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2016-'17 Lineup


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#1 Taro T

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:24 PM

With the D whisperer Pysyk back in the lineup and Gorges injury more or less forcing DB to play Bogosian where everybody KNEW he couldn't play - left side of top pairing (Oh, small sample size, but maybe he CAN play there. Can we get a board mulligan on that one?) and the trade deadline approaching it got me to wondering how this roster is shaping up for next year.

On D, they've got McCabe, Pysyk, Bogosian, Gorges, & Franson signed through next year; Ristoleinen is an RFA but will definitely be back; and Weber & Colaiacovo are UFA's. Guhle could be given at least the 9 game tryout if he looks as good in camp as he did this year.

Though I've advocated for bringing in another LD D-man that can play on a top 2 pairing, having Bogosian playing effectively next to Ristolainen lowers that as a priority need. Next year, we could be looking at:

Bogosian - Ristolainen (2 righties)
McCabe - Pysyk
Gorges - Guhle (2 lefties)

with Weber brought back as the 7 & Franson as the other spare until Guhle gets sent back to junior. Could definitely see Colaiacovo, Franson, & Gorges available at this deadline. If they do get traded, that would mean bringing in other FA's to fill out up to 3 of slots 5-8.

At forward, am expecting the plan is to have O'Reilly as 1C, Eichel as 2C, and in the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mode Larsson as 3C. Kane as 1L, Girgensons as 2L, Reinhart as 1R or 2R depending on which C they want him playing with. I'd expect the captain to still be on the 3rd line (though if he loses a stride, he could be in Moulson-land). Deslauriers is a lock for 4th line. (Larsson, Girgensons, Foligno, & Deslauriers are all RFA's this off-season. I'd expect all back next year.)

Assuming Fasching gets signed (& I expect that this season), they've got Ennis, Fasching, & possibly McGinn (if he's re-signed) battling for the 1/2R spot that Reinhart doesn't end up in. Bailey or Baptiste might also challenge but probably aren't ready. (Same goes for Carrier on the left side.)

Legwand is an UFA so he probably won't be back next year - Schaller has shown he can be adequate in the 4C role. Leaving Moulson, Varone, & a few of the other kids to battle for the 12F role.

If not for stretching Moulson's cap hit out for 6 more years, I'd expect him bought out but that's too long into real money for the #2 picks needing new contracts for me to believe ge gets bought out.

I'd fully expect Ennis to be traded if he's healthy, as will very likely be Legwand. McGinn could have a future here, but I expect him traded & either brought back like Moulson or not if Fasching looks good I this season's audition.

So forwards would look something like this:

Kane - O'Reilly - Reinhart
Girgensons - Eichel - McGinn/ Fasching
Foligno - Larsson - Gionta
Carrier/Varone - Schaller - Deslauriers

Spare Moulson

In net, I'd like to see them keep Johnson as the backup; but I expect he's traded this year and the Sabres double down on Swedes next year.

Lehner
Ullmark

If they do bring McGinn back, that 12F spot would be either his or Fasching's (whoever loses the battle for top 6 duty).

That to me, looks like a sneak into the playoffs lineup provided the goaltending isn't hot garbage. And w/ Ennis, McGinn, Legwand, Johnson, Franson, Gorges, Weber, Colaiacovo, Moulson, & probably others from the farm that they aren't high on but other GM's may still be; there is enough there to be able to at minimum bring in 2-3 prospects that are 1-2 years away. (Yes, Moulson & some others won't bring anything back, but there are others that will.)

So, what do people see as the major holes in that lineup & what should they target for improvement? Drouin is intriguing in the top 6. Might TM go off the board & bring Legwand back 1 more year for his work on the pk? (#2 pker behind O'Reilly)

Looked at from what IMHO they have pencilled in for next year, which of those guys become expendable if the right player is available?

For me, the 4 core are "untradeable" but Kane, Bogosian, Pysyk, & McCabe are close to that status. Girgensons, Larsson, and Deslauriers all fit (or should) very nicely in their roles so I don't want them to go either.

#2 We've

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:38 PM

Forwards pretty much same as this season?  DeLuca .500 might be too high a goal to set.



