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Realistic Solutions for our Center Depth Problem

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Old
03-09-2011, 04:59 PM
  #76
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Originally Posted by jlr View Post
Not to mention he usually has Crosby and Malkin to draw the ice time of the other teams top defensive matchups.

Would Staal be a nice addition? Definitely. Is he the "better than Roy" center that I think we need to be contenders? Absolutely not.

Listed in order of talent, my general thoughts on how we get from A to B:

Roy, Staal, Gaustad, McCormick/X = Not a contender, but better than what we have now with Connolly.

X, Roy, Staal, Gaustad = Makings of a contendor. I don't think there's any way we get there this summer though.
The title of this thread is "realistic solutions for our center depth problem." Staal is realistic and provides depth. I notice you left out the following option, which is "realistic":

Roy, Staal, Connolly, Goose. It's certainly not as good as Richards, Roy, Staal, Goose, but it's better than what we have this year.

Of course, the other advantage of signing a FA like Richards and letting Connolly walk, is that we won't have to part with someone like Stafford or Poms to get there.

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03-09-2011, 05:21 PM
  #77
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Originally Posted by dire wolf View Post
The title of this thread is "realistic solutions for our center depth problem." Staal is realistic and provides depth. I notice you left out the following option, which is "realistic":

Roy, Staal, Connolly, Goose. It's certainly not as good as Richards, Roy, Staal, Goose, but it's better than what we have this year.

Of course, the other advantage of signing a FA like Richards and letting Connolly walk, is that we won't have to part with someone like Stafford or Poms to get there.
Any lineup with Connolly in it... well, I don't even want to consider it. Him leaving July 1 is addition by subtraction, IMO.

Resigning TC would be about the single best indicator I could get that Regier is beyond hope, and that we're in for more of the same until he's replaced.

And as you mentioned - trading for Staal is going to cost, and it's going to cost a lot. Probably more than he'd be worth to a team like us. Richards might cost a lot of cash and cap, but that's something we have plenty of at the moment.

If the choice is Richards-Roy-Gaustad-Ellis/McCormick or Roy-Staal-Connolly-Gaustad, it's a no-brainer to me, and could actually be the more realistic and less costly of the two.

Wonder what we'd have to add to make a Poms-Staal trade work...

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03-09-2011, 05:42 PM
  #78
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Originally Posted by jlr View Post
Any lineup with Connolly in it... well, I don't even want to consider it. Him leaving July 1 is addition by subtraction, IMO.

Resigning TC would be about the single best indicator I could get that Regier is beyond hope, and that we're in for more of the same until he's replaced.

And as you mentioned - trading for Staal is going to cost, and it's going to cost a lot. Probably more than he'd be worth to a team like us. Richards might cost a lot of cash and cap, but that's something we have plenty of at the moment.

If the choice is Richards-Roy-Gaustad-Ellis/McCormick or Roy-Staal-Connolly-Gaustad, it's a no-brainer to me, and could actually be the more realistic and less costly of the two.

Wonder what we'd have to add to make a Poms-Staal trade work...
True, but I don't see us winning the Richards sweepstakes over the Rags or the Kings. Also, I'm not 100% sure that he will live up to the contract -- in both $ and term -- that he will wind up getting. While we might have a lot of cap space now, that may not be the case in a few years. Would you give Richards a 10 year deal? I wouldn't.

As to whether Connolly is truly "addition by subtraction," it's hard to tell. If he were a $2M PK specialist and 3rd line center until Adam is ready to come up, I could live with it. If he's back as our $4M second-line center, we've got a big problem.

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03-09-2011, 06:14 PM
  #79
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Originally Posted by dire wolf View Post
Also, I'm not 100% sure that he will live up to the contract -- in both $ and term -- that he will wind up getting.
He almost certainly won't, at least on the backend. But that's the price you have to pay for high-end centers these days. We're going to have to bite the bullet at some point if Pegula is on a 3 year plan, might as well throw our hat in the ring.

