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Buffalo's Inability to "Steadily" Develop a Defenseman...

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Old
05-20-2013, 03:02 PM
  #1
struckbyaparkedcar
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Buffalo's Inability to "Steadily" Develop a Defenseman...

Myers:
Broke into the league in 09/10 (top pairing all situations, Tallinder)
Sucked for first half of 10/11 (top pairing all-situations, Morrisonn), rebounded, 2011 playoffs was highest level of his career
Sucked for first half of 11/12 (top pairing all situations, Regehr), rebounded somewhat, played well down the stretch in 2012, but in a less complete role than the season prior (offensive deployments at ES, special teams, Leopold)
Sucked for first half of 12/13, rebounded again, but also at a lower level than the year prior

Sekera:
Broke into the league in 07/08 (sheltered minutes, Weber, top 4 with Spock for a time)
Rough 08/09 (top 4 with Lydman/Spock), took mental health days down the stretch
Didn't rebound next season (alternated as the 6/7 with Butler for most of the season, ended year on bottom pairing with Rivet)
Finally righted the ship in 10-11. /behindthenet.ca

Weber:
Broke in 07/08 (bottom pairing, Sekera)
Sent to AHL after camp in 08/09. Reportedly had attitude issues + injuries and never made it back full-time.
Spent 09/10 in AHL because Butler passed him on the depth chart.
Finally made it back to bottom pairing by the end of 2011.
Had another down year in an expanded role (shutdown minutes, Regehr, injuries) in 11/12. Ended season as #7th.
Another good bottom pairing year in 12/13.

Butler:
Broke into league in 08/09 (bottom pairing with Rivet)
Slipped to splitting 6/7 duties with Sekera in 09/10, benched in playoffs.
Benched/bottom-pairinged for chunks of 10/11 before finding chemistry with Myers in the playoffs
Overmatched top-pairing defenseman in Calgary.

That's at least 1.5 seasons of worse play than the year before from each of the last four NHL defensemen to come through the system, with no counterpoints with steady development curves. Sekera is the only one on that list with consecutive "good" seasons (between 10 and 12).

This is a serious indictment of Buffalo's developmental environment under Ruff and Regier. While talent and mental issues certainly contributed to each of these players not panning out perfectly, they also had to deal with role and roster issues that were out of their control. Each of these guys spent a bunch of the lowest points of their careers in a flux between expanded roles they weren't ready for, or struggling to crack a lineup because the powers at be consistently deferred to terrible veteran players (Paetsch, Numminen, Rivet, Montador, Morrisonn, Leopold). We know about Myers' struggles with weight and such, but Sekera took himself out of the lineup because of Ruff's demands, and Weber was reportedly furious when he was cut in Fall of 08 because the org didn't want to ship NHL contracts down to Portland.

While $$$ plays less of a role in Buffalo's decision making under Pegula now, the team still hasn't been able to develop a player without major setbacks. So far, Hodgson's the closest thing to a success on that front, and you have to take his awful goals against numbers in stride to come to that conclusion.


Last edited by struckbyaparkedcar: 05-20-2013 at 03:07 PM.
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Old
05-20-2013, 03:14 PM
  #2
Lloydchristmas138
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Hah it's too bad we couldn't see a D lineup of

Brennan - Persson
Funk-Card
Paetsch-Butler
Gragnani
That would've been sweet.

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05-20-2013, 03:38 PM
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Ruckus007
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I've noticed this trend as well. I'm not sure what else to say about it but I think it's an indictment of Ruff's crucible-like style with young players in general. I'm not sure what the best alternative is, hopefully Rolston has one and we can see a more steady development of prospects. Fortunately we have some nice data points in Pysyk, McNabb and Ruhwedel for next year.

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05-20-2013, 03:50 PM
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Brian Campbell was five pro NA seasons and a lockout year in Finland before he broke through to his current level.

Let's also not forget Tallinder's early trials and tribulations or what happened with Kalinin. Ruff's track record is one of only some success but over a long, long time.

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05-20-2013, 03:57 PM
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It is a main reason why I am so concerned about who the assistant coaches will be, to a point.

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05-20-2013, 04:26 PM
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D take a while. Plus they have developed some, probably as well as any team.

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05-20-2013, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabresAreScaryGood View Post
D take a while. Plus they have developed some, probably as well as any team.
Really, the only one they've developed recently that has been consistent is sekera. We can't just pencil myers and weber into the 1st and 2nd pairings automatically because of their struggles

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05-20-2013, 05:04 PM
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Sabre Dance
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Originally Posted by kirby11 View Post
Really, the only one they've developed recently that has been consistent is sekera. We can't just pencil myers and weber into the 1st and 2nd pairings automatically because of their struggles
They are young.