#3 CallawaySabres

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:45 PM

They will be getting a top 6 F in FA, no doubt about it. I also expect to see Ennis and McGinn traded for picks at the deadline with those picks being turned into another top 6 via trade.



#4 Taro T

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:49 PM

Forwards pretty much same as this season?  DeLuca .500 might be too high a goal to set.


Reinhart & Eichel will be upgrades next year over this season's version. No "sophomore slump" for either.

Fasching might be coming in as well. That would be 3 "new" players out of top 6, though Fasching would probably be a downgrade as he learns the NHL game. I'd be good w/ McGinn back & as I'd mentioned, Drouin would be intriguing.

I truly believe this team will improve a few games simply by being 1 year closer to their prime.

What upgrades do you want over the baseline?

They will be getting a top 6 F in FA, no doubt about it. I also expect to see Ennis and McGinn traded for picks at the deadline with those picks being turned into another top 6 via trade.


What top 6 guys will be available? (Besides the B&W elephant in the room.)

#5 WildCard

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:53 PM

They will be getting a top 6 F in FA, no doubt about it. I also expect to see Ennis and McGinn traded for picks at the deadline with those picks being turned into another top 6 via trade.

This, entirely. Ennis and McGinn aren't just being traded for picks alone. Murray has stated he wants a short rebuild, and his acquisitions of Kane, ROR, and Lehner have shown this. We'll be getting a top 6 winger next year, and likely a top 4 lhd.


Reinhart & Eichel will be upgrades next year over this season's version. No "sophomore slump" for either.

Fasching might be coming in as well. That would be 3 "new" players out of top 6, though Fasching would probably be a downgrade as he learns the NHL game. I'd be good w/ McGinn back & as I'd mentioned, Drouin would be intriguing.

I truly believe this team will improve a few games simply by being 1 year closer to their prime.

What upgrades do you want over the baseline?

What top 6 guys will be available? (Besides the B&W elephant in the room.)

The continued progression of the 4 rookies and Risto are key for next season. 2/5 of them hitting major slumps could ruin our season

 

Top 6 guys are available every season. Off the top of my head, we have: Stamkos, Okposo, Staal and Laad as UFA's. But, as we've seen with Murray, he much prefers trades to the FA market; in fact I believe he said so during an interview last offseason 



#6 Huckleberry

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:55 PM

Is fasching going to be ready for the NHL next year ?  Don't follow him much but that is pretty hard to believe.



#7 We've

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:56 PM


What upgrades do you want over the baseline?
 

 

A legit right now #1 RW, an upgrade over Mouslon, and an upgrade over Franson.  



#8 Taro T

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 01:02 PM

A legit right now #1 RW, an upgrade over Mouslon, and an upgrade over Franson.


An upgrade over Moulson isn't difficult & is expected though I expect him still on the roster at least through next year as the spare or a veteran presence for Ra-cha-cha. An upgrade to Franson should also be doable.

Would be great if the parts they have currently could get turned into the true #1R. Reinhart w/ some more mass could be that.

#9 pi2000

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 01:05 PM

They need speed on the back-end, so I'm gonna say.....

 

Risto - Barrie (pending RFA on team with financial issues)

McCabe - Pysk

Bogo - ???? 

 

Gorges, Franson, and Weber should be gone... if any of them are still around next season I'll be mildly annoyed, but not surprised. 



#10 Sakman

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 01:08 PM

Foligno on the 3rd line is a weak point. He can move up there occasionally due to injury but on a contender type team he's a 4th liner. Love his attitude and size but he has no hands and is a marginal skater.

I agree with other posters need to bring in a 2nd line winger in Free Agency, bump McGinn/Fasching to 3rd line (I expect Fasching needs some time in Rochester anyway) bump Foligno to 4th line. 

 

Can they still bury contracts in the AHL? I agree they probably don't want Moulson's cap hit absorbing cap when they need to resign Sam and Jack but can he be an expensive 1st line LW for the Amerks? This is what happened to Wade Redden I believe. Having a deep pockets owner would enable this. (Not that I have written off Moulson coming back somehow but he seems just ....gone). 



#11 Taro T

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 01:13 PM

Foligno on the 3rd line is a weak point. He can move up there occasionally due to injury but on a contender type team he's a 4th liner. Love his attitude and size but he has no hands and is a marginal skater.
I agree with other posters need to bring in a 2nd line winger in Free Agency, bump McGinn/Fasching to 3rd line (I expect Fasching needs some time in Rochester anyway) bump Foligno to 4th line. 
 
