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2014 Unrestricted Free Agency - Sabres Strategy


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Poll: 2014 Unrestricted Free Agency - Sabres Strategy

When considering quality and quantity of UFAs to pursue, the Sabres should:

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When considering what to do with rising prospects and their potential to fill in roster gaps, the Sabres should:

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#1 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 03:26 PM

July 1 is about six weeks away.

Here's the ever-changing list of UFAs: http://www.capgeek.com/ufa-finder/

Here's our roster as-is: http://www.capgeek.com/sabres/

What's the best way for the Sabres to proceed?
Go after big UFAs or build for the future or tank the ever loving ###### out of this season?  Bring up the kids who can play or let them work in the AHL for a while whilst bringing in UFAs to fill the open spots?

We don't have to immediately start a tire fire about whether or not the Sabres can attract quality UFAs; this is more of a discussion about whether they should try to this year.  A poll's included to get the conversation started.

#2 LaLaLaFontaine

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 03:43 PM

I like to sign Ott and / or Callahan.

I would like to have characters on the team which can show our rookies how to play with heart and soul.

Yes we won't be lowest seed, but we have to invest in this, to form our rookies.

#3 TrueBluePhD

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 03:46 PM

View PostLaLaLaFontaine, on 23 May 2014 - 03:43 PM, said:

I like to sign Ott and / or Callahan.

I would like to have characters on the team which can show our rookies how to play with heart and soul.

Yes we won't be lowest seed, but we have to invest in this, to form our rookies.

This team could easily add Ott and Callahan and still be the worst in the league. That said, I'm on board for one last epic tank. Sign some filler UFAs to get to the floor, maybe a 3rd line center who can play defense, and let the good times roll.

#4 3putt

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 09:44 PM

This is not a provocation but rather a sincere inquiry.  Wtf is this obsession with a journeyman like Ott?  We have 10 picks in the first two rounds over the next two tears.  That kind of talent won't learn anything from Ott or Callahan for that matter.  Hossa? Jagr? Iginla? Perhaps.  But Ott is a fourth line player on his best day.  Is he likeable, sure.  But I want to shoot higher than modeling a team around grinders like Ott.

#5 Glass Case Of Emotion

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 09:55 PM

My take:

FAs: If there is a unique talent 30 or under that is not typically available in FA who is willing to entertain offers, you go after them. I'm talking the 1 in 100 FA types who are not available every year. But they must not be 31 years old on July 1. Beyond them, don't sign anything that you could get next summer.

Rooks: I don't buy into the "pushed too hard too early so they failed" bit. Get them all up in the big leagues. If they fall apart, better to know what you have.

#6 HopefulFuture

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 10:03 PM

Battle Stations!
Man the .50 Cal, close up the hatches, load the AP rounds and roll this tank into battle.
Keep the school full for now, don't let the greenhorns into the battle until the ranks are completely filled out for our counter-offensive!

TANK ON!

#7 Naulter8

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 10:56 PM

Maybe sign a veteran player or two.  He doesn't need to be very skilled, necessarily,  but a guy with a locker room presence.  Someone to teach them work ethic and show them the ropes,  pick them up when they are down from mistakes and such.  Yes,  we we still finish last but make as good as an environment as you can considering we will be finishing last.

As far as the making space for youngsters goes,  any player whom the coaches think is ready for the Nhl,  bring Em I'm.  As long as they're actually ready and we don't burn off the first couple years of their ETC when they're in the nhl

Edited by Naulter8, 23 May 2014 - 10:59 PM.


#8 Tankalicious

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 11:12 PM

View Post3putt, on 23 May 2014 - 09:44 PM, said:

This is not a provocation but rather a sincere inquiry.  Wtf is this obsession with a journeyman like Ott?  We have 10 picks in the first two rounds over the next two tears.  That kind of talent won't learn anything from Ott or Callahan for that matter.  Hossa? Jagr? Iginla? Perhaps.  But Ott is a fourth line player on his best day.  Is he likeable, sure.  But I want to shoot higher than modeling a team around grinders like Ott.

Agreed. I think people just fell in love with his personality. He's nothing to get excited about. He's hardly more impactful than a Derek Roy.

