The Instigator Podcast 6.23 – How will the Sabres Approach the Trade Deadline

We’ve nearly reached the trade deadline and the (short) list of buyers is falling into place. We discuss Buffalo’s approach and the types of prices we expect to see Jason Botterill receive for players like Josh Gorges, Evander Kane, Benoit Pouliot and others. Additionally, we hit on some targets we hope to see Botterill bring in to bolster Buffalo’s roster for the coming seasons.


The Instigator Podcast 6.22 – Ankles Out for Eichel and a Suitor Emerges for Lehner

On this week’s episode we cover the fallout of the Jack Eichel and CJ Smith injuries, touch on Alex Nylander’s stalling development and offer up a brief Olympic prediction. We also focus on the rumored links between the Sabres and Flyers and exactly how a deal between the two might come to fruition.

The Instigator Podcast 4.16 – Deadline Primer

Chris and Tyler look ahead to Monday’s deadline and the players the Sabres will likely move on from. We also visit a few potential targets Tim Murray might consider as he continues to re-shape the roster.

Things to keep in mind as the deadline approaches

Two games and five days separate the Sabres from the trade deadline and just about every player on the roster that carries some sort of value has been mentioned in at least one trade rumor over the past few days.

What is known is that Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson and Steve Ott are at the top of Tim Murray’s to-trade list. They’re all pending free agents and are expected to fetch a hefty return on the open market. Henrik Tallinder, Tyler Myers, Christian Ehrhoff and Drew Stafford have each been mentioned along the way and with silly season in full swing it’s important to know your facts.

It’s always good to be fully informed, so make sure you know the contract and cap situations for any team you think the Sabres may be dealing with. You’ll also find additional information on Cap Recapture Penalties and how much salary can be retained by teams. For example, the Sabres can still retain one more contract in a trade. They can retain up to 50% of a deal and it will likely be that of Ryan Miller’s. So, when someone says Miller can’t go somewhere because the team is  against the cap, you’ll know that the Sabres can hold onto half of his deal along with taking salary back to help grease the wheels.

Another good source of information is Hockey’s Future. The Sabres are going to be dealing for picks and prospects, check out each team’s prospect pool to figure out who would be names to chase. Elite Prospects and The Hockey News are also good sources of source material.

Lastly, use reputable sources. Otherwise, don’t go to Hockey Buzz. The Fourth Period offers awesome rumor reports and breakdowns and never oversteps their bounds when reporting a rumor. In fact, they were early on the reports that Dan Girardi would be signing and he signed his deal while I was writing this. The Hockey News also has a solid rumor section and even TSN offers a rumor round up, of sorts, on a daily basis.

If you’re scrolling through Twitter, each of the mentioned sites has their own feed and reporters like Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie are always preferable over users with two Rs or two Ys in their name. You can usually count on anonymous sources for little more than barstool fodder and very little real information. Stick to the primary sources and you’ll get solid reports in a timely manner.

This is certainly a working list and I would have much rather written it in more of a survival guide format since that’s much more fun. But, use this as a guide for this year’s deadline and be prepared for at least three more days of rampant speculation before the trades start hitting.

Trading Ehrhoff will be a risk-reward venture

If things weren’t frantic enough in the land of Sabres trade rumors, Christian Ehrhoff is now said to be on the block in what’s shaping up to be the biggest fire sale this side of the Florida Miami Marlins.

Ehrhoff has been a steady contributor on the blueline since he first signed and is easily Buffalo’s number one defenseman. While his contract goes forever, it’s at a very friendly cap hit that allows for quite a bit of maneuverability. Adding his on-ice exploits to such a friendly cap hit makes for an attractive trade chip for a number of competitors.

The issue, however, is the Cap Recapture Clause that was included in the new CBA after last year’s lockout. It was built to penalize teams who signed massive, cap circumventing contracts under the previous CBA. It’s a very complicated rule that is difficult to explain but if you read this thread from HF Boards (h/t Scott Michalak @scottyMCSS) on how Ehrhoff’s recapture penalty works you’ll know all you need on how hard the Sabres will be hit if he’s traded.

As you may notice, Buffalo gets hammered if they trade Ehrhoff and he retires prior to the end of his deal. This is particularly true if Ehrhoff chooses to retire after the 2018-19 season ($5M cap penalty) or 2019-20 season ($10M cap penalty). That’s a lot of scratch to sacrifice. It also makes trading him nearly prohibitive. Continue reading

Waiting on a surprise from Regier at the deadline

If history is to serve as a guide you can assume that Darcy Regier will make at least one fairly significant move at this year’s deadline. Perhaps a move will come in the days leading to the deadline, but Regier has made at least one move around the deadline in each of his years with the Sabres.

This year is different than most in recent memory due to the struggles on the ice and the calls for change from the fans and media. A great many are rightfully worried that Regier is not the man who should be guiding any sort of rebuilding process as he is the very architect who assembled the flawed roster that has hovered near the bottom of the league this season.

Buffalo will play a trio of games prior to the deadline and a string of losses would all but cement Regier as a seller. Granted many reports have indicated that the Sabres are willing to hear offers on the entire roster, three more losses would leave little doubt that the team will miss the playoffs yet again.

Whether or not you think Regier is the right choice to even begin retooling the Sabres roster is immaterial at this point. Fans have been calling for his head even before Lindy Ruff was fired but it is obvious that management isn’t willing to cut the cord on Regier at this point and the axe certainly won’t fall prior to Wednesday’s deadline.

Regier will indeed be the guy making and taking the calls for the Sabres on deadline day. However, he’s typically been an adept trade negotiator and has shown that his measured patience often yields the best results (see Gaustad, Paul).

I previously opined that the Sabres don’t need to enter this deadline as just sellers and I stand by that argument. This isn’t a team in the middle of a rebuild in which additional picks and prospects are the ideal return. The Sabres are a team with a flawed construction that could use a facelift. That means that hockey trades and some recycling would likely be in the best interest for the roster.

Moves like last year’s Cody Hodgson trade will allow for the Sabres to introduce pieces that can not only help in the future, but impact the roster today. Continue reading