As coronavirus causes cancellations throughout the global sports scene, we spend some time this week discussing just how things are going in North America and what impact the NHL will eventually see as governments and health organizations around the world attempt to curb the spread of the virus. We discuss the short term impacts already in place such as limiting locker room access and the potential for the Sharks to play in an empty building. We also explore the larger impacts should things get worse and the league is forced to see multiple games (or even playoffs) played without fans. This week’s show had to get cut a bit short so I tried to make up for it by running through a few thoughts on potential college free agent targets at the tail end of the episode.
Chris and Tyler come together to discuss the lack of a contract for Rasmus Ristolainen while looking at some of the recent deals inked by RFAs around the league. Meanwhile we discuss the remaining options (or lack thereof) on the free agent market in the event that Tim Murray needs to find a final body or two for his club. You can subscribe to The Instigator on iTunes or tune in via Stitcher by hitting the links.
We’re back to break down the Buffalo Sabres’ signing of Kyle Okposo, acquiring Anders Nilsson and the trio of AHL deals made by Tim Murray. We also take a look at the next steps Murray will be taking as the summer progresses. You can find The Instigator Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher by following the links.
The NHL Draft has come and gone and free agency is on the horizon. The Buffalo Sabres and Tim Murray made a move with the Florida Panthers to kick off day two of the draft that evened out their defense ranks, bringing in Dmitry Kulikov and shipping out Mark Pysyk.
Shifting our focus from the defense, the Sabres need to add a top six winger to provide a desperately needed shot in the arm offensively. Last season, despite the 27 point improvement from 2014-2015, Buffalo still ranked in the bottom five in even strength GF%, GF, and GF in all situations. That kind of offensive production won’t let you sniff a playoff spot, let alone contend once you make it. Continue reading
This week we are joined by Matthew Coller of WGR 550 to discuss the aftermath of the Dmitri Kulikov/Mark Pysyk trade from both an on-ice and analytical perspective. We also jump into options for the Sabres on the free agent market as the opportunity to acquire Steven Stamkos, Kyle Okposo or others looms for Friday.
A quiet draft weekend from Tim Murray may leave the Sabres GM as a more active player in the free agent shopping spree this summer. He indicated as much after the draft, although even had Murray netted more than just Dmitri Kulikov over the weekend it seems as if he still would have been a player in free agency this summer.
There has been plenty of talk about Steven Stamkos and the Sabres’ role as a player for the star. However, Stamkos will come with a hefty cap hit that may actually be better spent elsewhere. The Sabres will and should still take a long, hard look at Stamkos given the skill he possesses and the resume he boasts. But there are plenty of other quality options available to explore. Here’s a list of some of the players I could see Murray extending offers to this year. Continue reading
The acquisition of Dmitir Kulikov balanced out the pairs on Buffalo’s blueline and may leave Tim Murray done for the offseason when it comes to his defense corps. However, he hasn’t found a true puck mover for his power play and it would seem advantageous to acquire at least one more body to fill that role.
The market really thinned out when Alex Goligoski and Keith Yandle signed their respective deals. Perhaps the Sabres just wait until Brendan Guhle is ready for NHL time, maybe that even means this season. Given the thin market, Murray may simply choose to add depth, but there are a couple attractive options available, including two listed here.
Additionally, the Sabres are without a backup goaltender at this moment. Assuming Linus Ullmark will play another season in Rochester, the Sabres will be looking for a replacement for Chad Johnson. Those options remain far more plentiful than along the blueline as free agency approaches. Continue reading
Before we began this venture Jimmy Vesey was still property of the Predators and both Alex Goligoski and Keith Yandle had yet to be moved, let alone signed. That only alters the course for Chris and Tyler so much, which is ideal. Here’s our second piece of how we’d build out the Sabres roster. Continue reading
By John Barrett
It’s a very interesting time to be a Buffalo Sabres fan. With the NHL Draft in spitting distance, and perhaps the most interesting free agency period in two decades, the Sabres have positioned themselves well for both regards eleven picks and loads of cap space.
The biggest hole on the Sabres roster is, as Tim Murray puts it “a power play quarterback,” defenseman that can be paired with budding star Rasmus Ristolainen and be a big-time point producer with the man advantage. There have been a few defensemen around the NHL whose names have been linked to the Sabres, via restricted free agency, unrestricted free agency and cap motivated trades.
I examined the stats of a handful of these potential targets, that focus on two major areas; puck possession and power play production. I focused on these two areas because they were two key focus points that came right from the horses mouth when Murray discussed his blueline. I plotted the two year averages for players on a matrix of 5v5 Corsi For % Relative to the team and points per 60 minutes on the power play. Continue reading
Tim Murray will enter the offseason with a pair of pressing items on his to-do list. Get a left handed defender to fill in his top-four and grab a winger (or two) to fill out the top-six.
Somewhat like last summer when Murray was on the hunt for a goaltender, there are a host of options that will be available to him, but maybe not any one singular target fans may expect him to pursue. That’s excluding Steven Stamkos (who is a center) who will be on top of the wishlist for nearly every fan and general manager.
Looking beyond Stamkos, there are a number of players who I personally like as options for Murray to pursue via trade or free agency. Among the players I could see him considering is Jamie McGinn, who could certainly be re-signed after his trial with Anaheim this spring. While I’m unsure if McGinn’s salary demands will align with Murray’s expectation, you can count him as something of an honorable mention on this list.
While the trade route may be the most enticing route for Murray to pursue given Buffalo’s wealth of draft picks and the ability to pare down some of the clogged middle six bodies the team has, there are actually a couple of names who may hit unrestricted free agency I hope Murray considers. Continue reading