#9 dudacek

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 11:12 PM

I'm on board the Ott/Callahan/Orpik train because we are bad enough that it won't derail the tank.
The can be dished off at the deadline if they threaten to do that.

I do not want to be as bad as last year, it was tough to watch.
And it's important to establish with the kids that there's a right way of doing things.

We can improve 10 or 15 points and still be in prime contention for Eichel/McDavid.

Edited by dudacek, 23 May 2014 - 11:17 PM.


#10 Tankalicious

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 11:15 PM

I like a guy like Milan Michalek, but other than that I wouldn't be spending too much or bring on too much mediocre veteran talent to patch holes.

#11 d4rksabre

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 11:27 PM

View Post3putt, on 23 May 2014 - 09:44 PM, said:

This is not a provocation but rather a sincere inquiry.  Wtf is this obsession with a journeyman like Ott?  We have 10 picks in the first two rounds over the next two tears.  That kind of talent won't learn anything from Ott or Callahan for that matter.  Hossa? Jagr? Iginla? Perhaps.  But Ott is a fourth line player on his best day.  Is he likeable, sure.  But I want to shoot higher than modeling a team around grinders like Ott.

How about this? Do you want third line NHL talent or first line talent from various other professional leagues/national teams? Which would be more valuable to young players?

#12 DeLuca1967

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 07:13 AM

It has been said by others in previous off-seasons that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quality and value in free agency. This years free agent crop is a great example of this opinion. Looking through the UFA listing on Cap Geek there just hasn't been many players that I actually stopped at and gave a second thought. Paul Statsny? Not at $6+ mil a year. Benoit Pouliot could be a possibility, he's had a good playoffs which may price him out of the Sabres reach. Devin Setoguchi, again depending on the price.

Edited by deluca67, 24 May 2014 - 07:13 AM.


#13 PASabreFan

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 08:31 AM

The interesting thing about this question is whether TM might have a different take on rebuilding than the folks who hired him (and, yes, I use folks in the same way W. used it to describe the terrorists on 9/11). TM has said something like he wants to build the right way, but it doesn't have to take years. Maybe he wants to cash in some of the precious picks in the short term for NHL talent. What would the Pittsburgh contingent say about that? Murray will have to remember the advice given to him by some other GMs when he took the job — that you have to listen to your owner.

#14 Kristian

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 08:34 AM

View Postdeluca67, on 24 May 2014 - 07:13 AM, said:

It has been said by others in previous off-seasons that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quality and value in free agency. This years free agent crop is a great example of this opinion. Looking through the UFA listing on Cap Geek there just hasn't been many players that I actually stopped at and gave a second thought. Paul Statsny? Not at $6+ mil a year. Benoit Pouliot could be a possibility, he's had a good playoffs which may price him out of the Sabres reach. Devin Setoguchi, again depending on the price.

Pretty much thought the same way.

Not a very interesting UFA year.

Edited by Kristian, 24 May 2014 - 08:35 AM.


#15 TrueBluePhD

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 08:46 AM

View Postdeluca67, on 24 May 2014 - 07:13 AM, said:

It has been said by others in previous off-seasons that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quality and value in free agency. This years free agent crop is a great example of this opinion. Looking through the UFA listing on Cap Geek there just hasn't been many players that I actually stopped at and gave a second thought. Paul Statsny? Not at $6+ mil a year. Benoit Pouliot could be a possibility, he's had a good playoffs which may price him out of the Sabres reach. Devin Setoguchi, again depending on the price.

I think Pouliot would be a terrific addition. I expect the Rangers will re-sign him, however.

#16 X. Benedict

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 09:08 AM

View Postdeluca67, on 24 May 2014 - 07:13 AM, said:

It has been said by others in previous off-seasons that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quality and value in free agency. This years free agent crop is a great example of this opinion. Looking through the UFA listing on Cap Geek there just hasn't been many players that I actually stopped at and gave a second thought. Paul Statsny? Not at $6+ mil a year. Benoit Pouliot could be a possibility, he's had a good playoffs which may price him out of the Sabres reach. Devin Setoguchi, again depending on the price.

