It’s another Ask Instigator version of the podcast as we answer a number of listener questions on everything from trading their first round picks and what a lottery win would mean for the Sabres to which player from 2005-06 or 06-07 would we pick up and place on the current iteration of the Sabres roster.
We also touch on Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka’s All-Rookie Team nomination in the AHL and discuss Vegas impeding elimination from the NHL playoff race and how that affects the Sabres in the draft.
Once again, the Sabres will be sellers at the deadline. While they aren’t overflowing with pending UFAs or highly sought after talent, there will be a few faces missing from Buffalo’s lineup after Monday.
It’s hard to say exactly how many of Buffalo’s trade chips will find their way out the door, but I’ll be surprised if Kevyn Adams doesn’t make at least one or two moves. The Sabres have nine unrestricted free agents who could arguably be available via trade. But the more realistic number is five, maybe six players who are truly available. That list includes Craig Anderson, Cody Eakin, Robert Hagg, Vinny Hinostroza, Colin Miller and possibly Will Butcher. That doesn’t mean all of those players will be on the move, but they each have a profile of a deadline rental.
Players with term or RFA status could also be shipped out, but aside from some whispers about Victor Olofsson’s availability, it doesn’t sound like there would be any imminent moves from the non-UFAs on Buffalo’s roster.
What’s interesting is that while Adams could easily trade away five players on Monday, Buffalo’s roster might not look all that different. The injury bug that ran through Buffalo’s roster shifted the lineup to the point that the Sabres are only now sending players back to Rochester, with Mark Jankowski returned on Wednesday. So, while Hagg and Miller could both gone on Monday, Hagg is the only one of the two with a roster spot that would need to be filled. With Anders Bjork a healthy scratch and Zemgus Girgensons ready to return, the same could be said of Cody Eakin and Vinny Hinostroza.
I think the initial reaction to the Sabres potentially shipping out three or more players would mean a distinct impact to their competitiveness. But things might look pretty similar to how they look now. Right now, the Sabres are +200 underdogs against the Oilers at Betway. Not the greatest odds, but I don’t think you’ll be seeing much longer odds for the club once their work at the deadline is complete.
Navigating a shallow prospect pool has been a chore for no fewer than two of Buffalo’s recent general managers. Both Kevyn Adams and Jason Botterill had to manage the situation and you could argue Tim Murray dealt with it as well. A cumulation of light drafts and below average development stripped the Sabres of almost any success outside the first round of the draft. They even have had their fair share of struggles in the first round. All of that led to a thin prospect pool in terms of quantity and quality.
The Sabres made 11 picks in the 2021 draft, the same number of selections over the two prior drafts combined. We’ll see how valuable the picks become down the line, but in the short term the draft was valuable in filling out Buffalo’s pipeline. That depth may be a bit of an illusion with most of Buffalo’s top prospects on the verge of NHL promotions, or already there. But there’s no question that the 2021 draft went a long way to refilling Buffalo’s prospect cupboard.
Despite their overall record, the early returns have been positive for Adams as his first two draft classes have a handful of bright spots. Thanks to some of the strong play from the likes of Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka, it felt appropriate to revisit the club’s prospect pool using the pyramid ranking style.
As a refresher, using the pyramid style over a strict numerical ranking lets you place players in tiers as opposed to having to choose one over the other. It’s especially useful in cases like this where ranking Jack Quinn over Peyton Krebs, for example, paints a different picture than simply putting them in the same overall group. Keep that in mind as you sift through the tiers below.
Back with another edition of the 2ITB Mailbag. Thanks to those who wrote in and if you want to participate in the next one, send me a tweet tagged with #2ITBmailbag.
@passoffpads – The year is 2025 and the Sabres are preparing for the Stanley Cup Finals (because even we can dream). Who is the goalie? Who is the captain? Who is the leading scorer? Who is the coach?
Let me just start by saying, I love your optimism. If the Sabres are a Cup contender in the 24-25 season, quite a few things will have needed to go right for them. The 2020 and 21 drafts will need to be paying dividends and the picks they’re set to make next June and in 2023 may have a say in that as well. I think Don Granato would still be the coach in this scenario, as the ramp up to Cup contender in that 24-25 season (or 25-26) would need to start in October of 2022. The likes of Owen Power, Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka will need to fill big roles and Granato will be the one welcoming them to the league next fall, so it’s only logical to conclude that the Sabres would be riding a wave that he helped start.
We’re kicking off season 10 of the podcast by breaking down the roster and outlook for this weekend’s Prospects Challenge. We take a look at some of the bigger names on Buffalo’s roster for the event and who we’re excited about seeing on Friday and Saturday. We discuss some of the tournament invites and if any of them could challenge for a contract in the future. We also touch on the new COVID mandates announced by the Bills and Sabres and how that will affect things moving forward this season.
The NHL season is just a few weeks away and clarification has finally come down with regard to the league’s schedule and the key dates for the season. This week’s episode touches on the dates for the start of the season, the trade deadline, playoffs, the draft and more. Among the new additions for the season is a taxi squad that each team will be able to leverage for additional roster flexibility. We discuss the most strategic approach for the Sabres to take with the taxi squad and whether or not we envision the group being used as a development tool or for older call ups as the season progresses. We also touch on the helmet ads coming for the 2020-21 NHL season and the outlook for Jack Quinn and Dylan Cozens at the World Junior Championship.
We’re back for season nine and we’re looking ahead to what promises to be another unusual year for the Buffalo Sabres and the NHL. With the announcement of the 56-game season and realigned divisions, we discuss the outlook for the Sabres and the path they’ll need to follow in order to break their playoff drought. We also touch on the World Junior Championship and the Sabres prospects who are likely to be participating in the event this season.
Joe Yerdon joins the show yet again as we discuss the Sabres work at the draft and free agency. We touch on how Taylor Hall will impact the roster and whether or not his acquisition gives the Sabres enough fire power to take the next step. Jack Quinn is on the table as well as we run through the draft and the tepid reaction to Quinn’s selection.