The Conference Finals are set to begin and we run through the matchups in the East and West, giving our outlook on both series. We transition to a discussion about Connor Hellebuyck and the fresh rumors connecting him to the Sabres.
It’s another Ask Instigator version of the podcast as we answer a number of listener questions on everything from trading their first round picks and what a lottery win would mean for the Sabres to which player from 2005-06 or 06-07 would we pick up and place on the current iteration of the Sabres roster.
We also touch on Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka’s All-Rookie Team nomination in the AHL and discuss Vegas impeding elimination from the NHL playoff race and how that affects the Sabres in the draft.
The main focus of this week’s show is Alex Tuch and the impressive impact he’s had since arriving in Buffalo. We talk about the underlying numbers he’s carrying, the incredible point production and simply how good he’s looked taking a step up in the lineup and helping to anchor Buffalo’s top line.
We add some thoughts about how Tuch’s emergence can help fuel the next moves the Sabres make in terms of free agent or trade acquisitions, and how he’s become a cornerstone of the young core they’re building with.
Prior to that, we touch on the trade between the Montreal Canadians and Calgary Flames that saw Tyler Toffoli head to Alberta. We discuss Jack Eichel’s impending return and the disappointment in not seeing Devon Levi receive any action for Team Canada at the 2022 Olympic Games.
Kevyn Adams pulled out the final piece of his rebuild in dealing Jack Eichel to Vegas on Thursday. The move the entire hockey world had been waiting on since the spring was finally completed, ending a months-long saga once and for all.
The Sabres come away with Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a first round pick and a second in exchange for their wantaway star. It’s a package that on the heels of Thursday’s deal, feels mostly adequate, if not slightly underwhelming. Of course, you’re always going to want more when you’re trading a player of Eichel’ stature. That’s just par for the course.
Overall, I think Adams did well here. If a deal with Vegas was going to be made, Krebs was the piece they needed to get. Add in the first-round pick with fairly minimal protections (pick pushes to 2023 if Vegas is picking in the top 10) and two key futures that were believed to be q requirement for the deal were included. Tuch comes over on a team-friendly deal with plenty of term. At 25 he’s right in the window the Sabres should be looking for as they build out the roster. Maybe an additional mid-level prospect like Lucas Elvenes would have moved the needle a bit more. Or perhaps building a condition on to the 2023 second rounder that would make it a first based on Eichel reaching some basic games played benchmarks beefs this up a bit. But given the circumstances and the leverage each side had; I don’t think Adams deserves too much heat for this deal. At least in the short term.
The real value of this deal will play itself out in the long term for both sides. Particularly the Sabres. At best the first-round pick will be a year from contributing, if not longer. The second rounder will require more than that. Which is fine. The Sabres have wisely stockpiled picks and prospects over the last six months, an effort that has started to replenish a depleted pipeline. Krebs also represents a great deal of long-term value for the club. He’s only seen action in 13 NHL games between last spring and the start of this year. What he has to offer as an NHL player is still an untapped well and given his pedigree as a prospect, should be exciting for Sabres fans to track.
We went into emergency pod mode to offer up our reaction to the trade that sent Jack Eichel and a 2023 3rd round pick to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a 2022 1st round pick and a 2023 2nd round pick. We offer up our thoughts on the quality of the return the Sabres got and what sort of players you can expect to see in Krebs and Tuch.
Perhaps the most significant update in the Jack Eichel saga dropped on Wednesday as Kevin Weekes reported an apparent trade package offered by the Calgary Flames for the Sabres former captain. We touch on some of the context surrounding the Weekes tweet, and the likelihood that Matthew Tkachuk would be involved in a deal for Eichel. We also discuss how things could be framed from the Vegas perspective, as the Golden Knights are believed to be the other front runner for Eichel along with Calgary.
But we start the show with further discussion of the Blackhawks case and the newest developments in the wake of Gary Bettman’s press conference on Monday afternoon.
Depending how things shake out over the next few days, Jason Botterill will have just missed out on having an awfully busy month of May. The Sabres’ head coaching vacancy has been filled by Ralph Krueger, Buffalo made their first free agent signing of the summer and reports indicate that Botterill is inching closer to an agreement with Jeff Skinner on a contract extension.
The scouting combine ought to help push trade negotiations further ahead and that’s with one potential blockbuster already hanging out there. The most recent 31 Thoughts blog offered up plenty of juicy talking points on trade rumors and more. Check it out here if you haven’t already.Continue reading →
The bonus extension of the deadline podcast looks at some of the biggest trades that went down at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. We look into all of the moves made by the Columbus Blue Jackets and the arms race out West. Specifically the deals made by Nashville, Winnipeg and, of course, Vegas.
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:
After a little time off we’re back with a slightly different approach to a Cup Final preview. Given that game one went down the day before we recorded, simply offering up a preview would be dirty pool. So instead we opted to discuss just how difficult this Vegas team is going to be to knock off. While Tyler isn’t as confident as I am that Vegas is fated to win this series, we revisited their roster construction and just what’s working for them as they steam towards a championship. We also hit on the recent signings by the Sabres and how Lawrence Pilut, Victor Olofsson and Rasmus Asplund will affect the team’s pipeline this coming year.
You’d think the regular season might have taught us something about the Vegas Golden Knights. Thought of as a ragtag bunch of cast-offs which could have been a far more talented team given the players selected in the expansion draft, the Golden Knights promptly defied all odds and even looked like a President’s Trophy candidate for long stretches.
They were driven by a number of career-high performances, including a few staggeringly good shooting percentages, that were still widely believed to peter out at some point. So even with all the head turning performances from the regular season, it was still easy to bet against Vegas as they entered the playoffs.
Questions about their game translating to the postseason, how would they handle a traditionally excellent possession team in their first foray into the playoffs, could the astonishing offensive numbers by their team leaders carry forward? There were a lot of doubters that the Golden Knights could even get out of the first round. All they did was sweep the Kings, shutting them out twice and nearly silencing their offense altogether. Continue reading →