I like Stasny at 6 million. It's not like Buffalo has a cap problem. If he comes on at 5, 6, or 7 million it doesn't much matter. Center is a position to overpay for.

Make that move and Nolan can make some lines. The lines he has to throw out there now  are a joke. Everyone is playing a line/ or a league above their level.

#17 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 09:11 AM

I don't think the Sabres will be very active in FA this off-season.  

Nor, do I think they should be.

IMO, it is to early to spend in FA, which I view as a tool to be used once the building blocks are in place.  A way to add bits and pieces once we start to see the young players develop.

At best I see them adding some role-players (3rd line types) and we have plenty of those on the roster already.

#18 inkman

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 09:52 AM

Any free agent worth a damn won't want anything to do with the Sabres next season.

#19 bunomatic

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 10:27 AM

View Postinkman, on 24 May 2014 - 09:52 AM, said:

Any free agent worth a damn won't want anything to do with the Sabres next season.

Agreed. The thought of overpaying to get them here bugs the shite out of me. Watching Leino produce and contribute the last few years was like a chinese water torture. Thats not to say that anyone we sign would mirror Leino but there's a time to go after quality free agents. I think they'll go after 2nd tier types to fill holes.

#20 d4rksabre

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 10:29 AM

I still want to sign the Latvian team.

#21 thewookie1

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 12:38 PM

Get Ott and Callahan for forward leadership. Bring back Tallinder, and get Orpik to a 1 year deal at 6 mil to help reach the floor. Then if he wishes to play for a playoff team we can always take 50% of his contract and trade him before resigning him.

The only player I'd sign who would likely effect the tank a bit would be Matt Moulson, who alone I don't think will win us to many more games but would give our young forwards someone to work with who's a consistent competitor.

I'd be open to shopping Ehrhoff if we can get a ransom for him since he appears unhappy to be here.



#22 SabresBillsFan

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 01:14 PM

View Postthewookie1, on 24 May 2014 - 12:38 PM, said:

Get Ott and Callahan for forward leadership. Bring back Tallinder, and get Orpik to a 1 year deal at 6 mil to help reach the floor. Then if he wishes to play for a playoff team we can always take 50% of his contract and trade him before resigning him.

The only player I'd sign who would likely effect the tank a bit would be Matt Moulson, who alone I don't think will win us to many more games but would give our young forwards someone to work with who's a consistent competitor.

I'd be open to shopping Ehrhoff if we can get a ransom for him since he appears unhappy to be here.

I don't think Orpik is going to a last place team. If you want to pay Callahan over 5 million a season which I don't think he's worth considering all the injuries he has already had. I could see bring back Ott for a leadership role but I see guys getting signed for cheap. Why try to improve that much when this is the key draft year.

View Postinkman, on 24 May 2014 - 09:52 AM, said:

Any free agent worth a damn won't want anything to do with the Sabres next season.

I agree that's why I hope Murray stands pat this year. After the 2015 draft then we can sign some key free agents.

#23 Heimdall

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 01:19 PM

Oh I'd love for them to sign Callahan , Ott and moulson.    The later two loved their time in buffalo and are already rumoured to want to come back.

But all 3 also know Buffalo will overpay for them to reach cap floor alone.    That being said i'd love to see what hodgson does on a line centering moulson and callahan.

With these 3 we'll loose less but don't think we'll get out of the two last spots.  but I consider them to lay the foundation of a great 2015-2016 season.
Where our two  2015 top picks will make an immediate impact on the roster and we also sign Patrick Kane and nick foligno.  :D

If that happens im going on a week of partying and boozing :D

#24 K-9

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 04:29 PM

View Post3putt, on 23 May 2014 - 09:44 PM, said:

This is not a provocation but rather a sincere inquiry.  Wtf is this obsession with a journeyman like Ott?  We have 10 picks in the first two rounds over the next two tears.  That kind of talent won't learn anything from Ott or Callahan for that matter.  Hossa? Jagr? Iginla? Perhaps.  But Ott is a fourth line player on his best day.  Is he likeable, sure.  But I want to shoot higher than modeling a team around grinders like Ott.

