The Instigator Podcast 6.34 – Reaction to the O’Reilly and Sheary Deals

It’s been a busy week for Jason Botterill as he’s swung two trades that will have a significant effect on his roster. We lead off with a breakdown of Botterill’s biggest trade to date, in which he sent Ryan O’Reilly to St. Louis for a package of picks and players. We briefly hit on the acquisition of Conor Sheary before transitioning into a discussion of what’s next on the docket for Botterill as he still has a few holes left to fill on his roster.

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Rick Martin Trade Tree Sprouts Another Branch after O’Reilly Trade

The Rick Martin trade tree’s life got a big boost when Evander Kane was dealt for a pair of draft picks at the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline. Little did we know that it would get an even bigger boost this summer as Ryan O’Reilly was dealt for a big package of players and picks.

Tage Thompson and the pair of picks the Sabres acquired give the team a trio of solid assets to build with and all three could one day contribute to future growth of the trade tree below. We’ll probably see a branch or two more from this tree before it finally runs its course.

O’Reilly Decision Will Set the Course for the Offseason

Aside from selecting Rasmus Dahlin, Jason Botterill has quite the to-do list this summer and deciding to deal Ryan O’Reilly will likely serve as the flash point for the rest of Botterill’s maneuvering this offseason.

This isn’t just because there are a multitude of suitors who have been connected to O’Reilly in recent weeks. But because the potential ask and return has been as varied as the teams being connected to the center. The roster will look a whole lot different if Botterill obtains the third overall pick as opposed to receiving a package of players and prospects for O’Reilly. Thus, Botterill’s actions will be shaped by what he receives for O’Reilly in the coming days – if he’s moved at all.

Table via Left Wing Lock

Perhaps the biggest hurdle in dealing O’Reilly is finding adequate cover for all the things he offers to the Sabres. For all the complaints about his lack of speed, O’Reilly remains an incredibly effective centerman. He eats minutes against difficult competition with nearly 60% of his starts coming in the defensive zone at even strength. Through all of that he manages to have a positive relative impact on his teammates and maintains a quality and consistent level of offensive production.

There are few players around the league who could step in and fill O’Reilly’s role, meaning if he is traded, Botterill will have his hands full in filling O’Reilly’s very large shoes. That doesn’t mean the Sabres shouldn’t move O’Reilly, his skill set alone makes him an incredibly valuable trade chip and whatever locker room issues are at play add another layer to moving him. There will be a trickle down on the roster once he’s moved though, make no mistake about that. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 6.31 – Sabres Trade Chatter is Picking Up

There are a lot of rumors floating around the Sabres these days and in this week’s podcast we work to sort through the various rumors and identify just where the Sabres stand in terms of the players who are likely to move on this summer. We also touch on potential trade targets for Jason Botterill to focus on while sorting through the mess in Ottawa and putting a crown on the Capitals first Stanley Cup Championship.

 

Two in the Mailbox – What would O’Reilly and Ristolainen Swaps Look Like?

Two in the Mailbox, the (sometimes) 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 2intheboxbuffalo@gmail.com.

Back at it post, post lottery. Let’s get to it.

Adam/@sharpndpensel – You’re Jason Botterill. You decided to reshape the roster, you want to move Ristolainen for a forward and Ryan O’Reilly for a defenseman. Who are your trade partners, and who are you targeting?

This is a topic I’ve been tossing around for a little while now. In this space, on Twitter and in private conversations. Given that this subject was submitted by a few people for this mailbag it seems like a good time to dig in deeper.

The first thing to consider is that trading two talents like O’Reilly and Ristolainen in the same summer would be fairly unlikely. That’s a lot of negotiating to consummate two deals of similar stature. But from a hypothetical standpoint, these two players offer the opportunity for the Sabres to flip their depth and shake up the locker room without becoming exposed at a key position. But the key word here is hypothetical.

Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 6.27 – Sabres Locker Clean Out Fallout & Thoughts on Humboldt

The typical weekly episode touches on the fallout from Sabres locker clean out day and the comments made by Chad Johnson, Johan Larsson and Ryan O’Reilly. We also discuss the tragedy that has struck the Humboldt Broncos along with the response from the hockey community at large. Our conversation regarding Humboldt begins at 48:00 if you wish to skip ahead to that portion of the show.

 

Two in the Mailbox – O’Reilly Availability and the Worst Trade You’ve Ever Seen

Two in the Mailbox, the (sometimes) 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 2intheboxbuffalo@gmail.com.

Joe/@jneumann522 – Let’s assume #90 is available, what teams would be interested and what would be a reasonable return?

O’Reilly is going to be a hot topic until he’s moved or until the season starts. He’s one of the few players who carries enough value to help the Sabres in a trade and his cap hit is big enough that a deal would be beneficial from a financial perspective as well.

You can put down just about any team with a semblance of need at center as a potential opening for O’Reilly but teams the Sabres would want to deal with would likely whittle that list down a fair bit. Carolina is an obvious candidate as they not only have a surplus of defensemen but are said to be searching for forward help. St. Louis was working on a center at the deadline after they flipped Paul Stastny. I wouldn’t even rule out Edmonton given their ongoing search for hockey players.

O’Reilly is also a divisive subject given that he’s been a steady contributor since being acquired and has plenty to offer. So the only way it makes sense to move him is if the deal addresses another area of need. Specifically the blueline. The Sabres would need to noticeably strengthen their blueline with either a current NHLer or fetch a package that includes a blue chip prospect who could step into a role on Buffalo’s D starting next year. That’s a mighty small target to hit but when you consider Buffalo’s needs and the value O’Reilly carries, it’s the only way moving him would help improve Buffalo’s roster. Continue reading