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Next year won't be a "tank".


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#1 d4rksabre

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 09:49 AM

There's a lot of chatter here after yesterday's press conference that Tim Murray has outright admitted that next season's plan is to tank again. Tanking, as defined, being the idea of fielding a bad team to fail on purpose in order to draft high.

There are a few reasons why this is a broken theory.

It starts with Tim's arrival here when the season was already lost. Coming in from outside the organization it is clear that there is nothing here that Tim is attached to. None of the players on the team (outside of the ones he added) are "his guys". Neither are any staff members. And neither is the rebuild "plan" that Darcy set into motion.

Regardless of the course the team was on, Tim clearly has his own plan: Draft well, develop well, and don't rush anything.

The last part is where the illusion of a tank comes into play. As a GM you've traded away most of the valuable assets you don't think you need right away. You've maximized value and probably lowered the overall talent level of your team right into the basement. This is tantamount to inheriting a house only to find the previous owner has left some valuable things behind, so you sell them on craigslist and now you're sleeping on the living room floor. You'll buy new shiny things, just not yet.

Now Tim gets to move forward with HIS plan. There's still a few things left, like Leino's stupid contract, but for the most part the stage has been set. He's got kids where he wants them, and will be adding more this offseason. He'll put them where he wants them as well.

In the meantime, we've got some young talent that is going to stick with the Sabres. Girgensons, Pysyk, Ristolainen, Foligno, Hodgson, Ennis, Flynn. Maybe McCabe and Zadorov, maybe. Guys like Stafford, Weber and Ehrhoff will be back. Myers, Neuvirth, Enroth and probably Stewart too. But then you have a lot of holes to fill. We've probably already got some of those filler players. Conacher, Deslauriers, McBain, Ruwhedel. Maybe John Scott.

Basically anyone who can take the place of a younger player who Tim doesn't want to put in the NHL yet. Remember, don't rush anything.

Unfortunately for us, this is going to look like a tank. But it wont be. It's simply a succession plan. Eventually kids will start replacing filler players and veterans and they will be better suited to those roles.

This is what #blueprint really is. This is methodical. Just don't call it a tank.

#2 Eleven

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:05 AM

Just start with your first sentence.  Murray nearly outright stated the opposite.  It's clear that he is not planning on finishing last.  (It's clear that he's not planning on finishing first, either.)

#3 d4rksabre

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:10 AM

View PostEleven, on 16 April 2014 - 10:05 AM, said:

Just start with your first sentence.  Murray nearly outright stated the opposite.  It's clear that he is not planning on finishing last.  (It's clear that he's not planning on finishing first, either.)

Talk to everyone in the other threads bracing themselves for another tank. It's a popular interpretation of Murray's comments.

#4 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:12 AM

I would make the argument that this season was not a tank either, by any reasonable definition of the word.

The season was terrible solely because the roster was devoid of enough talent to win on a consistent basis.  That is not a tank job ... losing on purpose.

I do not believe the players, management and ownership planned to "tank".  

And they won't next season either, but I do not believe the results will be very different from this season.

#5 26CornerBlitz

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:13 AM

View Postd4rksabre, on 16 April 2014 - 10:10 AM, said:

Talk to everyone in the other threads bracing themselves for another tank. It's a popular interpretation of Murray's comments.

They're going to be bad again next year..... really bad.  There could very well be improvement and they'll still be "competing" for last place. They won't outright call it a "tank", but the strategy of drafting very high in 2015 remains firmly in place.

Edited by 26CornerBlitz, 16 April 2014 - 10:15 AM.


#6 d4rksabre

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:15 AM

View Post26CornerBlitz, on 16 April 2014 - 10:13 AM, said:

They're going to be bad again next year..... really bad.  There could very well be improvement and they'll still be "competing" for last place. They won't outright call it a "tank", but the strategy remains firmly in place.

It's not a tank then. It simply cannot be defined that way.

#7 Eleven

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:16 AM

View Postd4rksabre, on 16 April 2014 - 10:10 AM, said:

Talk to everyone in the other threads bracing themselves for another tank. It's a popular interpretation of Murray's comments.

It is popular.  It is also strained.

#8 26CornerBlitz

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:17 AM

View Postd4rksabre, on 16 April 2014 - 10:15 AM, said:

It's not a tank then. It simply cannot be defined that way.

Semantics aside, there's a strategy that has been articulated that they are committed to seeing through.

