Sabres Get First Pick in 2021 NHL Draft

The Buffalo Sabres haven’t made the postseason since the 2010-2011 season. They hit rock bottom this past season with the worst record in the league at 15-34-7. With the best chance at the first overall pick at nearly 17 percent, the Sabres hit the jackpot, when the lottery set the draft order.

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The Instigator Podcast 9.23 – Assessing the Sabres Coaching Search

It’s about time that we give Don Granato his own episode and even our best efforts to discuss his merits as the next Sabres head coach were partially interrupted by our NHL playoff preview. But we do spend a lot of time on the Sabres coaching search and on whether or not Granato is the best candidate for the job in Buffalo. We do offer up a few alternatives along the way as we do differ on whether Granato is the best hire the Sabres can make.

The Instigator Podcast 9.21 – Miller Time

Ryan Miller’s career is coming to an end and we attempt too give him a proper send off, celebrating his career with the Sabres and discussing just how much of an impact he made on the ice and in the community. We also touch on Tom Wilson, the Department of Player Safety and the fallout from Monday’s incident in New York.

The Instigator Podcast 9.20 – The Eichel Episode

There has been a whole lot said about Jack Eichel over the last few years – and this year in particular. We try and encapsulate some of that conversation related to the Sabres star as we analyze how badly the Sabres miss him on the ice, some of the questionable opinions that exist about him publicly and also the potential that he could be traded. Not only do we discuss the idea that Eichel could be moved but what a trade would look like and how it could affect the club in both the short and long term. Also on this week’s show is a discussion on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and his NHL debut.

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The Instigator Podcast 9.19 – The Kids are Alright

Buffalo’s young players have been getting plenty of attention since Don Granato took over, playing key roles in the Sabres’ stretch run. We discuss the impact some of the prospects and young players have had this spring and the potential that exists for that group to have a significant impact in the future as well. We also place focus on Don Granato and whether or not he should be the first choice as the long-term head coach of the team. There’s also bonus conversation on the European Super League and the fallout of the apparent failure of some of soccer’s biggest clubs to break off and make their own competition.

The Instigator Podcast 9.18 – Deadline Recap

The deadline has passed and while Kevyn Adams checked off the boxes he needed to, he hardly gets a passing grade after a pretty underwhelming deal for Taylor Hall. We run through Buffalo’s work at today’s deadline and touch on some of the bigger deals swung at the 2021 deadline.

The Instigator Podcast 9.17 – NHL Trade Deadline Primer

The NHL trade deadline is upon us and the Sabres are poised to be sellers. We run through the list of players the Sabres could move by Monday afternoon and even target a couple of potential additions who could step in to close out the season and looking towards 2021-22. We also discuss the Kyle Palmieri trade and the implications that may have on the Sabres’ ability to move Taylor Hall.

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The Instigator Podcast 9.16 – Pipe Cleaning

This week we discuss some of the rumors swirling about Buffalo’s front office and how the various names connected to the Sabres could affect their future. We touch on the trade that sent Eric Staal to the Montreal Canadiens and the potential positive impact of the return. We wrap up the show analyzing some college free agents who could help in goal.

The Hockey News link on draft lottery changes:https://www.si.com/hockey/news/which-recent-nhl-draft-lottery-outcomes-led-to-the-new-rule-changes

The Instigator Podcast is supported by Manscaped. You can get 20% off and free shipping by using the code 2ITB at www.manscaped.com.

Instigator Podcast listeners can get 2500 free coins when they download the Vig It sports app and use our promo code 2ITB when you register. Bet on the NHL, NBA, MLB and win real prizes with Vig It. The app is free to download and free to play which means you can start earning coins to win prizes today.

Staal Trade Sets the Table for an Interesting Stretch Run

Spring cleaning started in earnest for Kevyn Adams and the Sabres with Friday’s trade of Eric Staal. There’s almost certainly more to come for the four-plus UFAs expected to be shopped ahead of the April 12 deadline.

The Staal move works on a number of levels for the Sabres. The most obvious being the return on an expiring contract and a player who hadn’t performed to expectation this season. Getting a 3rd and 5th round picks for Staal feels appropriate given his play this season, but perhaps slightly underwhelming given the player he’d been for the Wild over the last few seasons.

Buffalo has had some poor results at recent deadlines, particularly in seasons where they had opportunities to sell expiring assets. Tim Murray notably made zero moves in what would be his final deadline and Jason Botterill only made one move at his first deadline; trading Evander Kane to San Jose in a year the Sabres finished dead last.

Botterill’s subsequent deadlines featured a mix of buying and selling, meaning this year might be the first the Sabres sell on a number of players for the first time since 2015. An odd consideration given their results in the interim but the sad reality the organization is facing.

I suppose Jonas Johansson was really the first domino to fall but Staal is one of Buffalo’s three big(ish) tickets for this year’s deadline. Taylor Hall is the big prize while Brandon Montour is rumored to be on the block as well.

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Sabres Goaltending Pipeline Needs a Boost

It may seem odd that a team so badly in need of help in goal would opt to trade away one of the few goaltenders they had left. But that’s exactly what the Sabres did in dealing Jonas Johansson to Colorado last week.

Things got dicey for the Sabres in the wake of that decision as Carter Hutton went down with a friendly fire injury just two days later. Of course, that’s the sort of season the Sabres are having. Fairly innocuous decisions turn into catastrophes in the blink of an eye.

In the big picture, of course, not having Johansson to rotate in with Hutton, even in the wake of his injury is practically irrelevant. Johansson recorded a singular win for the Sabres over the course of 13 appearances and both this year and last, sported a save percentage under .900. The difference between what he and Dustin Tokarski are capable of providing is minimal.  

The stark reality for the Sabres is that without Linus Ullmark in net, their chances at victory are slim. Carter Hutton has failed to regain the form that earned him his contract, Johansson didn’t display enough pro traits and Tokarski has looked very much like a goalie who hasn’t seen an NHL game in four years. If it isn’t Ullmark between the pipes, it really makes no difference who is playing in his place these days.

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