Can they still bury contracts in the AHL? I agree they probably don't want Moulson's cap hit absorbing cap when they need to resign Sam and Jack but can he be an expensive 1st line LW for the Amerks? This is what happened to Wade Redden I believe. Having a deep pockets owner would enable this. (Not that I have written off Moulson coming back somehow but he seems just ....gone).


If he doesn't have a NMC, he could be sent down, but most of the contract would still count against the cap. Which isn't an issue the next 2 years.

#12 WildCard

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 01:22 PM

Foligno on the 3rd line is a weak point. He can move up there occasionally due to injury but on a contender type team he's a 4th liner. Love his attitude and size but he has no hands and is a marginal skater.

I agree with other posters need to bring in a 2nd line winger in Free Agency, bump McGinn/Fasching to 3rd line (I expect Fasching needs some time in Rochester anyway) bump Foligno to 4th line. 

 

Can they still bury contracts in the AHL? I agree they probably don't want Moulson's cap hit absorbing cap when they need to resign Sam and Jack but can he be an expensive 1st line LW for the Amerks? This is what happened to Wade Redden I believe. Having a deep pockets owner would enable this. (Not that I have written off Moulson coming back somehow but he seems just ....gone). 

Spot on on Foligno and McGinn/Fasching.

 

Am I the only one twho hasn't given up on Moulson yet?


Edited by WildCard, 19 January 2016 - 01:22 PM.


#13 pi2000

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 01:22 PM

If he doesn't have a NMC, he could be sent down, but most of the contract would still count against the cap. Which isn't an issue the next 2 years.

 

he has a NTC....  

 

buying him out would save $2mil against the cap (for 2 seasons), but he wouldn't completely come off the books until the 2022-23 season.

 

http://www.generalfa...ay=15&year=2016



#14 Sakman

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 01:26 PM

Maybe this is for a different discussion, but just found this on TSN:
 
SCORING LEADERS, PENDING UFA FORWARDS
 

PLAYER TEAM POS GP G A PTS

Loui Eriksson Boston LW 44 15 22 37

Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay C 45 20 15 35

Mikkel Boedker Arizona RW 45 12 21 33

Kyle Okposo N.Y. Islanders RW 43 11 22 33

Jaromir Jagr Florida RW 43 15 17 32

Lee Stempniak New Jersey RW 46 10 21 31

Frans Nielsen N.Y. Islanders C 45 14 14 28

Milan Lucic Los Angeles LW 44 11 17 28

Teddy Purcell Edmonton RW 47 10 18 28

Eric Staal Carolina C 47 9 19 28

Kris Versteeg Carolina RW 46 8 20 28

Andrew Ladd Winnipeg LW 46 10 17 27

David Backes St. Louis C 49 12 14 26

Shane Doan Arizona RW 36 16 8 24

P.A. Parenteau Toronto RW 43 11 11 22

Jiri Hudler Calgary RW 36 5 17 22

Radim Vrbata Vancouver RW 44 11 10 21

 

I'd love to see one of the Islander players or Boedker on the 2nd line (I'm assuming no Stamkos).

Sorry for the bad formatting.


Edited by Sakman, 19 January 2016 - 01:27 PM.


#15 WildCard

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 01:31 PM

Solid list/article Sakman, thanks for that. Purcell and Boedker are two guys I'd like to take a run at

 

 


Jack Eichel – Scored a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win at Arizona, giving him 15 points (5 G, 10 A) in the past 14 games. Since the beginning of December, Chicago’s Artemi Panarin is the only rookie scoring more than Eichel.

Sabres D Rasmus Ristolainen had a pair of assists in a 2-1 win at Arizona; he has five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past five game

Sabres G Chad Johnson stopped 26 of 27 shots during a 2-1 victory over Arizona. In his past nine games, he has a .942 save percentage

http://www.tsn.ca/st...oilers-1.425362

 

That list goes:

Panarin - 20 pts

Eichel - 17 pts

Fabbri/Larkin - 12 pts


Edited by WildCard, 19 January 2016 - 01:36 PM.


