Buffalo is built on three main principles: Tremendous speed among forwards backed by a coach that is aggressive with his forecheck. The speed of this team would be able to rattle the cages of any defense and St. John's defense couldn't fall more perfectly into the Buffalo game plan. All of St. John's d-men are left-handed! which means they are severely limited in terms of options on the breakout. They basically can only exit the zone from one side of the rink and with the team speed employed by Buffalo and the lack of very noteworthy puck-movers on the backline for St. John's (Stavjana and Berard are probably the only two above average), escaping their own end of the ice will prove to be extremely challenging.
On the backline, the hellacious forecheck of the Mugwumps is backed by a rock solid defense that can patrol the backline with poise, confidence and physicality if necessary. Given that the St. John's club will need to exit the zone on their left side the backing from my mobile right side defense will provide tremendous puck support to my forechecking forwards. Mantha, Moore and Murphy are plenty capable of stepping to any occasion in the neutral zone if called upon, while the backside d-men (my LD) will patrol with the positional integrity that kept them in the NHL for a combined 3,497 NHL games (unadjusted for lockouts or anything, they have been through a combined 7 of them).
And in net, I'm confident that the consensus first overall pick in this draft is the best goaltender in the draft and he'll be protected and supported well throughout. Even if St. John's finds a way out of its zone, it will be a challenge to score as their scoring depth doesn't appear to be better than average. Looking specifically at the second line of Rick Dudley (who had just one 20 goal or 40 point season in the NHL, he was only a really productive player in the loosey, goosey WHA), Josef Malecek (whose claim to fame is 1920's and 1930's international competition, which doesn't seem to be regularly accounted for in these drafts due to competition level concerns) and Fred Glover (a man with 24 NHL points because he spent his career in the minors...and apparently didn't even garner interest from newly-expanded NHL clubs as I don't see evidence that he was part of any expansion draft claims).
I actually think this is a big deal at this level. I do think there have been superstar defensemen who were skilled enough to play both sides at a high level (starting with Bobby Orr, a lefty who usually played the right side), but those guys are long gone by the AAA.
Good to see some discussion in this series, good luck to Mike in the series.
While my 2nd line may not be up to snuff I think my 1st line has a definite advantage over Buffalo's. Tony Tanti's one of the better goal scorers in this draft, 5 times scoring 39 or more goals. I was surprised to see the Mccourt pick not getting recognition, the guy was a good playmaker and should thrive next to Tanti. Mike Cammaleri should help here a lot as well. Ron Murphy was more of a defensive guy and won't add much scoring. Cullen was a decent play maker but I'll still take Mccourt.
I like my defense, Godfrey's the leader here and as others have said is perhaps the best defenseman in the series. Whatever weaknesses the defense may have I expect him to cover those ablely. Berard is a good 2nd option for an offensive defenseman, Giles is going to be quite good defensively. Dorey and Kaberle will offer good 2 way games. Your defense is pretty impressive, the Richardson/Murphy pairing is the definition of a shutdown pairing if I've ever seen one. The defensive battle in this series should be close.
Goaltending should be close as well, not as sold on Martin as others are but he was a good one. Robertson should hold his own though for my team.
Looking forward to a further debate here and best of luck to you in this series.
Both teams are strong all-round, but Buffalo really has an ace in the hole with a goalie who could be a passable ATD backup and would be one of the best starters even in the MLD.
Seth Martin is the one guy who is going to be screwed by the format of the HOH goalies project. Almost none of the lists we received had him on them until I posted some research on him in the preliminary discussion thread (largely based on the research of previous ATD GMs like VI who had him in lower drafts, but never really collected in one place that I saw). The majority of the lists that we received after I posted the info on Seth Martin had him in their top 60.
While I think St. John's had a strong team, they had a huge hill to overcome.