It's not a question of what Ott can teach them from a talent perspective.

But he can teach and preach volumes on "hockey character" and what it means to be a pro on and off the ice. This facet of veteran leadership on a young team cannot be overstated.

GO BILLS!!!

#25 inkman

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 04:48 PM

I know we've addressed it time and time again but apparently not everyone has been inundated with the subject like the rest of us.  The Sabres will not need to sign any big $$$ UFA to reach the cap floor.  They are currently $14 mill under the cap with a multitude of RFA's to sign.  Those contracts will easily amount to $10-12 mill, leaving only 2-4 million to reach the floor.  It's not going to be an issue.

#26 nfreeman

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 05:01 PM

View PostX. Benedict, on 24 May 2014 - 09:08 AM, said:

I like Stasny at 6 million. It's not like Buffalo has a cap problem. If he comes on at 5, 6, or 7 million it doesn't much matter. Center is a position to overpay for.

Make that move and Nolan can make some lines. The lines he has to throw out there now  are a joke. Everyone is playing a line/ or a league above their level.

Me too.

Stastny is 28, talented, experienced and a good playoff performer.

In a thin UFA crop and with the cap rising, he'll probably get a $45MM contract from someone.  If I'm a GM with $$ to spend, I'd rather give it to Stastny than to Vanek.

#27 thewookie1

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 07:31 PM



View PostSabresBillsFan, on 24 May 2014 - 01:14 PM, said:



I don't think Orpik is going to a last place team. If you want to pay Callahan over 5 million a season which I don't think he's worth considering all the injuries he has already had. I could see bring back Ott for a leadership role but I see guys getting signed for cheap. Why try to improve that much when this is the key draft year.



I agree that's why I hope Murray stands pat this year. After the 2015 draft then we can sign some key free agents.


Orpik would come here to play at home, that would be his reasoning.

Callahan, even if overpriced, will be useful for the locker room


I'd be ok with standing pat if it weren't for our need to bring on salary, the need in getting rid of Leino, and the UFA period isn't what it used to be. We'll need at least a couple years worth of UFAs and I'd rather start sooner than later.

#28 Kristian

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 04:15 AM

View Postthewookie1, on 24 May 2014 - 07:31 PM, said:

Orpik would come here to play at home, that would be his reasoning.

Callahan, even if overpriced, will be useful for the locker room


I'd be ok with standing pat if it weren't for our need to bring on salary, the need in getting rid of Leino, and the UFA period isn't what it used to be. We'll need at least a couple years worth of UFAs and I'd rather start sooner than later.

Salary floor or no salary floor - Ville Leino CANNOT be a Sabre next year.

I'd prefer it if they traded for Tim Connolly and Derek Roy instead, and I'm not kidding.

#29 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 12:30 PM

View PostNaulter8, on 23 May 2014 - 10:56 PM, said:

As far as the making space for youngsters goes,  any player whom the coaches think is ready for the Nhl,  bring Em I'm.  As long as they're actually ready and we don't burn off the first couple years of their ETC when they're in the nhl

A reasonable plan, but there is one rub.  You might have to know who's ready now before training camp, before the UFA period starts, if you want to fill your roster gaps with players that are at least decent.  Otherwise, you get to camp, maybe decide you want more of the kids in Rochester, and then the only UFA players available are the plugs that didn't get signed in July.  That may work great for option B of question 1, but not much else.

This is a very strange time for the Sabres roster, it'll be interesting to see what GMTM does.

Edited by IKnowPhysics, 25 May 2014 - 12:30 PM.


#30 ubkev

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 04:54 PM

View PostKristian, on 25 May 2014 - 04:15 AM, said:



Salary floor or no salary floor - Ville Leino CANNOT be a Sabre next year.

I'd prefer it if they traded for Tim Connolly and Derek Roy instead, and I'm not kidding.

I love this idea!

#31 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 09:09 PM

I'm all for one more tank year. Another year of the prospects developing, and go into the next draft with those 3 first rounders.

I think they need to add a couple vets for the development, either this off-season or next. Ott and/or Callahan. Wouldn't mind Gionta, Penner, Morrow, or Moore.

