Sabres training camp is right around the corner, with their first preseason game fewer than five days away. The club wrapped up a 3-0 showing at the Prospects Challenge, driven mostly by the play of Matthew Savoie, Isak Rosen, Alexander Kisakov and Tyson Kozak. It was a strong showing for some of Buffalo’s most vital prospects, many of whom will be suiting up for Rochester this coming season.
We also discuss Nathan MacKinnon’s new contract in Colorado and the retirement announcements for Zdeno Chara and PK Subban.
We kick off another season of the podcast with a conversation about the Prospects Challenge. We run through the highlights of the roster expected to play this coming weekend and even dip into the invites who will be helping to round out the roster for the tournament.
Our conversation touches on some of the expected standouts for the tournament, the unknowns in net and closes with our thoughts on some of the players who could be worth watching for when Sabres training camp opens.
Kevin Woodley joins the show this week to share his goaltending expertise and talk about the outlook for the Sabres in net for the coming season. We talk at length about Eric Comrie’s strengths and weaknesses and his ability to take on a larger workload. Kevin also shares his thoughts on Craig Anderson and how both he and Comrie can work in tandem this season.
We touch on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and, of course, Devon Levi as we wrap up the show. Along the way you’ll catch some terrific anecdotes about Ryan Miller and other goaltenders Kevin has covered and spoken with during his time with InGoal and NHL.com.
The Sabres, at long last, have announced they will be bringing back their red and black uniforms as an alternate jersey for the 2022-23 season. The team made the announcement on Wednesday, stating that they will wear the jersey 12 times during the year beginning with a November face-off with the St. Louis Blues. We talk about the excitement surrounding the decision and the nostalgia this brings as we reminisce about some of the great memories made while the Sabres wore the Goathead the first time around.
We kick off the show with a discussion on the two contracts the Sabres signed this week as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Tage Thompson each got a new deal from the club. While the UPL deal wasn’t a huge news item, the Thompson contract is. We break down some key points on the seven-year, $50 million contract for the Sabres center.
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Pete Jensen of NHL.com joins the show to offer up a fantasy hockey outlook for the coming season. Pete lends his expertise to discuss which players are candidates to climb up draft boards, players poised for a breakout year in fantasy and which Sabres will carry the most fantasy value this season.
Noah Ennis, goal mask artist and owner of Shell Shock Paint joins the show for an expansive conversation about goalie mask art and the pro clients Noah works with. New Sabres goalie Eric Comrie is among the roster of pro clients Ennis works with in addition to the Anaheim Ducks’ Lukas Dostal, John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz, Laurent Brossoit of the Vegas Golden Knights and many other NHL and AHL netminders. Our conversation covered some of the finer details of working with NHL goalies on mask designs and the trends and innovations within the wider industry. Noah’s work can be found online at shellshockpaint.com or on Instagram @shellshockco.
As we continue through August, it seemed like a good time to field a few more listener questions. This week’s episode tackles a bunch of different topics including the Sabres Reverse Retro sweaters, shoulder patches, goaltending plans, special teams alignments and trade targets. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions for this week’s Q&A.
Chad and Anthony from Expected Buffalo join the show for another roundtable discussion. This time we talk about when the Sabres will be ready to take the next big step in their rebuild and when the right time for it will be. We talk about how this summer has helped shape the next step in their rebuild and look ahead to whether or not next summer will be the time that Kevyn Adams starts making big splashes. We wrap up by touching on the prospects who could be most impacted by future acquisitions and even toss out a few favorites we’d like to see the Sabres target.
It’s a busy show as we spend a little time talking through Buffalo’s draft class before diving into free agency. We discuss the signings of Eric Comrie and Ilya Lyubushkin and how they address the two biggest needs the Sabres had in free agency. We look into how Buffalo’s roster makes it more difficult to freely add additional bodies despite having an apparent need to get further clear of the salary cap floor. We offer up a few names who could be wise additions for the team before moving on to a brief conversation over the biggest moves from the opening day of NHL Free Agency.
As the wheels got turning on the goalie market at the draft, the Sabres have yet to complete a move to round out their crease for the coming season. It’s a subject that’s caused some consternation throughout the fanbase, though I’m not sure theirs is cause for concern just yet.
There are still a few notable names left on the list I laid out last week. Of those remaining options, a few are truly viable targets for the Sabres to pursue in the coming days. Most notably, Eric Comrie and whoever may be available via trade from the Sharks. In the meantime, I think it’s important to consider that the goalie market isn’t completely shuttered because Alex Georgiev and Vitek Vanacek got traded. Combing through the league, you can quickly find another tier of goalies who could almost certainly be had via trade given their respective team’s outlook in net.