The trade dam finally broke at One Seymour H Knox III Plaza. It took a couple of months, but Jason Botterill sprung to action this week and flipped one of his defensemen for help at forward.
Botterill grabbed the pick needed to acquire Michael Frolik by shipping Marco Scandella to the Canadiens on Thursday evening. Effectively laundering a defense for forward swap through a third party. It’s a relatively minor trade that sees the Sabres use an area of strength to address a weakness. Why it took this long to execute is another question altogether, but fans can take some solace in seeing the GM spring into action.
A big move is still yet to come. It may not come in-season, either, given the Sabres frustrating injury luck and their precarious spot in the standings. A big move is also what seems to be necessary to lift their forward group to the next level.
At the very least, Botterill has a minimum of two trades to make in order to honor the trade requests of Evan Rodrigues and Zach Bogosian. I suspect he’ll have at least one more addition up his sleeve either in addition to dealing the two wantaway players, or as part of the trade for one. My guess is we see something along the lines of the Brandon Montour trade at last year’s deadline; a deal that brings in a younger player who can fit in with the core and be in Buffalo beyond this year. It may not be as big of a deal as the Sabres only have one first round pick to work with, but there are a few pieces Botterill has at his disposal which I think could (or should) be on the table. Continue reading →
I’ve slacked a bit with my usual breakdown of 31 Thoughts, though I’m sure no one has really missed it. This is going to drop about five minutes before the newest edition hits, so I’m really batting 1.000 on this one.
I wanted to run it back though because last week’s version was packed with some interesting trade thoughts that I wanted to opine on. So, without further ado, here is a week-old version of The OT.
After having a bit of fun on Twitter I felt that I might try out a new feature on the blog. Drawing inspiration from Justin Bourne’s System Analyst series, I’ll pick a play from a recent Sabres game and break it down frame-by-frame to see what exactly went wrong in that given moment.
Sometimes it will be a goal against, sometimes a goal for. Saves will be on the menu as well with my goal to add a little humor and a little clarity to various moments over the rest of Buffalo’s schedule.
The first edition covers Tampa Bay’s lone regulation goal from their 2-1 shootout win on February 21. The Sabres managed to take an advantageous offensive position and turn it into a goal against in roughly nine seconds. Here’s what happened. Continue reading →
Jeff Skinner has become a focal point for Sabres fans as his pending free agent status and impressive play has made him a priority for Jason Botterill to sort out. We discuss what a contract extension might look like for Skinner and what the timeline for that might be. We also hit on Evan Rodrigues and how the opportunity to sign him for a longer term and lower cap hit could put the Sabres in a favorable position as the cap continues to rise and the Sabres continue to build. Along the way we hit on the NHL’s concussion lawsuit settlement and the Sabres outlook leading up to American Thanksgiving.
You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:
Two in the Mailbox, the 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.
Matt/@matt_hervan – Which Casey signs a contract first, Mittelstadt or Nelson?
This is a good one. There’s been some chatter that Mittelstadt will return to Minnestoa for another season rather than signing to play in Rochester. There’s no guarantee that’s what Jason Botterill would want him to do – although it’s likely given his m/o – but that’s an option that would be on the table which could also keep the clock on his entry-level deal from starting. However, if Mittelstadt is to sign it’s my belief that it will come this spring after his season with the Gophers comes to a close. The Sabres would have the ability to pitch him on getting pro games right away, even burning a year of his ELC if it comes to that. He’d get a chance to make his NHL debut and he’d be able to play in the playoffs with Rochester as well, which should be a decent selling point for the player just as it would be an attractive development step for the club.
Getting Nelson extended seems like it’s going to be an offseason task. He’s unrestricted thanks to his Group VI UFA status but he really fits the mold of a true RFA. So it seems likely that once the season wraps up that Botterill will get to work on penning a new contract between Nelson and his agent.
It’s worth noting that my assumptions here are based on rumors and media reports on both player’s contract status. It would be just as easy to view Nelson as a player the Sabres will prioritize now rather than waiting until the summer when the clock is really ticking. Same goes to Mittlestadt as there’s been more than a few reports indicating the full court press will come in the summer. Continue reading →
This was a week of exorcising demons in Rochester. They were able to defeat The Syracuse Crunch for the first time in six games, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on their fourth try.
Following the holiday break the new-look Amerks eared six points from four games. This brings them a point above the Marlies into fourth place in the North Division. Utica and Toronto still have a couple of games in hand, but if the Amerks can keep stringing together wins, their playoff hopes look optimistic. Continue reading →