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An Honest Team Evaluation.

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07-30-2005, 05:17 PM
  #1
TehDoak
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An Honest Team Evaluation.

After thinking about Buffalo's situation, I've realized that its not ALL that bad.

Positives: Good, young, relativley cheap, good core of young fowards. Lacking 'elite' talent outside of Vanek, but have a makeup of a great 2nd/3rd line for the next 5-6 years. 2 good, young goalies ready to fight for a starting role. A young #1 d-man in Kalinin who should be in line to lead Buffalo's defensive core into the next decade. Also a quality group of foward prospects coming up the pipe (Paille, Gaustaud, Pomniville)

Negatives: Thin defense. After Kalinin and McKee, no true top four players. Logjam at goal with Biron, Miller, and Noronen. Defensive and goaltending prospects are very thin.

On the Horizon: I think Buffalo is going to snatch up a big name veteran d-man in the 1st few days of free agency and perhaps look for a good value pickup to help ease the loss of Satan. Also, I think the goaltending situation will be sorted out after a few of the big name goalies are snatched up. By last count, at 3 teams are going to pursue him. Biron+ a foward/prospect for a young 3/4 d-man isn't out of the question. When you consider today's article in TBN (http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20050730/1068675.asp?tbd1068675.asp) about Buffalo wanting to bring in Buffalo area talent, it should only add more fuel to the Aaron Miller fire. Regier even talked of turning one of the goalies into a defensemen in his Post CBA ratification PC interview.

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07-30-2005, 05:31 PM
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Rowley Birkin
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Aaron Miller would be a horrible signing imo. I kinda agree with the rest of your post though, in principle, but i have some worries:

I feel the loss of Miro will be more than most people think, if it happens. I don't see us getting a viable replacement.

I am not convinced that we will land a top name D, but hope we do.

I am worried we will hang on to the dead weight {players like Pyatt and Biron}.

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07-30-2005, 06:50 PM
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Endless Ike
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me and rowley seem to be the only ones who see the departure of Miro as a disaster, hopefully the collective wisdom is right in this one.

Other than that, I have to think that we'll pick up someone on D..especially with all those Miro Millions available now

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07-30-2005, 07:46 PM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowley Birkin
Aaron Miller would be a horrible signing imo. I kinda agree with the rest of your post though, in principle, but i have some worries:

I feel the loss of Miro will be more than most people think, if it happens. I don't see us getting a viable replacement.

I am not convinced that we will land a top name D, but hope we do.

I am worried we will hang on to the dead weight {players like Pyatt and Biron}.
I'm worried they add more dead weight like an overpaid local defenseman who can't stay healthy....

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07-30-2005, 08:57 PM
  #5
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I have taken a serious dose of skepticism and washed it back with some distilled cynicism:

Pros -

1) A solid group of young players who should mature at about the same time. That includes players being banked on to be key contributors like Vanek, Roy, and Miller as well as depth guys like Gaustad, Paille, Thorburn and Stafford.

2) A relatively young group of veterans who should benefit from a more open NHL (if it happens) with the likes of Drury, Briere, Hecht, Dumont and Afinogenov.

3) Dmitri Kalinin

4) Younger players who once had high upside who may now be able to step into their futures in the likes of Connolly, Pyatt and Afinogenov. On a lesser note, Noronen and Tallinder as well.

Cons-

1) They will be forced to rely on the kids to bring winning back to town, particularly on Miller and Vanek, both of whom have questions surrounding their game.

2) A serious lack of gamebreaking talent that can make for the occassional easy or fun game for the team. Every night is going to be a struggle. There will be no 11-1 drubbings like we once saw in the heyday of the French Connection or Patty-n-AlMo. That grinds on a team over the long haul.

3) Larry Quinn getting involved in more front office decisions. The guy thinks he knows hockey because he got to play goal in a celebrity charity fundraiser. Sam Pollock he is not.

4) Tissue-paper thin defense -- which we keep hearing they are going to solve come free agency however if anyone is willing to check teams from the retooling Hawks to the perrenial power Flyers are all talking about beefing up on the blueline. Since they have done such a wonderful job making this a destination city , I'm sure they will have to beat "A" list defensemen away with a stick on Monday.

5) Too many question marks at too many positions. As mentioned, the blueline is hurting. But the forwards are a smallish bunch and the only guy who has and uses his size with regularity seems destined to be run out of town by those who think he makes too much for what he and he alone brings to the table. There is no game-breaker that we know is going to be so at the NHL level since it seems Satan is done and Vanek is still only a rookie. The interchangeable nature of too many Sabre forwards can be an asset, but there is no one who takes charge of the offense.

On the Horizon:

I see a team that is playing lip service to its fanbase while treating its assets -- the players -- like chattel. I see years of drafting frustration that have left the team light on talent and long on hope rather than the other way around. I see the current managing partner acting like a fool in front of the press rather than trying to salvage assets he has or market the team as a destination for those who want US taxation within an hour and a half of Southern Ontario's Golden Horseshoe.

I see another near-miss come the playoffs and another mid-first rounder who one day might help -- or not.

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07-30-2005, 09:14 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chainshot
On the Horizon:

I see a team that is playing lip service to its fanbase while treating its assets -- the players -- like chattel. I see years of drafting frustration that have left the team light on talent and long on hope rather than the other way around. I see the current managing partner acting like a fool in front of the press rather than trying to salvage assets he has or market the team as a destination for those who want US taxation within an hour and a half of Southern Ontario's Golden Horseshoe.
You've summed it all too well Chain, but you left out the Tommy G. factor. He didn't become a billionaire by accident. Quackpot Quinn is only going to be able to blow smoke up TG's backside for so long, after which he'll get flushed and the Sabres get a competent front office.

