Concepts for the Sabres “Reverse Retro” Jersey

In a move akin to the NBA’s recent jersey expansion, the NHL appears set to introduce a new jersey for all 31 teams beginning in the 2020-21 season.

Early reports describe the new jersey set as a “reverse retro” alternate, with some early leaks indicating the direction the league and teams appear to be going with the program. With indications that all 31 teams will be getting their own reverse retro jersey, the league is taking a new tack with regard to the alternate uniform program. The current process allows for teams to utilize a third jersey with rules providing somewhere between 10-15 games that teams may wear their third jersey. Teams also have latitude to utilize a vintage uniform with stricter stipulations on the number of games they can be worn. Continue reading

Sabres Have Options for Upgrades in Rich Goalie Market

Of the may hiccups which have delayed and stalled Buffalo’s rebuild, uncertainty in the goal crease has been almost a near constant. It hasn’t necessarily been at the forefront of the struggles which have beset the Sabres as they try to climb back into playoff contention, but it has been an almost ever-present specter.

It would appear that Kevyn Adams has a goaltender on his offseason shopping list, though the path to improving Buffalo’s prospects in net isn’t linear.

Linus Ullmark has transitioned from a prospect to an NHL caliber goaltender since being drafted in 2012. He has been fairly steady for the Sabres over the last two seasons but it would be a stretch to say he truly fits the mold of a starting goaltender in the NHL. He isn’t likely Buffalo’s long term answer in goal but he’s still poised to take the lion’s share of Buffalo’s starts after playing 50% of the team’s games this past year.

Who he shares the crease with is up for debate as Carter Hutton is positioned to remain in Buffalo for the final year of his contract, but his results have been shaky enough to raise questions about how the Sabres can improve the position. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 9.38 – Draft Round Table Featuring Expected Buffalo

We teamed up with the boys from Expected Buffalo to run through a host of draft-related topics. We discuss our favorite targets, including the likes of Anton Lundell and Marco Rossi and the likelihood that either of those players will be available when the Sabres pick at eight. Additional topics of discussion include our view on how the top of the draft will shake out and which x-factor picks may come up. We close with some bold predictions on both the draft and the rest of Buffalo’s offseason.

Two in the Mailbox – Trade Targets, Goalie Wishlist and More

It’s been a while since the last mailbag ran, so I’ve taken a few extra questions for this edition to make up for lost time. This edition of the mailbag will hit on draft questions, goalie gear, movie recommendations and trade targets.

Hopefully I won’t be as lazy moving forward and there will be more mailbags to come in the weeks to follow. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 9.37 – Staal Trade and What’s Next for the Sabres

The Eric Staal deal came down about 24 hours after we finished recording our previous episode. So we play a little catchup this week in breaking down the first trade of Kevyn Adams’ tenure. We also touch on the moves being made by the Pittsburgh Penguins, the difficult situation in Arizona and even the hiring of Mike Weber and Adam Mair in Rochester.

Staal Acquisition a Good One Despite Old Wounds

The 20 minutes between Jochen Hecht’s go-ahead goal and puck drop for the third period were sublime. The 20 minutes that followed were a nightmare of delay of game penalties and Rory Fitzpatrick’s skates.

The heartbreaking end to an exhilarating Conference Final run hasn’t been forgotten by Sabres fans in the 14 years that have followed. It’s still a fresh wound despite the time that has passed and, for fans of a certain age, salt was poured back in on Wednesday evening when the Sabres traded Marcus Johansson to the Minnesota Wild for Eric Staal. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 8.36 – Balancing the Sabres Internal Budget

TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Sabres are expecting to operate with an internal budget which could drop as low as $70 million. We spend time talking about whether or not the Sabres could effectively operate at that figure (they can’t) and what steps they can take to come close to achieving a tighter budget when it comes to spending on the team. We also touch on the hiring of Peter Laviolette and Bill Zito, the new contract for Jonas Brodin and the Nick Bjugstad trade.

The Instigator Podcast 8.35 – Featuring John Vogl of The Athletic

John Vogl of The Athletic joined the show this week to discuss his recent article on the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame. As a topic that’s held my attention in recent years, it was a surprise to learn about the unusual circumstances surrounding the management of the entity. We discuss how the organization which managed the Hall of Fame fell into disarray and how the Sabres have been left in the lurch as a result. Along the way we toss out a few candidates for future induction and hit on some roster-related topics as well.

Sabres History: The Seven Best Deadline Deals in Franchise History

The current state of the NHL has evolved to a state in which there are really only two days when teams make deals to shape their rosters; the draft and the trade deadline. Sure, there are still deals made between those two dates, but they’ve become few and far between in recent seasons.

Both dates are tantamount to holidays for hockey fans with deadline day being particularly significant for fans, pundits and teams. For a club that has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, the Buffalo Sabres have had their fair share of interesting deadlines.

Between another year without the playoffs and the COVID-induced delay, there hasn’t been too much to talk about from a Sabres perspective. A few minor signings and, of course, the hiring of Kevyn Adams, but it’s been a quiet few months on the hockey side. It’s a different story where the Pegulas’ lifestyle is concerned, but from a strictly hockey perspective, it’s been a low key summer.

As a result, I thought I’d spend a little time combing over the club’s history at the trade deadline. Whether or not the 20-21 deadline plays a major role in the shaping of the roster or long-term success of the club can’t be known, but there are 49 deadlines that have played such a role in one way or another.

I’ve compiled what I feel are the seven most notable deadline trades in club history. I worked to rate each deal based on the clout of each player involved and both the short- and long-term effects the pieces had on the organization. I allowed for a few day’s worth of wiggle room from the deadline, but no more than four or five days. The trades are listed in chronological order as opposed to a proper ranking. Continue reading