Matt Keeler started Just Dishin Hockey in his dorm at St. John Fisher and has grown the company over the last few years into a full hockey lifestyle clothing brand. We talked about how Just Dishin came to be, the way Matt has grown the company and some plans he has for the future. While discussing some of the challenges he’s faced in finding new partnerships we hit on opportunities for growth within the game of hockey as new nations start to produce talent and the women’s game continues to explode. All of that and more in this edition of The Instigator Interview.
Back at it post, post lottery. Let’s get to it.
Adam/@sharpndpensel – You’re Jason Botterill. You decided to reshape the roster, you want to move Ristolainen for a forward and Ryan O’Reilly for a defenseman. Who are your trade partners, and who are you targeting?
This is a topic I’ve been tossing around for a little while now. In this space, on Twitter and in private conversations. Given that this subject was submitted by a few people for this mailbag it seems like a good time to dig in deeper.
The first thing to consider is that trading two talents like O’Reilly and Ristolainen in the same summer would be fairly unlikely. That’s a lot of negotiating to consummate two deals of similar stature. But from a hypothetical standpoint, these two players offer the opportunity for the Sabres to flip their depth and shake up the locker room without becoming exposed at a key position. But the key word here is hypothetical.
The Sabres finally had the lottery balls bounce their way and they’ll be selecting first in the 2018 NHL Draft, meaning they’re in pole position to take Swedish phenom Rasmus Dahlin. We discuss exactly what it means for the Sabres to add Dahlin to the roster and how his talent could free up Jason Botterill to move another defenseman in an attempt to add talent to the forward group.
You’d think the regular season might have taught us something about the Vegas Golden Knights. Thought of as a ragtag bunch of cast-offs which could have been a far more talented team given the players selected in the expansion draft, the Golden Knights promptly defied all odds and even looked like a President’s Trophy candidate for long stretches.
They were driven by a number of career-high performances, including a few staggeringly good shooting percentages, that were still widely believed to peter out at some point. So even with all the head turning performances from the regular season, it was still easy to bet against Vegas as they entered the playoffs.
Questions about their game translating to the postseason, how would they handle a traditionally excellent possession team in their first foray into the playoffs, could the astonishing offensive numbers by their team leaders carry forward? There were a lot of doubters that the Golden Knights could even get out of the first round. All they did was sweep the Kings, shutting them out twice and nearly silencing their offense altogether. Continue reading
Two in the Mailbox, the (sometimes) weekly mailbag on the Sabres, goalie stuff, Buffalo and anything in between, is back. You can submit to the mailbag using #2ITBmailbag on Twitter or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A quick note before we begin this week. Now that the Sabres are completely done and the offseason questions are circling the same topics, the mailbox will probably come out every other week or perhaps even take a brief hiatus as more Sabres-related topics come back into focus once the playoffs wrap up. And now, to the questions. Continue reading
Despite a fairly short period of time with the Sabres organization, Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre was one of my absolute favorites growing up. Which made his guest spot on The Instigator Podcast a real treat for me. Jean-Luc joined the show to discuss what he’s been up to since his retirement from hockey, highlights from his time in Buffalo and offers insight on transitioning from an established NHL club to an expansion franchise. Jean-Luc also works with Belfry Hockey and he offered up some excellent feedback on trends in youth hockey today including key areas of focus for developing players.
One interesting tidbit we learned is that he has long had a deep love for goaltending and he has picked up the position since retiring from the pro game. He makes a very interesting comparison in his game with another former Sabre. Check it out:
Our annual playoff preview is here. Run through the breakdown of the first round matchups, who we see coming out of the East and West and, of course, who will bring home the Cup.