#9 Glass Case Of Emotion

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:19 AM

"Tanking" is a fan fabrication to cope with the losing resulting from sale of current assets in favor of futures. We sold Vanek, Miller, Ott, etc and it resulting in 6+ additional top 60 picks over the next 2 drafts. This is twice as many top 60 picks as we had from 2009-2011. That is why we suck. That is why we wait.

#10 WildCard

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:19 AM

View Postd4rksabre, on 16 April 2014 - 10:15 AM, said:

It's not a tank then. It simply cannot be defined that way.
So what should we call it?

View Post26CornerBlitz, on 16 April 2014 - 10:17 AM, said:

Semantics aside, there's a strategy that has been articulated that they are committed to seeing through.

View PostGlass Case Of Emotion, on 16 April 2014 - 10:19 AM, said:

"Tanking" is a fan fabrication to cope with the losing resulting from sale of current assets in favor of futures. We sold Vanek, Miller, Ott, etc and it resulting in 6+ additional top 60 picks over the next 2 drafts. This is twice as many top 60 picks as we had from 2009-2011. That is why we suck. That is why we wait.
Exactly

#11 d4rksabre

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:23 AM

View Post26CornerBlitz, on 16 April 2014 - 10:17 AM, said:

Semantics aside, there's a strategy that has been articulated that they are committed to seeing through.

Now there is. There wasn't before. This season started as a tank and was forced to continue as one. The only difference being we're coming out of it with a real plan.

No one can convince me that Darcy would have gone this far.

#12 Campy

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:24 AM

I wouldn't call tanking a fan fabrication at all.  It's setting your team up to fail with the goal of landing a draft pick.

Tanking may have been DR's plan, and it would look like GMTM continued it, but I don't think he did.  

I think GMTM looked at what was going on and sold off as many assets as he could with the intention of tearing it down to rebuild it.  In late June, I expect he'll trade some of those picks for quality guys that can improve the team in '14-'15.

As he said, he's not doing some long rebuild.

#13 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:27 AM

What looks like a tank, moves like a tank, and sounds like a tank?

VS.

The players won't play to lose, the coaches won't coach to lose, and the general manager won't call it a tank on the record.


The roster has been stripped of the veteran, talented players required to win games in the NHL.  A team that was already last place in the NHL traded its leading scorer (twice if you count Moulson), its captain,and its starting goalie among others.  So, roughly speaking, in order to become competitive again, you need to either see an unprecedented growth/influx of talent from our prospects OR the GM needs to bring in enough veteran talent by trades and free agency to make up for those lost players.  I'm not sure that the the pressure should or would be placed on the kids, so that might leave it to the GM.  But Tim's said he's only looking at two veteran free agents.  Which means even if he's successful in free agency, he would have to bring in a some amount of talent via trades...

...and that seems like a reversal of what he just accomplished.  The management is still touting the number of 1st and 2nds in these three years.  Murray may trade some of those into more NHL-ready prospects, but probably not ones that will make an immediate game-changing impact.

My point is that Tim Murray can claim that there's no intentional tank, and you can choose to believe or not believe him, but you'd better believe the residual tank ability of this team is extremely high.  We're gonna lose.  And with two extremely talented selections available next year, the prospect of finishing last to guarantee selecting one of them is not just something we should be cognizant of, it's something we should be striving for.  Even if we can't or shouldn't admit it.

#14 26CornerBlitz

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:28 AM

View PostCampy, on 16 April 2014 - 10:24 AM, said:

I wouldn't call tanking a fan fabrication at all.  It's setting your team up to fail with the goal of landing a draft pick.

Tanking may have been DR's plan, and it would look like GMTM continued it, but I don't think he did.  

I think GMTM looked at what was going on and sold off as many assets as he could with the intention of tearing it down to rebuild it.  In late June, I expect he'll trade some of those picks for quality guys that can improve the team in '14-'15.

As he said, he's not doing some long rebuild.

It won't be if they execute the plan properly by drafting the right players, proper development of the current prospect pool, and key acquisitions via trade/free agency.

#15 ALF

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:28 AM

If they buy out the best tank commander in the NHL , Leino , then the tank has ended

http://www.cbssports...-sabres-gm-says

#16 Tankalicious

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:36 AM

It won't be a tank, per se, but that isn't going to change anything. The team will be bad. They won't compete for anything. They'll try, and they'll likely fail.

For as much as I get insulted for stating absolutes, this entire thread is an absolute that nobody can really know for sure.

Edited by Tankalicious, 16 April 2014 - 10:36 AM.