#32 Bills12Sabres11

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 02:37 AM

I think they should try to sign Stastny and Ott or Callahan this year in FA and trade for a young nhl ready player or top six player someone is willing to move. With 3 top 20 picks in 2015 and most likely 2 being top 10s or better isn't it reasonable that along with the talent they have and free agency next year (Patrick Kane) they could build the type of squad needed to be capable of competing by next year. Rather than wait on a chance for the #1 or 2 pick, play it out. Let the players scrap and learn and decide what happens on the ice. If they finish low in the standings then the chances of picking a superstar in a deep draft increase. Plenty of good players are picked after the top 5 although I realize those 5 players each year are usually superstar types. The team as constructed could see as many as 12 new players in the lineup by next year, that should bring about some change in the results one would think.

#33 TheCerebral1

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 06:26 AM

It will be an interesting offseason.  I would think Buffalo would have to show some "flash" to get a guy like Stastny to leave Colorado (who claim they want to retain him, but don't need to really?).   He's the ideal guy to put on the top line while developing a center core.  At 6.6M, his regular cap hit recently something in the 7M is not unreasonable.  I love Dave Bolland though his questionable recent injury history bring up issues with him.  Setoguchi?  Not exactly someone appealing, but he might be able to come in cheap.

#34 inkman

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 10:20 AM

I'll drive my car into the foyer of the FN'C if any of these guys sign here.

#35 Tankalicious

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 01:35 PM

Stastny would be the only big free agent that I'd like to see here, but he'll get big money offers elsewhere that will allow him to continue to compete...

#36 Yuri Olesha

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 06:28 PM

Anti-props for no super-wank frenetically about McDavid and do little else option.  I think that could have been a contender.

Edited by Yuri Olesha, 26 May 2014 - 06:29 PM.


#37 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 11:12 AM

View PostYuri Olesha, on 26 May 2014 - 06:28 PM, said:

Anti-props for no super-wank frenetically about McDavid and do little else option.  I think that could have been a contender.

Effectively, that's what option three of the first question is.

Edited by IKnowPhysics, 27 May 2014 - 11:12 AM.


#38 Potato

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 11:32 AM

View PostTankalicious, on 26 May 2014 - 01:35 PM, said:

Stastny would be the only big free agent that I'd like to see here, but he'll get big money offers elsewhere that will allow him to continue to compete...

I'd like Stastny for sure since this roster is begging for another scoring center.  Callahan isn't a bad idea.  I'd be okay with Ott, but given the choice of the two would prefer Callahan since he is better defensively than Otter.  I still like Moulson, although I'm sure he has other destinations in mind at this point.  One name no one has mentioned who I think wouldn't be a terrible UFA addition is Lee Stempniak.  He is a local guy who can score a bit and wouldn't cost too much.

I wouldn't mind another reasonably priced veteran d-man to replace RFA McBain (McBain can go far, far away as far as I'm concerned).  With so many kids (Risto, Pysyk, McCabe, Zadarov), adding a steady older UFA d-man for them to learn from isn't a terrible idea.  On that note, the only UFA I'd resign is probably Hank as a veteran 7th defenseman (although might as well resign John Scott since he won't cost anything).

#39 Darryl Shannon's +/-

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:22 PM

Sign Matt Ellis' lunchpail to a decent one year contract to help reach the cap floor.  And Hank and John Scott.  The goal is to be really, really bad for one more year while putting players around the young kids who will either protect them from severe harm or show them how to play the game the right way.  Callahan would be a gigantic mistake.

When it's time to play for keeps, we can deal prospects/picks for the veteran help we need.  UFA is not the way to get better.

#40 3putt

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 10:10 PM

View PostK-9, on 24 May 2014 - 04:29 PM, said:

It's not a question of what Ott can teach them from a talent perspective.

But he can teach and preach volumes on "hockey character" and what it means to be a pro on and off the ice. This facet of veteran leadership on a young team cannot be overstated.

GO BILLS!!!
I get that but I would rather have Dave Bolland, if healthy.  Same type of player, maybe more post season success.