It won't make the interim suffering any less palatable, but I really believe there's some light at the end of the long tunnel.

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07-30-2005, 09:18 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpb
You've summed it all too well Chain, but you left out the Tommy G. factor. He didn't become a billionaire by accident. Quackpot Quinn is only going to be able to blow smoke up TG's backside for so long, after which he'll get flushed and the Sabres get a competent front office.

It won't make the interim suffering any less palatable, but I really believe there's some light at the end of the long tunnel.
You have a point J. I did leave BTG out of the "Pro's" list and that is not fair to the man who so far has thrown millions of his own dollars away so that I can pull out my hair in frustration.

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07-30-2005, 09:39 PM
  #8
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Chain, I'm not convinced that Miro is gone. We'll know literally tomorrow. Even so, and even with him, Satan is not a true game breaker, either. Let's not forget that Briere outscored him last year, and Hecht was closest of all our forwards to a point-per-game pace.

I'm not saying that Hecht and Briere are the answer, and the Sabres are definitely more dangerous with Miro than without -- but this is hockey, and one player just doesn't make that monstrous of a difference.

FWIW, I'm on your side: I hope we keep him. I had a lingering flirtation with letting him go, but even though Satan is not a top 10 winger, he's our number one.

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07-30-2005, 09:56 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signaliinoise
Chain, I'm not convinced that Miro is gone. We'll know literally tomorrow. Even so, and even with him, Satan is not a true game breaker, either. Let's not forget that Briere outscored him last year, and Hecht was closest of all our forwards to a point-per-game pace.

I'm not saying that Hecht and Briere are the answer, and the Sabres are definitely more dangerous with Miro than without -- but this is hockey, and one player just doesn't make that monstrous of a difference.

FWIW, I'm on your side: I hope we keep him. I had a lingering flirtation with letting him go, but even though Satan is not a top 10 winger, he's our number one.
You're right, Miro is not one of those type of players who can dictate a game as he sees fit. And that's the sort of player I hope Vanek one day becomes. But in the meantime, they don't have anyone of that ilk who can make for a nice, easy game from time to time. I refer to Miro as such in the sense that he's the best that they have, IMHO.

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07-31-2005, 01:13 AM
  #10
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A top 6 of Hecht (25), Briere (30), Dumont (25), Vanek (25), Drury (20), and Afinogenov (20) will score ~140-150 goals this year, I'm almost positive. I honestly don't think scoring will be a problem at all. Yeah we lose Miro, but I honestly seeing Vanek stepping right in and taking his role. I'd much rather use that $3.8m for a defenseman or two.

Anyways, as much as we've been saying it for so long now...I really think if we don't make the playoffs this year, it's 99.9% sure that Darcy, Lindy, Larry, etc. are all gone. Darcy doesn't have any excuses anymore now that he's got pretty much a league average budget to work with, and with the 24% rollback, a $30-31m payroll can get you quite a bit, especially with all the young, cheap talent that Buffalo has. Lindy won't have any excuses, because if we don't make the playoffs, it'll more than likely mean that his system doesn't mesh with the new look NHL, and we need to get someone different in here.

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Old
07-31-2005, 05:46 AM
  #11
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What I like about the Sabres:
1. speed - there is plenty of it up front

2. skill - I strongly feel we have more upfront than other people belive. Briere, Drury, Vanek, Dumont, Hecht, Afinogenov have the making of a good top six. Wish Satan was in the mix but..... I like Roy and it will be interesting to see how much Pominville and Gasutad can contribute. I think the latter might be a surprising PP force.

3. Leadership - this team has plenty of character guys: Drury, Briere, Roy, Paille, Hecht, McKee, Kalinen, etc. Maybe its just me, but I love Gaustad and think he'd make a great future captain.

4. Bright future - The Sabres might not have the best group of prospects but they have some really good ones that fit needs. Vanek, Paille, Pominville, Roy, Stafford, Gaustad, MacAuthur, Funk. In this group you have a #3 & 4 centermen, a #1, and & 2 winger, plus Paille and Stafford could both be either #2 or #3, plus a #3 or 4 defensemen. I wouldn't mind seeing the Sabres swap a fordward for a defensemen with someone.

5. Goaltending depth - We have three solid goaltenders and one will emerge as the guy. I personally hope its Miller, other may prefer Noronen. We hopefully can deal the third and a prospect to add some defensive depths.

Negatives:
1. weak defense - hopefully this will be addressed during free agency. More mobility and better skill. Rafalski and one big nasty would be great.

2. Coaching - will Ruff come out of his shell and let this team skate and show its skill?

3. Front office - We rarely see bold moves. Acquiring Drury was suppose to be a bold move. Now we need to see one or two bold free agent moves. Make a run at Rafalski, a scoring winger. Show us you desire a winner.

4. Cheapness - the McKee move, Satan, etc, points to a team being cheap. If they can keep the payroll under $32 million, they should break even and with a playoff run make money. Don't be overly cheap and have a payroll of $24 million.

5. Inferiority complex - the team, the fans and the city all have a massive one. Everyone is out to get us, no one cares about us, etc. This is a major problem all of WNY has and it needs to be overcome. I strongly believe that the Sabres could have won the draft lottery, gotten Sidney Crosby, and people would find tons of complain about. The NHL isn't out to get Buffalo. If they were they had their chance when we were bankrupt. I didn't see moving vans shipping the team off to Portland. Let's get past the past, support the team, create an atmosphere at the Marina (oh sorry, the bank) that makes it a difficult place for opponents to come in and play.

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