#16 Taro T

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 01:41 PM

he has a NTC....  
 
buying him out would save $2mil against the cap (for 2 seasons), but he wouldn't completely come off the books until the 2022-23 season.
 
http://www.generalfa...ay=15&year=2016

A player w/ a NTC can be sent to the minors.

And the reason I don't want him bought out is he'd be on the books for 4 years that cap space WILL matter.

The next 2 years cap is, for all practical matters, irrelevant. Which is why in the post you quoted I only talked about 2 years.

Maybe this is for a different discussion, but just found this on TSN:
 


SCORING LEADERS, PENDING UFA FORWARDS


 
PLAYER TEAM POS GP G A PTS
Loui Eriksson Boston LW 44 15 22 37
Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay C 45 20 15 35
Mikkel Boedker Arizona RW 45 12 21 33
Kyle Okposo N.Y. Islanders RW 43 11 22 33
Jaromir Jagr Florida RW 43 15 17 32
Lee Stempniak New Jersey RW 46 10 21 31
Frans Nielsen N.Y. Islanders C 45 14 14 28
Milan Lucic Los Angeles LW 44 11 17 28
Teddy Purcell Edmonton RW 47 10 18 28
Eric Staal Carolina C 47 9 19 28
Kris Versteeg Carolina RW 46 8 20 28
Andrew Ladd Winnipeg LW 46 10 17 27
David Backes St. Louis C 49 12 14 26
Shane Doan Arizona RW 36 16 8 24
P.A. Parenteau Toronto RW 43 11 11 22
Jiri Hudler Calgary RW 36 5 17 22
Radim Vrbata Vancouver RW 44 11 10 21
 


I'd love to see one of the Islander players or Boedker on the 2nd line (I'm assuming no Stamkos).
Sorry for the bad formatting.

Always liked Boedker.

#17 dudacek

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 02:09 PM

I go with Eichel/O'Reilly and Kane/Reinhart as the core of the first two lines.
Gionta with Larsson and/or Girgensons is line three.
Pysyk and Bogo is my second pair and Risto is half my first.
I expect DLo and McCabe to be on the team and Fasching to be given every chance to join them.
Lehner will be back, but goaltending is up in the air pending how he plays down the stretch.

That leaves nine spots, with the most important being Risto's partner, followed by a top six winger.

I hope McGinn, Legwand and Weber are traded at the deadline, although I have no problem with any of them being resigned for a reasonable role at reasonable rates in the summer.
I'm OK with them re-signing Johnson to modest contract, or trading him and picking up a similar player as a UFA next summer. I want Ullmark to start next season in the AHL.

Moulson, Franson, Gorges, Foligno, Ennis, Schaller and either Larsson or Girgensons should be leveraged to fill the two most pressing holes with the leftovers filling in the gaps in the roster.

It would be nice if those prime spots could be filled with a high draft pick or a prime UFA, but I wouldn't count on it.

Edited by dudacek, 19 January 2016 - 02:13 PM.


#18 nfreeman

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 02:24 PM

I'd expect either a top-6 winger or a top-4 defenseman to come in via FA, if not both. 

 

I don't think Ennis will be traded at the deadline, unless it's in a package for Drouin or other significant guy coming back, because I think GMTM likes his game, and because Ennis' value is pretty low right now.

 

I think GMTM will unload pretty much all of the upcoming UFAs at the deadline, plus Franson, because he wants to re-stock his pick/prospect cupboard -- and GMTM pretty much said this on the radio last week.  I also wouldn't be surprised if an RFA or 2 (like, say, Larsson or Foligno) were dealt at the deadline.

 

I'd like to see McGinn brought back in free agency, and I think there's a pretty decent shot it will happen.  He seems to like it here and he seems like GMTM's kind of guy.  He also isn't the kind of guy who will attract huge offers, so getting him back seems doable. The same goes for Weber.

 

While Taro's points regarding a Moulson buyout are valid, I nevertheless expect him to be gone next year, most likely via buyout.  I just don't think GMTM will abide performance this poor, regardless of contract.

 

I also think Schaller will either be a regular or the 13th forward (and I think his play in this recent stint is vindicating my consistent stance on this, so there.)

 

I'd love to see Fasching muscle his way into the lineup, but a season in Rochester seems more realistic.