#17 shrader

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:42 AM

Can we change the name of this thread to "The official thread of semantics"?  They're going to suck but they're not going to try to suck.  What exactly is the point?  Does the "but hey, these guys are trying" point of view really  make a bad season that much more palatable?

#18 d4rksabre

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:51 AM

View Postshrader, on 16 April 2014 - 10:42 AM, said:

Can we change the name of this thread to "The official thread of semantics"?  They're going to suck but they're not going to try to suck.  What exactly is the point?  Does the "but hey, these guys are trying" point of view really  make a bad season that much more palatable?

I suppose I should have titled it "The setup is done, now we execute the plan", because apparently the concept of this season being both a tank and a setup that leads to a season where there is no tank, is way too complex.

#19 LGR4GM

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:56 AM

View Postd4rksabre, on 16 April 2014 - 10:51 AM, said:

I suppose I should have titled it "The setup is done, now we execute the plan", because apparently the concept of this season being both a tank and a setup that leads to a season where there is no tank, is way too complex.
Most people can't think that many steps.

#20 shrader

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:57 AM

View Postd4rksabre, on 16 April 2014 - 10:51 AM, said:

I suppose I should have titled it "The setup is done, now we execute the plan", because apparently the concept of this season being both a tank and a setup that leads to a season where there is no tank, is way too complex.

The two are in definitely not mutually exclusive.  But at the same time, weren't we already at that point this year, giving a guy like Girgensons significant playing time, and to a lesser extent Ristolainen?  There was never a point where they were throwing away the season and also ignoring the development of their younger guys.  No team would ever do that.  They may go about it in a poorly planned way, but they're not trying to screw over their young guys.

At this point, I'd say the word tank has been used far too often, just like a teenage girl and the word "like".  What does it even mean anymore?

#21 d4rksabre

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:02 AM

View Postshrader, on 16 April 2014 - 10:57 AM, said:

The two are in definitely not mutually exclusive.  But at the same time, weren't we already at that point this year, giving a guy like Girgensons significant playing time, and to a lesser extent Ristolainen?  There was never a point where they were throwing away the season and also ignoring the development of their younger guys.  No team would ever do that.  They may go about it in a poorly planned way, but they're not trying to screw over their young guys.

At this point, I'd say the word tank has been used far too often, just like a teenage girl and the word "like".  What does it even mean anymore?

A lot of people here are using tanking as a process. It's not. It's a hard reset. It's what you do when you've completely messed up building a team. Darcy started the tank and Murray had no choice but to finish it. Point of no return. It's the abandonment of one plan and the setup to another. But it alone is not a plan.

#22 LGR4GM

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:07 AM

Tank(ing) - The selling off of all valuable assets over a short period of time with the intention of receiving new talent via the draft.

Rebuild - The selling off of many valuable assets over a short period of time with the intention of receiving new talent via the draft and trades and free agency.

Retool - The selling off of certain assets for immediate NHL ready players in order to quickly change the identity of a team. Draft picks may be included.

#23 26CornerBlitz

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:12 AM

04/16 – Murray wants higher expectations for Sabres, quick rebuild (Bill Hoppe – Olean Times Herald)

#24 Tankalicious

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:15 AM

Does this mean I have to change my name/avatar?

#25 LGR4GM

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:16 AM

View Post26CornerBlitz, on 16 April 2014 - 11:09 AM, said:

04/16 – Murray wants higher expectations for Sabres, quick rebuild (Bill Hoppe – Olean Times Herald)

View Post26CornerBlitz, on 16 April 2014 - 11:12 AM, said:

04/16 – Murray wants higher expectations for Sabres, quick rebuild (Bill Hoppe – Olean Times Herald)
I like when you post this stuff because I miss things sometimes but please not the same link in multiple threads.

#26 weave

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:20 AM

View Postd4rksabre, on 16 April 2014 - 10:51 AM, said:

I suppose I should have titled it "The setup is done, now we execute the plan", because apparently the concept of this season being both a tank and a setup that leads to a season where there is no tank, is way too complex.

I'll reserve judgement on whether next season is a tank season for when player movement is made.  As far as I am concerned whether or not we are tanking comes down to simply, are we making moves to elevate our draft position or are we making moves to better the on ice product for that season. IMO this season was all about getting as high on the draft board as we could.  That's a tank.  If next season appears that the focus is on team development and not draft position I think we will be able to put the tank meme away.

