The Instigator Podcast 8.17 – Waiting for Movement with Jeremy White

In a way, this is a little bit like a two week late version of the airing of grievances. Jeremy White joins the show as we look back on the deals that effectively saw Marco Scandella swapped for Michael Frolik and what else may be on tap as Jason Botterill attempts to keep the Sabres afloat in the Eastern Conference. We run through a number of topics as it pertains to the team’s roster construction and hit on just about every issue that’s come up as Botterill has struggled to turn the Sabres into a competitor.

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After Scandella, What Does Jason Botterill Have Left to Offer?

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

Sabres New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome to 2020. New decade, same Sabres.

In the spirit of the holiday, now felt like a good time to consider a few resolutions for the Sabres to try on over the next 365 days. They have plenty of room for improvement, I just hope they stick to their resolutions longer than I usually do. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 8.9 – Blueline Decisions Looming for Sabres

The Sabres start couldn’t be going much better, as they’ve shot out of the gates at 8-1-1. Part of their success has come from improved play on the blueline, a unit bolstered by offseason acquisitions. It’s been a crowded group that’s going to get packed even tighter as Brandon Montour is nearing a return to action. His return is going to necessitate at least one move from Jason Botterill and we discussed just what options lay in front of Buffalo’s GM. We also touch on the pros and cons of Buffalo’s third periods, an area that’s lacked some of the consistency that’s defined the Sabres’ success early in the year.

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:

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Over-Thought: Defenseman Market is Starting to Sizzle

The Sabres have gotten off to a better start than I have this year when it comes to recapping 31 Thoughts. But I’m back on the wagon for Sabres After Dark and there are a few juicy tidbits in this week’s edition. Including trade whispers related to both Buffalo’s and Pittsburgh’s bluelines. Continue reading

Sabres Rewind: More Fun in the Defensive Zone

Buffalo’s most recent attempt to string together back-to-back wins fell short with a road home loss to Toronto on Wednesday night. The Sabres allowed three-straight to the Leafs after taking a first period lead and the first two goals were both messy in their own regard.

John Tavares’ tap-in was the product of an effective cycle driven by William Nylander and Buffalo’s continued struggles picking up coverage in the defensive zone. Far too often this season, the Sabres have gotten loose in their coverage, leading to uncontested shots and tap-ins for their opponents. Their coverage has been so poor at times that opponents managed to not only find a free lane to the net but have teammates sitting open on the back door as well. It’s a problem that’s plagued the Sabres all season and I’m not quite sure if they’ll ever solve the problem unless the coaching staff makes some fundamental changes to their system.

Like with most plays, everything is harmless enough as Nylander picks up the puck behind the net. Sam Reinhart is low in the zone filling the typical center duties, Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner are higher, covering the points, and Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella each have a man.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

Sabres Rewind: The Very Bad, No Good Second Period

Things started pretty well for the Sabres in Toronto on Monday night. They carried play throughout the first period and were eventually rewarded with the game’s first goal.

Quick note for this edition. For portions of the play that aren’t ass backwards or super goofy I will keep using comic sans for max comedy. For general highlights or more serious aspects I won’t act like the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and use a normal font.

They didn’t carry that positive momentum into the second period, however. The Leafs scored three goals in just over two minutes and four total in the period to take a lead they wouldn’t surrender. A couple of the goals were fairly straightforward. John Tavares got a good tip on Jake Muzzin’s point shot – Matt Hunwick could’ve done a better job tying up Tavares on that one – and Auston Matthews cashed in an unfortunate bounce off Evan Rodrigues. The other two goals were tougher to watch.

The first was Freddie Gauthier’s backhand that chased Carter Hutton. This goal wasn’t so much a lapse by any one player on the ice. At the core, it was simply a bigger player utilizing good body position against a smaller one, but it highlights some of the oddities about Buffalo’s defensive zone coverage. Continue reading