’s another player whose spot was never going to be in question, though one factor that could be at play is whether or not Housley wants to inject more offense into the lineup.

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The Instigator Podcast 7.2 – Bottom Six Battle will Define Sabres Camp

Sabres training camp officially opens this week – not a day too soon given the Bills performance against the Ravens. We run through some of the more intriguing options the Sabres have in filling out the few open spots in the bottom six. We also discuss how the depth Jason Botterill has managed to add should have a positive trickle down effect on the Amerks. Along the way we touch on the Sabres Prospects Challenge, the trade the Canadiens made to send Max Pacioretty to Vegas, Steve Yzerman stepping down in Tampa and the strange video put up by the Senators and Eugene Melnyk.

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The Instigator Podcast 7.1 – Talking Sabres Prospects with Kris Baker of The Athletic

We’re kicking off season seven of The Instigator Podcast with a very special guest; Kris Baker of The Athletic. Kris joined the show to offer up a preview of this weekend’s Sabres Prospects Challenge and to assess a number of the prospects throughout Buffalo’s pipeline.

Thanks Kris for joining the show. Be sure to read his stuff on The Athletic, you won’t find better coverage anywhere else.

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The Instigator Podcast 6.36 – Looking Ahead to the 18-19 Buffalo Beauts with Jacquie Greco

Jacquie Greco was kind enough to join the show once again to revisit the big moves the Buffalo Beauts have made this offseason and the expectations that accompany the big signings they’ve made. We also discuss the strides the NWHL and women’s hockey have enjoyed in the wake of the Olympic Games and the opportunities ahead for the sport.

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The Instigator Podcast 6.35 – Assessing the Roster and Botterill’s Tenure

On the heels of another impressive deal by Jason Botterill we look at where the roster stands after the acquisition of Jeff Skinner and also reflect on the job Botterill has done as GM of the Sabres.

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The Instigator Podcast Interview Featuring Doug Todd of Warrior Hockey

I’ve been brand loyal to Warrior for quite some time now. Warrior and Vaughn are probably the two brands I’m most loyal to when it comes to both forward and goaltending equipment. Part of this stems from the way Warrior markets themselves compared to most other hockey equipment companies. Their unique approach to marketing is exactly why I wanted to have them join the podcast and I was lucky enough to speak with Doug Todd about a myriad of topics related to Warrior. We spoke about the hurdles they face when introducing new products into categories that have been dominated by traditional powers like CCM or Bauer, we spoke about Warrior’s approach to building a loyal customer base in goal and we also touched on the Warrior VIP program.

That last point, the VIP program, is something I’ve long been interested in as it’s a unique feature to the sport of hockey and I find it to be a clever and fun way to get the word out about new products in an influencer marketing setting. The VIP program was the primary reason I had reached out to Warrior in the past and I hope you find their strategy to be as interesting as I do.

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The Instigator Podcast 6.34 – Reaction to the O’Reilly and Sheary Deals

It’s been a busy week for Jason Botterill as he’s swung two trades that will have a significant effect on his roster. We lead off with a breakdown of Botterill’s biggest trade to date, in which he sent Ryan O’Reilly to St. Louis for a package of picks and players. We briefly hit on the acquisition of Conor Sheary before transitioning into a discussion of what’s next on the docket for Botterill as he still has a few holes left to fill on his roster.

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