The Instigator Podcast 5.10 – Re-signing Risto and Examining the Remaining UFAs

Chris and Tyler come together to discuss the lack of a contract for Rasmus Ristolainen while looking at some of the recent deals inked by RFAs around the league. Meanwhile we discuss the remaining options (or lack thereof) on the free agent market in the event that Tim Murray needs to find a final body or two for his club. You can subscribe to The Instigator on iTunes or tune in via Stitcher by hitting the links.

The Instigator Podcast 5.9 – Exploring New NHL Rules

Chris and Tyler tackle some of the most talked about potential rule changes proposed in NHL circles in the spirit of finding more goals and creating more excitement around the league. On the agenda are bigger nets, angling the posts, re-instituting the red line and moving to a three-point standing system.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast here or by subscribing on iTunes and Stitcher.

Updated: The Rick Martin/Don Edwards Trade Tree

Rick Martin’s trade to Los Angeles gave the Sabres organization roots that are still planted today. The deal can be traced all the way to the acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly and now Dmitri Kulikov. The tree is so in-depth that it actually overlaps with the deal that sent Don Edwards to Calgary.

As you’ll notice, a few branches are closing in on dying off as Dan Bylsma won’t produce any further assets in terms of trade chips and if Jimmy Vesey doesn’t sign in Buffalo he too will close out that end of the tree. However, the trade that sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis continues to bear fruit. That trade helped spur deals for Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Kulikov and the pick that became Rasmus Asplund. Add in the 2017 second round pick obtained from Minnesota and this tree still has plenty of life down the road.

This is the most up-to-date version of the trade tree, updated to include Buffalo’s offseason moves in 2016. Another update will be coming soon to clean up some areas in terms of formatting and clarity.

MartinTree

The Bills and Sabres Futbol Series Concepts

The Bills and Sabres each offer countless retail options for fans to deck themselves out in on gameday. Between jerseys, workout gear, hoodies, shorts and hats, both teams have everything you could ever want.

But I was brainstorming the other day about how cool various concept jerseys often look and how it would be cool if a team acted on some of the concepts you see floating around the internet. Not just sport specific either, but the crossovers you see like basketball to hockey, football to baseball, etc. ThrowbackName

So as I started doodling I realized the Bills and Sabres could develop a line of apparel – jerseys in this case – which capitalizes on the love design-oriented people have for creating concept jerseys. I dubbed this “line” of apparel the Futbol Series and applied it specifically to the Bills and Sabres. Continue reading

Exploring Buffalo’s Options for Expansion

The last two weeks of action hasn’t just put the Sabres in a better position to contend in the Eastern Conference this season, Tim Murray’s moves have also made his potential expansion moves more obvious.

Entering the offseason the likelihood of Murray adding at least one significant body at forward and perhaps another on the blueline made handicapping Buffalo’s expansion options difficult. There were too many holes and too many question marks to nail down throughout the summer. Now that Kyle Okposo and Dmitri Kulikov are officially Sabres, pinning down exactly who Tim Murray will protect is a little bit easier.

Vegas’ selections will become official on June 21 of next summer although with their choices being made on the 20th you can probably count on hearing a few leaks ahead of time. The rules have found their way into the public’s hands as the process progressed and if you aren’t already familiar with the NHL Expansion Draft rules, you can find them here.

For the most part, the Sabres are in a very advantageous position heading into next summer’s expansion draft. The exemption of first and second year pros means the likes of Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart won’t need to be exposed. This concession actually rules out over a half-dozen forwards who are under contract with the Sabres moving forward, a significant number which provides flexibility when it comes to the players who will be eligible to be selected. Continue reading

Inside the Numbers: Mike Hoffman, Offer Sheet Target

The NHL Draft has come and gone and free agency is on the horizon. The Buffalo Sabres and Tim Murray made a move with the Florida Panthers to kick off day two of the draft that evened out their defense ranks, bringing in Dmitry Kulikov and shipping out Mark Pysyk.

Shifting our focus from the defense, the Sabres need to add a top six winger to provide a desperately needed shot in the arm offensively. Last season, despite the 27 point improvement  from 2014-2015, Buffalo still ranked in the bottom five in even strength GF%, GF, and GF in all situations. That kind of offensive production won’t let you sniff a playoff spot, let alone contend once you make it.  Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.6 – Talking Kulikov, Pysyk and Sabres Free Agency with Matthew Coller

This week we are joined by Matthew Coller of WGR 550 to discuss the aftermath of the Dmitri Kulikov/Mark Pysyk trade from both an on-ice and analytical perspective. We also jump into options for the Sabres on the free agent market as the opportunity to acquire Steven Stamkos, Kyle Okposo or others looms for Friday.

Thanks again to Matthew for joining us for this episode. As always, you can catch the podcast below or tune in via Sticher or on iTunes as well.