And for the record, I don't want Connolly back even on a one year, two-way, league minimum contract.

But seriously. Not even then.

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03-09-2011, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dire wolf View Post
Thanks for that link -- very cool. Seems to support my point pretty well. His new linemates are a big upgrade, but compared to his last couple of years, I would think that if we got Staal, he'd be playing with much better O talent than Cooke and Kennedy.
That site asserts he has played 17%, 22% and now 23% of his shifts with Cooke/Kennedy at ES. The site just shows those are his most frequent linemates. Its doesn't really dispute the point that he is used in a way that really isn't that of a 3rd line center.


I really don't think you're grasping the amount of ice time he gets.

3rd line centers don't get 14min a night at ES, 2min on PP and 3+min SH (his numbers the two previous seasons) for a total of 19+min a night. Those are the kind of numbers Roy gets.

By comparison Goose this year gets 12min at ES, 1min on PP and 2min on SH for 15min total.

This year with injuries Staal is getting 15:24 min at ES (more than Goose averages for an entire game), only Crosby averaged more. 3:19 on the PP and 2:50 on the PK. Over 21min a night he is getting.

Please tell me how he is being held back offensively by his frequent but hardly only linemates, Cooke/Kennedy, who both only play about 12min a night at ES, :44/1:41 on the PP. Staal plays about 19 min a night at ES and the PP combined. Which is roughly 6+min more than Cooke's combined total of 12:44 and 5+ min more than Kennedy's combined 13:41.

My point stands that he isn't a 3rd line center, regardless if he is the 3rd best center on the Pens. A 3rd line center does not play as much as Staal does.


Staal has always played a unique role in Pittsburgh. Its a big reason why its unlikely he would be available.


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03-09-2011, 06:55 PM
  #81
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Originally Posted by jlr View Post
He almost certainly won't, at least on the backend. But that's the price you have to pay for high-end centers these days. We're going to have to bite the bullet at some point if Pegula is on a 3 year plan, might as well throw our hat in the ring.

And for the record, I don't want Connolly back even on a one year, two-way, league minimum contract.

But seriously. Not even then.
Yea, that's how I see it too. Connolly (and 2 others) are players I simply don't want on the team no matter what. Even if he gets 20 assists and 15 goals from now until end of season. He just isn't the type of player that will advance this team. I'm simply done with him in a Buffalo uniform. I would rather have Ellis switch and play center on the 2nd line than Connolly next year. I'm soooo done done done.

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03-09-2011, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dire wolf View Post
The title of this thread is "realistic solutions for our center depth problem." Staal is realistic and provides depth. I notice you left out the following option, which is "realistic":

Roy, Staal, Connolly, Goose. It's certainly not as good as Richards, Roy, Staal, Goose, but it's better than what we have this year.

Of course, the other advantage of signing a FA like Richards and letting Connolly walk, is that we won't have to part with someone like Stafford or Poms to get there.
He really isn't.

His unique role in Pittsburgh is why its very unlikely they move him. He is used in every possible situation and gets tons of ice time. Why would they move him?

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03-09-2011, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by joshjull View Post
He really isn't.

Again, his unique role in Pittsburgh is why its very unlikely thyey move him. He is used in every possible situation and gets tons of ice time. Why would they move him?
Particularly when they solved their perceived winger issue by adding Neal for Goligoski. They don't have a pressing need for a winger and they know they have dynamite center depth with Staal that is hard to match in the East outside of the Flyers. Staal might be a good fit for Buffalo, yet there is no reason really for the Pens to move him outside of being floored by the offer. Do they really make that sort of offer for someone who isn't a sure-fire first line point producer? I have my doubts...

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03-09-2011, 08:17 PM
  #84
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Originally Posted by joshjull View Post
That site asserts he has played 17%, 22% and now 23% of his shifts with Cooke/Kennedy at ES. The site just shows those are his most frequent linemates. Its doesn't really dispute the point that he is used in a way that really isn't that of a 3rd line center.