There was a time from 1999-2005 they didnt spend a 1st a d-man. Dennis Persson was a bust. Tyler Myers and Pysyk are yet to be determined. There have not been many elite prospects in the Sabres system.


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05-20-2013, 05:28 PM
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People want to believe this GM we have is good so they complain about the development. I think its the other way around. Any player Ruff and his staff turned into a decent top 6 or top 4 player is a miracle.

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05-20-2013, 05:44 PM
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I just want to say something about Ruff's comments about hitting, and the adverse effects it has on our team. Ruff since the 2007 fiasco made his players play his game, not to the players strengths. I blame 90% on these lapses on Ruff. Myers is the perfect example of how to ruin a guy, not cultivate him.

The entire defense played tentative under Ruff. I'm looking forward to a fresh voice from the start of the season.

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05-20-2013, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabresFanNorthPortFL View Post
The entire defense played tentative under Ruff. I'm looking forward to a fresh voice from the start of the season.
Me as well.

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05-21-2013, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Lloydchristmas138 View Post
Hah it's too bad we couldn't see a D lineup of

Brennan - Persson
Funk-Card
Paetsch-Butler
Gragnani
That would've been sweet.
We could have Burachikov as our PP specialist instead of Gragnani. It's kind of strange to see Denisov developing into a reliable D for Russia and, I would imagine although I don't watch it, in the KHL.

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05-21-2013, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabresFanNorthPortFL View Post
I just want to say something about Ruff's comments about hitting, and the adverse effects it has on our team. Ruff since the 2007 fiasco made his players play his game, not to the players strengths. I blame 90% on these lapses on Ruff. Myers is the perfect example of how to ruin a guy, not cultivate him.

The entire defense played tentative under Ruff. I'm looking forward to a fresh voice from the start of the season.
Me too. Having a Tyler Myers who is playing confidently and to his strengths would have an enormous impact on the team now and going forward. Hopefully Rolston and his staff can get that from him.

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05-21-2013, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabresFanNorthPortFL View Post
I just want to say something about Ruff's comments about hitting, and the adverse effects it has on our team. Ruff since the 2007 fiasco made his players play his game, not to the players strengths. I blame 90% on these lapses on Ruff. Myers is the perfect example of how to ruin a guy, not cultivate him.

The entire defense played tentative under Ruff. I'm looking forward to a fresh voice from the start of the season.
What do you mean by tentative? There are many ways to look at a player and think they're playing tentatively.

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05-21-2013, 01:23 PM
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brian_griffin
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I am not offering my view to dismiss the premise (which indeed may be true, and therefore indicting of the Sabres / Ruff / whatever), but wouldn't you need cases of NHL teams with similar churn / disharmony on their blueline pairings - yet having routine, steady, progression and improvement - to support the premise BUF can only muck it up and do no good?

Similarly, what if this lens is focused on the forward group? Do you count Roy, Pomminville, and Gaustad to the good, Stafford to the bad, and Vanek as a wash (as a #5 overall). Add in other players to each column as you see fit. Why disparity between F and D? (beyond the traditional "D-men take more time to develop)

And, in general, is it more productive to debate how Schiestel, McNab, Ruhwedl, Pysyk etc., should be developed going forward with RonRol and his new assistants? Otherwise, this topic runs the risk of devolving into the young defenseman version of 23/48/7/1/07. We're all smarter in hindsight - myself included.

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05-21-2013, 02:24 PM
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I think that all these defensemen initially coming into nhl look pretty good and then fall off of a cliff shortly after is more of an indictment on the coaching staff then it is on the talent evaluation process especially when looking at Myers. Regeir is just as much to blame though. He kept on drafting players that fit in terribly with Ruff's way of coaching. If you have a guy like Ruff as a coach, you can't draft BPA. You have to draft BPTF(best player that fits). It took Regier 7 years to realize this.

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05-21-2013, 02:30 PM
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I put all the blame on Ruff and his way with young players.

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05-21-2013, 08:52 PM
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Not just defensemen, but several players were handled in a manner that was not conducive to their skills - or forced to try to be something they weren't. I keep thinking about Paille. His time here was certainly up, yes. But how many times was he force fed a top 6 role or looked at as a guy who should score because of where he was taken? Could've settled him into the fourth line role he's flourishing in the last several years in Boston.

