Thomas Vanek Trade Tree – A Strong Start Fizzles for the Sabres

Perhaps the biggest obstacle the Sabres have faced as they slog through their rebuild has been the inability to turn the mountain of assets they originally acquired into tangible NHL talent. Some of that has been inflicted on the trade market – packaging assets for NHL talent – while some has come at the draft table.

The picks and players that can be traced back to the original trade that sent Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders have offered the Sabres very little in the end. This was one of the first trade trees I had ever explored, intrigued by the stacked deck Tim Murray and Darcy Regier had combined to create. At one point the Sabres had turned Vanek and a pair of second round draft picks into Matt Moulson, Torrey Mitchell, Josh Gorges and four draft picks (a second and third in 2014 and a first and second in 2015).

Now that the trade tree has aged (poorly) the Sabres are looking at a fairly lackluster return for what they’ve sent away. Torrey Mitchell was a terrific fourth line asset but not exactly a long-term option for the Sabres. He only yielded a seventh round pick and although Vasily Glotov is an extremely fun prospect to have in the pipeline, the chances that the Sabres see much of anything come of that trade are minimal. The same can be said of nearly every other portion of the tree. Moulson and Gorges hit the wall hard and Robin Lehner’s days in Buffalo seem to be numbered. The only player in this entire trade tree who has the opportunity to offer the Sabres any long-term return is Brendan Guhle.

The Vanek trade tree went south in a hurry, with the prospects attached to the numerous picks failing to develop in a meaningful way while the Sabres opted to flip the premium pick they received for a goaltender whose future in Buffalo appears to be questionable.

*One quick note on the format of the trade tree. I’ve added logos next to the players selected with the respective picks used in the deals displayed. This was meant to add some clarity to the layout as not every pick was used by the team which acquired it. For example, the Canadiens sent the pick they acquired for Gorges to the Chicago Blackhawks, who picked Chad Krys with the selection. This came in handy on some of the larger trees which I’ve worked on as it illustrates the end point for some of the draft picks which, at times, traded hands multiple times.

The Instigator Podcast 6.4 – Breaking Down the Sabres Acquisition of Scandella

Jason Botterill made a big move on the blueline today, acquiring Marco Scandella from the Minnesota Wild in a package that included old friend Jason Pominville. Chris and Tyler offer up our thoughts on only dealing Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis to get the deal done and what we think it means for the Sabres plans in free agency and how it affects the outlook for the 2017-18 season.

The Instigator Podcast 5.12 – Grading the Sabres Trades

Chris and Tyler devote more time to this episode than usual as we got a little off track discussing the Bills injuries of late and the debate around Buffalo’s injury troubles. Our main point of focus is to analyze Tim Murray’s trades and whether or not he’s been successful on the trade market during his time as GM of the Sabres. You can catch the episode here or you can subscribe and listen on iTunes or tune in via Sticher.

The Curious Case of the Third Round Picks Buffalo Shipped Away

The third round of the NHL Draft is hardly an electrifying portion of the event. The picks all hold fair value on the floor and in trade negotiations, but in either case you’re not referring to any blockbuster moves.

However, the Buffalo Sabres’ own involvement in the 2016 third round was actually somewhat interesting. Not so much for the picks they made, but for the ones which found their way to other teams.

At one point or another, the Sabres held five picks in this year’s third round. Buffalo would only wind up making a pair of selections in the round after entering the weekend with a trio of picks. Cliff Pu would be selected 69th (nice) and Casey Fitzgerald 86th while the other three selections previously held by the Sabres found their way to other cities. Continue reading

Grading the Sabres: Murray at the Trade Table

There’s no doubt that Tim Murray has put a definitive stamp on the Buffalo Sabres roster in the year and a half that he’s been on the job. He’s managed to proceed with an aggressive pragmatism that has kept the Sabres active on the trade front while maintaining a strong foundation through the draft.

Murray has made 16 total trades by my count since taking over. They range from tent-pole blockbusters to minor-league transactions. But everything has rolled together to get the Sabres to where they are today; on the cusp of leaving the tank in the dust and returning to the ranks of contenders.

They aren’t there yet, however. If they managed to ascend to 10th this season it would be a minor miracle considering their lowly 2014-15 season. However, the last four months have been filled with exciting acquisitions that will affect Buffalo’s on-ice product both in the short and long term.

I’m expecting at least one more trade from Murray before training camp begins at the end of the summer as he’s still lacking a capable top-four defenseman and it appears as if the shallow UFA market is all but dried up. While we wait to see if Murray adds to his lengthy list of transactions, I’ll take a look back at his deals in an all too early ranking of his trades to date. I will rank the trades numerically and on a scale of zero-to-five scowls – since everyone likes to poke fun at Murray’s serious demeanor. Continue reading

An illustrated history of the Rick Martin and Don Edwards trade trees

Last season I put together a pair of trade trees after Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller were moved. The Vanek tree has already sprung a few branches and could grow larger if Torrey Mitchell is moved this season. Ryan Miller is actually tied into a much larger trade tree which I only thought traced back to Alexander Mogilny. As it turns out, it is part of a trade tree that goes all the way back to Don Edwards. Continue reading

Haul from Vanek trade continues to grow

Tim Murray may have inherited a clunker of a roster from Darcy Regier, but the organization still had good bones despite the kamikaze job Regier did on the roster prior to his departure. Continue reading