I really don't think you're grasping the amount of ice time he gets.

3rd line centers don't get 14min a night at ES, 2min on PP and 3+min SH (his numbers the two previous seasons) for a total of 19+min a night. Those are the kind of numbers Roy gets.

By comparison Goose this year gets 12min at ES, 1min on PP and 2min on SH for 15min total.

This year with injuries Staal is getting 15:24 min at ES (more than Goose averages for an entire game), only Crosby averaged more. 3:19 on the PP and 2:50 on the PK. Over 21min a night he is getting.

Please tell me how he is being held back offensively by his frequent but hardly only linemates, Cooke/Kennedy, who both only play about 12min a night at ES, :44/1:41 on the PP. Staal plays about 19 min a night at ES and the PP combined. Which is roughly 6+min more than Cooke's combined total of 12:44 and 5+ min more than Kennedy's combined 13:41.

My point stands that he isn't a 3rd line center, regardless if he is the 3rd best center on the Pens. A 3rd line center does not play as much as Staal does.


Staal has always played a unique role in Pittsburgh. Its a big reason why its unlikely he would be available.
Not all minutes are created equal.

First, the 3+ minutes shorthanded aren't going to result in very many points. Pretty close to 0, I would think.

Second, when your first two lines are centered by Crosby and Malkin, the third line will often be used in a more traditional checking line role, resulting in fewer scoring chances.

Third, when your line-mates are guys like Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke, you aren't going to put up 65 points no matter how many minutes you get.

(Also, for reasons that no one seems to understand, Pitt's PP has been below average for the past couple of years (this has to be one of the biggest head scratchers in the NHL) (this is going from memory, but I think this is correct). So, Staal isn't scoring as many PP points as he might on another team with a better PP (not saying that our PP is so great)).

All of these factors hold him back offensively. I personally believe that if he were our second line center, playing with guys like Stafford, Boyes or Ennis, he would score materially more points than he has in Pitt. I don't think that conclusion should be so controversial.

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03-09-2011, 08:18 PM
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Particularly when they solved their perceived winger issue by adding Neal for Goligoski. They don't have a pressing need for a winger and they know they have dynamite center depth with Staal that is hard to match in the East outside of the Flyers. Staal might be a good fit for Buffalo, yet there is no reason really for the Pens to move him outside of being floored by the offer. Do they really make that sort of offer for someone who isn't a sure-fire first line point producer? I have my doubts...
That's a good point. With the Gogo/Neal trade -- and with possible question marks about whether Malkin will return to form after his major knee problems, it would probably take a lot more to pry him out of Pitt than it would have last summer.

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03-10-2011, 11:30 AM
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Yea, that's how I see it too. Connolly (and 2 others) are players I simply don't want on the team no matter what. Even if he gets 20 assists and 15 goals from now until end of season. He just isn't the type of player that will advance this team. I'm simply done with him in a Buffalo uniform. I would rather have Ellis switch and play center on the 2nd line than Connolly next year. I'm soooo done done done.
I suspect that there's a long line of people standing behind you with the exact same belief.

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03-10-2011, 05:32 PM
  #87
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I'm not here to praise Connolly, but I was looking at some numbers and was a little surprised to see the following (I recognize that these stats are not reliable, but still):

Among Sabres fowards:

Blocked Shots:
1. McCormick 65 GP 45 BS
2. Connolly 52 40
3. Grier 64 38
4. Poms 57 36
5. Goose 66 34

It's surprising to see TC leading forwards in blocks per game. You would think Grier and Goose would be higher, among others.

Giveaways: (I know this is really subjective, but still)

1. Vanek 65 GP 38 GvA
2. Hecht 63 25
3. Roy 35 25
4. Ennis 66 24
5. Poms 57 22
6. Connolly 52 21

I guess they don't count missed drop passes . I was surprised to see Vanek at the top of the list. Stafford's only got 13 giveaways.

One thing that's weird about Connolly is that he is -11 on the road, and Even at home. I wonder if this is a fluke?

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