Another Extension for the Rick Martin Trade Tree

Over 30 years have passed since Rick Martin was traded to Los Angeles on March 10, 1981 and there are trades being made today which can be traced directly back to that move and the trade of Don Edwards and Richie Dunn a little over a year later.

There’s little sign of this massive trade tree petering out any time soon as acquisitions of picks and prospects over the last couple of years will extend it’s life for at least five more seasons. If not more. The most recent, was the acquisition of Brandon Montour from the Anaheim Ducks. Acquired for Brendan Guhle and a conditional first round pick, the Sabres will part ways with one of the first round picks they acquired from either the San Jose Sharks or St. Louis Blues. Regardless of which pick the Ducks end up with, Montour will slot in as part of long list of players who can be traced back to Martin’s trade.

For those of you who are new to this image, a few quick notes:

  • All logos are era adjusted so stuff your whining about the Slug.
  • The logos next to each draft pick indicate which team ultimately selected that player. Many of the picks were dealt again so the logos are there to indicate the final destination of each pick.
  • This combines the Martin trade tree and Edwards trade tree due to where they overlap (Ryan Miller and Steve Ott going to St. Louis). That deal created a significant branch of the two trees so it made sense to combine the two. No other trade trees are included for the sake of clarity (whatever is left given how deep this goes). There are many other trade trees which intersect with this but including them all would make an already confusing document that much worse. To give some of examples, Craig Muni was acquired in a separate trade prior to being included in the Grosek/Shannon deal. Guhle was selected with a pick acquired in exchange for Thomas Vanek. Nikita Zadorov comes from the Jason Pominville trade tree. You can find other significant trade trees from throughout Sabres history with this link.
  • Feel free to air any other questions or areas of confusion in the comments or via Twitter.

Thomas Vanek Trade Tree Extended by Montour Trade

There’s not a whole lot to love about what came from the original trade of Thomas Vanek but Brandon Montour might finally change that. Brendan Guhle was pretty much the last remaining vestige of the original trade and there’s more life given to this trade tree’s longevity thanks to the acquisition of Montour.

 

 

Botterill Takes a Swing, Acquires Brandon Montour

It was a busy Sunday if you’re a Sabres fan. Andy Strickland kicked things off with speculation that connected Rasmus Ristolainen with the Tampa Bay Lightning but that was quickly squashed by Darren Dreger.

But Strickland’s Tweet got the Sabres fanbase frothing and it was only a few hours later that Jason Botterill pulled the trigger on his biggest trade since acquiring Jeff Skinner, sending a first-round pick and Brendan Guhle to the Anaheim Ducks for Brandon Montour.

As someone whose been a fan of Montour’s for some time, I’m over the moon that he’s going to be wearing blue and gold for the foreseeable future. Botterill paid a fair price for the honor of acquiring Montour, but he also pulled from two areas he has additional assets so he isn’t stripping his cupboards bare with the package. Continue reading

Sabres Blueline Turnaround is Coming into Focus

It was no secret that Jason Botterill was facing a tough road in putting together a well-rounded blueline when he took over the Sabres. Turns out that the unit needed more of an overhaul than reshaping that stretched into this past summer.

Winning the Ramsus Dahlin lottery would make any rebuild a much easier task and a lucky bounce of the lottery balls has helped the Sabres take a major step forward.

Dahlin was really the only true addition the Sabres made to their backs blueline but he’s already meeting expectations, if not exceeding them. His confidence is growing by the day and combined with his vision and skating ability has led to a number of plays along these lines:

GIF via Ben Mathewson @ thescreen.co

There’s a noticeable difference in Buffalo’s breakout and flow when Dahlin is on the ice, something that was lacking at almost every point of the 2017-18 season. Some of his underlying numbers took a hit recently after a few lopsided showings, which tipped him below 50% Corsi, though Dahlin remains a positive influence relative to his teammates. Zach Bogosian’s Corsi jumps ten percentage points when paired with Dahlin as opposed to without him. So he’s not just passing the eye-test, though his current trend is creating at least one eye-popping play per game. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

“Vets” Steal the Show at Development Camp

It’s easy to get overly excited about development camp. Any group of highly skilled, largely NHL-caliber hockey players will typically look pretty good working through drills. Especially small-area skill drills with minimal defensive challenge. There’s plenty to glean from the week as fans, media and coaches have the opportunity to see players perform in a variety of settings but crowning greatness from the endeavor can be tricky.

I’ve been guilty of taking too much away from the camp myself. Back in 2012 I was convinced that Judd Peterson was sure to be a late-round gem due to his development camp performance. Since then I’ve tried to avoid falling into the same trap. I’ve found it helpful to focus on individual growth and skills rather than trying to project any sort of impact onto the Buffalo Sabres roster. In other words, I’m not trying to name an MVP based on the stickhandling drills they did on Friday.

There are some obvious caveats to this. Casey Mittlestadt’s coming out party last year helped to erase some of the doubts people had about him heading into the draft. Even just a few weeks removed from his draft Mittelstadt was among the most skilled players at the camp and his play certainly inspired confidence in the fanbase, and perhaps the organization as well. But there are just as many cases where an impressive camp performance won’t accurately reflect where a player stands organizationally. So I try to keep that in mind when attending camp.

With that in mind, I’m going to try something a little different with my round up. This will be more of a notebook, touching on players who showed either growth or intriguing upside based on their play. Continue reading

Guhle, Ullmark Recalls Indicate Botterill is Sticking to His Plan

For all intents and purposes, the Sabres season has been rendered irrelevant for weeks. Their slow start has pretty much stretched the entire course of the year and they’re looking at another year in the league’s basement, hoping for some lottery luck.

Preseason chatter had the Sabres as a dark horse playoff contender, a team that may have had the pieces necessary to snag one of the wild card spots in the East. You may have even found a sports betting site like Betulator.com to place a wager or two on the Sabres outlook. Unfortunately that wouldn’t be money well spent.

The Sabres rebuild has stalled and stalled in a bad way. Unfortunately we’re left looking to the pipeline once again, wondering where the help will come from after seeing the organization’s lack of depth serve as a major speed bump to the post-2014 building process. A deeper dive on exactly where things went wrong will be coming in this space soon, so stay tuned for that.

Jason Botterill’s decision to recall Brendan Guhle and Linus Ullmark may strike some fans as a sign that things are finally changing, that the Sabres are committing to their youth and finally attempting to inject the lineup with young talent. I’m not quite so optimistic, but not because I think either of these two prospects are lacking in skill or potential, but because Botterill told us how he wants to play his hand and pulling two of Rochester’s top performers is counter to his strategy.

Getting a look at Guhle and Ullmark prior to Buffalo’s bye and at a time the Amerks have a light schedule does follow that process, however. Continue reading