Over-Thought: Rumor Season is About to Hit Full Throttle

Doing a breakdown of Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts is hardly an original venture but it was something I did every now and then for Dave Davis and The Buffalo Star. In an attempt to get some more content on the site I thought I’d resurrect this feature here at 2ITB for your reading enjoyment.

A primer, for those who may not be familiar with the practice: I’ll take a handful of topics from the most recent 31 Thoughts published by Sportsnet and offer up a few additional thoughts and opinions on the news of the week. The original text will be bold.

If you haven’t read this week’s edition yet, you can find it here.

  1. On Burakovsky: The Capitals have asked for a couple of mid-to-high round draft picks in exchange (seconds and thirds would be a good get) for him. That would give them more flexibility and assets to chase what they need. Even with a seven-game losing streak, absolutely no one is writing them off.

The Sabres haven’t been directly connected to Burakovsky yet but he’s better than at least five of Buffalo’s current wingers. If they plugged him into a top-six role, there’s reason to believe he’d surpass the production he’s had the last three years in Washington. He’d certainly be more effective than he’s been in Washington this year considering he’s struggled to crack the Capitals’ lineup.

That he’s been unable to cement a regular spot is disconcerting. He’s a quality player with elite skill, someone I’ve personally been a fan of going back to his time with the Erie Otters. However, he’s bordering on project territory and that’s not something I’d be too keen on seeing the Sabres take on. Luckily the expected price on Burakovsky is pretty low. A second and a third round pick would be pretty affordable and it could dip lower if his production stays stagnant leading up to the deadline.

If the Sabres could somehow leverage the Capitals to move Burakovsky for less than a 2nd and a 3rd (perhaps they’d like the added depth Nathan Beaulieu would offer along with a draft pick) I’d be very pleased with acquiring him. It’s a situation worth tracking as the opportunity to pair Burakovsky with a more aggressive deal to add young talent at center would represent a strong step towards remaining in the playoff conversation in 2018-19. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 7.9 – Extended Stays

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.

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A Canada-Team North America Summit Series would be a Gift to the Hockey World

There’s a hint of irony that the orange color used on the Team North America jerseys is referred to as solar red given the team’s supernova-like short but brilliant run at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

What could have been.

Team North America’s stay may have been but they made a lasting impact due, in large part, to their thrilling final game against Team Sweden. If you haven’t read it yet, there’s a terrific oral history of that game written by Craig Custance on The Athletic. It’s a terrific retelling of their final game, the wire-to-wire banger against Sweden and a wonderful reminder of how much fun they added to the tournament.

Despite topping the top team in their group, North America failed to advance to the knockout round of the tournament due to a 4-3 loss to Team Russia that featured nearly as much action as the win over Sweden.

Unfortunately, that loss to Russia deprived the hockey world of any more hockey from the U-23 squad. Including a semi-final matchup with Team Canada. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 6.8 – 2017-18 NHL Season Preview

We’re back for another season preview, laying out how we see the league shaping up for the 2017-18 season. We have a couple of playoff teams missing out and a couple of new playoff squads compared to last year in our final predictions.

The NBA Model Should Lead the NHL towards more Jersey Choices

There are more than a few areas in which the NHL could stand to follow the NBA’s lead. Marketing their stars, targeting growing and untapped markets, and simply being forward thinking in the presentation of the game.

It’s unlikely that the NHL will ever surpass the NBA in terms of popularity and revenue, but taking basketball’s lead in an attempt to grow hockey’s footprint – and ultimately the league’s revenue – is a method which could pay dividends for the NHL. The only remaining hurdle seems to be the NHL’s inability to get out of their own way.

More often than not it appears that the NHL is more than happy to stay in their lane and keep their head down when it comes to presenting the sport. It’s not that the product is bad, per se, but that the league doesn’t seem to be willing to explore new opportunities or look at things in a different manner.

The tweet above regarding the new NBA uniform policy is a great example, albeit a small one,  of the NBA opening up to new ideas. The root of this new development is to create a new revenue stream across the entire league by giving all 30 teams a fourth uniform to wear as they see fit. But it’s being done in a manner that is very fan-centric which adds a great deal of appeal. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast Interview – Featuring Mike Salerno of Topps NHL Skate

This edition of The Instigator Interview features Mike Salerno of Topps NHL Skate. Mike oversees the free, digital NHL trading card app that is part of the Topps trading card family. He joins Chris to discuss the unique features of the app, the future of trading cards and what might be on the horizon for the Topps app. We thank Mike for taking the time to chat about such an enjoyable app.

The Instigator Podcast 5.9 – Exploring New NHL Rules

Chris and Tyler tackle some of the most talked about potential rule changes proposed in NHL circles in the spirit of finding more goals and creating more excitement around the league. On the agenda are bigger nets, angling the posts, re-instituting the red line and moving to a three-point standing system.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast here or by subscribing on iTunes and Stitcher.