#27 shrader

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:28 AM

View Postweave, on 16 April 2014 - 11:20 AM, said:

I'll reserve judgement on whether next season is a tank season for when player movement is made.  As far as I am concerned whether or not we are tanking comes down to simply, are we making moves to elevate our draft position or are we making moves to better the on ice product for that season. IMO this season was all about getting as high on the draft board as we could.  That's a tank.  If next season appears that the focus is on team development and not draft position I think we will be able to put the tank meme away.

I'll believe it when I see it.  That really is the most reasonable stance at this point.  Even with the best intentions, the whole thing could still go horribly wrong.  Even if Murray has every intention of trading off certain pieces for what he thinks improves this team right now, the other team still has to sign off on that deal as well.  We've got a long way to go before we see what the plan is and we may not even get the chance to see it.

And if anyone wants to give him credit now based off of his words alone, I give you one sentence:
"We'll give you the tools to finish the job."
Judge them on their actions, not on their words.

Edited by shrader, 16 April 2014 - 11:30 AM.


#28 26CornerBlitz

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:30 AM

View PostLGR4GM, on 16 April 2014 - 11:16 AM, said:

I like when you post this stuff because I miss things sometimes but please not the same link in multiple threads.

Not everyone reads all threads and it's applicable to both discussions.  Should I even consider your advice given your redundant thread start from yesterday?  Please take your own advice before trying to lecture me. ;)

#29 inkman

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:35 AM

View PostWildCard, on 16 April 2014 - 10:19 AM, said:

So what should we call it?
Zamboni apocalypse

#30 apuszczalowski

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:35 AM

Basically, they aren't going into the offseason and next season with the goal being they want McDavid.

TM has said there will be turnover of the roster, and they will be active in FA and in Trades (word is that pretty much every player has a for sale sign hung on them)
Will they be a cup contender next year? No
Will they be a solid playoff team next year? No
Will they be a team fighting for a shot at one of the wild card spots in the playoffs? Maybe but most likely not
Will they be a better team and not at the bottom of the league again? Yes

I have no doubt that TM will be very busy this offseason, and many of their collected assetts will be used in deals to obtain guys that will make this team better. I don't expect them to be in the market for guys who can only provide immediate help, but they will be going after guys who are either about to break out.

Murray has already shown this by obtaining guys like Conacher, someone with experiance in the league now that can help and has potential to get better, and Neuvirth who he has said he thinks can be good.

Theres going to be a few surprise moves this offseason in trades of guys some might have thought wouldn't get moved (Ehrhoff? Grigorenko? Enroth?) but might be able to get them some decent young player who has potential to be better.

#31 d4rksabre

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:35 AM

View Postweave, on 16 April 2014 - 11:20 AM, said:

I'll reserve judgement on whether next season is a tank season for when player movement is made.  As far as I am concerned whether or not we are tanking comes down to simply, are we making moves to elevate our draft position or are we making moves to better the on ice product for that season. IMO this season was all about getting as high on the draft board as we could.  That's a tank.  If next season appears that the focus is on team development and not draft position I think we will be able to put the tank meme away.

I expect next season to be team development. All indicators from Tim are that this is his plan. He's going to keep players where he wants them and fill holes on the big club in the mean time, whether it be via trade or free agency or bringing some of the more "ready" kids up full time.

I just don't think he expects the team to be any better than it was this year and we shouldn't expect it to be either. But we certainly wont be selling off assets. We've done that already.

#32 HopefulFuture

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 11:35 AM

While I agree the tank won't be intentional, where does TM expect to get what he himself. Said we lacked.......talent.

Tank on.........

#33 Taro T

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:11 PM

View Postweave, on 16 April 2014 - 11:20 AM, said:

I'll reserve judgement on whether next season is a tank season for when player movement is made.  As far as I am concerned whether or not we are tanking comes down to simply, are we making moves to elevate our draft position or are we making moves to better the on ice product for that season. IMO this season was all about getting as high on the draft board as we could.  That's a tank.  If next season appears that the focus is on team development and not draft position I think we will be able to put the tank meme away.
This.

#34 Claude_Verret

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:18 PM

There's plenty of room for improvement and development and still be the worst team in the league.  Call it whatever the hell you want, but you can be sure that we will be among a handful  of teams in the McDavid / Eichel conversation at this time next year.

#35 Campy

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:23 PM

View Postshrader, on 16 April 2014 - 10:42 AM, said:

Can we change the name of this thread to "The official thread of semantics"?  They're going to suck but they're not going to try to suck.  What exactly is the point?  Does the "but hey, these guys are trying" point of view really  make a bad season that much more palatable?

Yes.