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05-21-2013, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jBuds View Post
Not just defensemen, but several players were handled in a manner that was not conducive to their skills - or forced to try to be something they weren't. I keep thinking about Paille. His time here was certainly up, yes. But how many times was he force fed a top 6 role or looked at as a guy who should score because of where he was taken? Could've settled him into the fourth line role he's flourishing in the last several years in Boston.
Paille's rep was of a high-speed but physical player with a good 2-way game coming out of junior. The hitting went away almost immediately upon his recall. The Bruins seem pretty happy to have a very good PKing option with a little pop to his game for their bottom 6. Given some of the comments about lack of direction regarding Ruff, it wouldn't surprise me that Danny didn't know what he was supposed to be doing and floundered after his 20-goal "everything is going in off everyone" season. Bruins wound up with a nice add for their Cup team. Buffalo is still waiting on Sundher to maybe one day turn into something at the NHL level.

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05-21-2013, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jBuds View Post
Not just defensemen, but several players were handled in a manner that was not conducive to their skills - or forced to try to be something they weren't. I keep thinking about Paille. His time here was certainly up, yes. But how many times was he force fed a top 6 role or looked at as a guy who should score because of where he was taken? Could've settled him into the fourth line role he's flourishing in the last several years in Boston.
Let's be fair, every team's had a Paille solidify a bottom 6 spot on another squad in their recent history. The Bruins had their own in Sobotka. At the end of the day Paille developed into what he was destined to be. I don't think he failed or was severely misused here in Buffalo. They decided they didn't have need for him and got a 3rd and conditional 4th in return. I'd say that worked out well enough for all 3 parties. The real issue there was drafting him as a late 1st to begin with.

Guys who have played most of their careers here and never reached their full potential are of more interest to me. We certainly have our fill of them. Outside of the defense, Stafford sticks out like a sore thumb. I'm not sure what his full potential would fairly be considered as a goal scorer (30 goal-scorer would be the absolute best), but I think we can all agree he had the potential to be a more impactful, reliable all-around player with his skill, size, and skating.

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05-21-2013, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Paxon View Post
Let's be fair, every team's had a Paille solidify a bottom 6 spot on another squad in their recent history. The Bruins had their own in Sobotka. At the end of the day Paille developed into what he was destined to be. I don't think he failed or was severely misused here in Buffalo. They decided they didn't have need for him and got a 3rd and conditional 4th in return. I'd say that worked out well enough for all 3 parties. The real issue there was drafting him as a late 1st to begin with.

Guys who have played most of their careers here and never reached their full potential are of more interest to me. We certainly have our fill of them. Outside of the defense, Stafford sticks out like a sore thumb. I'm not sure what his full potential would fairly be considered as a goal scorer (30 goal-scorer would be the absolute best), but I think we can all agree he had the potential to be a more impactful, reliable all-around player with his skill, size, and skating.
Trades are also known to shake guys into taking things a bit more... professionally shall we say?

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05-22-2013, 07:56 AM
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Sabre Dance
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It seems like many fans dont understand how hard it is to develop a player outside the top 10 into a 1st line forward or a top pair D. I think the Sabres coaches have done a decent job with the quality of prospects they have drafted.

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05-22-2013, 08:41 AM
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Rolston's strength is development. After physicality, development was Ruff's worst attribute.

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05-22-2013, 09:42 AM
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Sekera and Weber have developed fine. I think both of them have panned out well. I wish Sekera's offensive game developed a bit more, but he's good in every other facet of the game.

It's still too early to judge Myers. Weber and Sekera are prime examples of a defenseman's learning curve.


As for Paille:

As was mentioned, his physical game was nonexistent while playing in Buffalo. I think that was more of Ruff's system than anything. Boston's style of play was a perfect fit for him.


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05-22-2013, 10:26 AM
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As was mentioned, his physical game was nonexistent while playing in Buffalo. I think that was more of Ruff's system than anything. Boston's style of play was a perfect fit for him.
His lack of physicality had more to do with finding out very quickly in the AHL that it's much easier to line up guys smaller and slower than you than it is kids in the CHL still going through puberty and still stay in the play. That and when you hit people who are full grown adults they or their teammates will re-arrange your dental work in a second.

Ruff just botched his roster spot. Every coach does it and as Rob said most teams have a Daniel Paille come through their system and fail to properly utilize them. My biggest issue with the Paille situation is Darcy Regier's ability to go out and do what Boston did and put players on other teams to better use. Regier's biggest downfall as a GM is he only seems to care about players he drafted himself or players he coveted during their draft year. If you told me three years ago Cody Hodgson would be in Buffalo it wouldn't have surprised me. If Darcy is here in 10 years you can expect either Patrick or Evander Kane to be playing for us as well because that's just how he is.

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