#36 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:24 PM

View Postapuszczalowski, on 16 April 2014 - 11:35 AM, said:

TM has said there will be turnover of the roster, and they will be active in FA and in Trades (word is that pretty much every player has a for sale sign hung on them)
Will they be a cup contender next year? No
Will they be a solid playoff team next year? No
Will they be a team fighting for a shot at one of the wild card spots in the playoffs? Maybe but most likely not
Will they be a better team and not at the bottom of the league again? Yes

I think to even consider playoffs is borderline lunacy.  So, I agree with "most likely not."

The lowest wild card spot this year recorded 39 more points than us this season, equating to 20 more wins (95% more wins).  The lowest goals for by a wildcard spot was 50 more goals (31% more) but that team allowed 42 fewer goals than us (17% fewer).  If we allowed the same number of goals again, we'd need something like 82 more goals (52%more) to make a wildcard spot.  So if we don't improve or defensively or in net, we'd need to add at least three 25 goal scorers in the off season.

Should the GM take steps to ensure the development of the kids? YES.
Should the GM get the roster in a place where we can support the kids when they're ready to play in the NHL?  YES.
Should the GM get the roster in a place where the team fails to make the playoffs next year? Doesn't matter, it's pretty much inevitable next year.
Should the GM get the roster in a place where the draft assets we sacrificed for are weakened by not finishing bottom-five?  HELL NAW.

Edited by IKnowPhysics, 16 April 2014 - 12:25 PM.


#37 nfreeman

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:27 PM

View Postweave, on 16 April 2014 - 11:20 AM, said:

I'll reserve judgement on whether next season is a tank season for when player movement is made.  As far as I am concerned whether or not we are tanking comes down to simply, are we making moves to elevate our draft position or are we making moves to better the on ice product for that season. IMO this season was all about getting as high on the draft board as we could.  That's a tank.  If next season appears that the focus is on team development and not draft position I think we will be able to put the tank meme away.

This is a good way of looking at things, but still:  there are plenty of moves that could be made that would improve the team right away but wouldn't, if not made, constitute tanking.

For example:  Vancouver offers the Sabres Kesler for their #1 pick this year (or in 2015), or for Girgensons plus a #2.  That trade would clearly improve the on-ice product right away, but wouldn't really do much good and would be a bad move for the franchise in the long term.  Yet if the Sabres declined the trade, that wouldn't be a "tanking" decision -- just a good hockey decision.

View Post26CornerBlitz, on 16 April 2014 - 11:30 AM, said:

Not everyone reads all threads and it's applicable to both discussions.  Should I even consider your advice given your redundant thread start from yesterday?  Please take your own advice before trying to lecture me. ;)

Yet another reason not to start a redundant thread -- it opens you up to irrefutable attacks like this one.

A mortal wound, to be sure.

#38 dudacek

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:37 PM

View Postd4rksabre, on 16 April 2014 - 11:35 AM, said:

I expect next season to be team development.

Exactly. Those young players that can play in the NHL will, in an environment and roles where they can succeed. Those young players that aren't ready yet, won't be rushed. A coaching staff and a handful of veterans will be put in place in Buffalo and Rochester help make development happen. Tim will continue to make trades to acquire players he likes more than the ones he has. The talent level in the NHL will increase and the competitive edge will increase. We will score more and allow more. We will be in more games with our share of embarrassing disasters sprinkled in along the way. We may improve 10 or 15 points in the standings.
And all that will almost certainly add up to another top five pick. Call it what you want.

View PostClaude_Verret, on 16 April 2014 - 12:18 PM, said:

There's plenty of room for improvement and development and still be the worst team in the league.  Call it whatever the hell you want, but you can be sure that we will be among a handful  of teams in the McDavid / Eichel conversation at this time next year.

Or, more succinctly, this.

#39 apuszczalowski

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:47 PM

View PostHopefulFuture, on 16 April 2014 - 11:35 AM, said:

While I agree the tank won't be intentional, where does TM expect to get what he himself. Said we lacked.......talent.

Tank on.........
Too many people have been ruined by the lowered expectations of having an imbecile GM for too long

A GOOD GM can acquire talent through many methods like trades, FA and the draft. This idea that you need to have a Crosby talent to be a winner is not true, the pens have him, a #2 overall pick in malkin, a #1 overall pick in net, plus others and yet they have only been able to win 1 cup since the lockout. The Bruins don't have a one fo these types of players and they have a cup and are favorites to win this year.

#40 X. Benedict

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:51 PM

GMTM plans on being in the draft lottery next year.
Count on it.