So I'd predict:

 

Kane-ROR-Reino

McGinn-Eichel-Ennis

Foligno-Zemgus-Gionta

Deslauriers-Schaller-other

 

Risto-Bogo

McCabe-new UFA defenseman

Pysyk-Gorges



#19 WildCard

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 02:30 PM

So, when does Reinhart make the move to center? Is the answer, never?



#20 Hoss

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 02:35 PM

Looking forward to next year this is what I see and what I'd like to see.

 

Here's my lineup with empty spaces where we need to fill (I will label the holes so I can breakdown options after):

 

Kane - O'Reilly - RW1

LW2 - Eichel - RW2

Girgensons - Reinhart - Fasching

Deslauriers - Schaller - Gionta

 

LHD1 - Risto

McCabe - Bogosian

LHD3 - Pysyk

 

Lehner - G2

 

OUT: Moulson, Ennis, Larsson, Legwand, Weber, 

 

RW1/RW2

 

Loui Eriksson (BOS UFA) - He's having a great season in Boston. I like his speed and all-around game. He would be a great fit with either O'Reilly or Eichel which would allow us some flexibility.

Wayne Simmonds (PHI trade) - This will depend on what Philadelphia is looking to do in the coming years, but I love the idea of adding Simmonds to our top six. Extremely rugged with plenty of offensive talent to contribute to a top six anywhere.

Jiri Hudler (CGY UFA) - A veteran who played the best hockey of his career a year ago. He's not having nearly the same season so you'd be nervous about another Gionta situation here. Known for his leadership abilities, though.

Kyle Okposo (NYI UFA) - This is guy a lot of members of this board have had their eye on for a while. Finally a UFA and would give us some sandpaper and offensive ability in the top six.

Cam Atkinson (CBJ trade) - He's smaller than most of us prefer, but he's got talent. And wouldn't it be fun to see the guy who sealed the tank come in and enjoy the fruits of it?

Radim Vrbata (VAN UFA) - He's much older than the typical players Murray has targeted, but he could bring a veteran presence and is still a sniper out there. Would be a rare sight for Sabres fans to have a guy who is a pure scorer and little to nothing else.

Tyler Ennis - I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that he'll be dealt, but I get the feeling it's trending in that direction whether it's before the deadline or in the offseason. If he is dealt I imagine it'll be in a deal to fill one of the holes I've mentioned.

Justin Bailey/Nick Baptiste - I don't think they'll be quite ready next year, but I think they'll get an opportunity to make the team. I'm feeling confident that Fasching is in the team's immediate plans and makes this team, so he could be an option to slide up into the top six.

 

LW2

 

Mikkel Boedker (ARI UFA) - This is my favorite option. I would love to see him on Eichel's wing. He's a pending UFA that Arizona is trying to keep around. Still young and ready for his first big contract.

Jamie McGinn/Zemgus Girgensons - I still want to see McGinn traded and re-signed. If he is then you can have either him or Girgensons on Eichel LW and the other on Reinhart's. If you go this route I think you'll want to target a sniper for Eichel's RW.

Jonathan Drouin (TB trade) - We all know he's available, but I don't know that GMTM is seriously involved here. If he is I imagine the plan would be to plug Drouin in the top six and let it shake out.

Jeff Skinner (CAR trade) - He's long been rumored as somebody Carolina has considered dealing. He's a scorer and won't bring any physical presence, but he's certainly an appealing young player.

David Perron (ANA UFA) - His play has dipped significantly since he went to Pittsburgh. A recent trade to Anaheim could reboot his game, but he could also be a buy-low type that teams with great centers get to take advantage of.

Draftee - If this team is drafting in the top three then you could see any of Matthews, Laine or Puljujarvi sliding into this spot.

 

LHD1

 

Keith Yandle (NYR UFA) - This is the free agent I want above all others. I think he'd be the perfect addition to Risto's left side and give this defense an instant boost to a full group. He's not a shutdown guy, but he and Risto would be true blueliners who would give us great possession numbers while on the ice. Sometimes the best defense is great offense.

Marc Edouard Vlasic (SJ trade) - This has long been one of my favorite trade options if San Jose is at all open to moving him. He's still relatively young considering it feels like he's been around forever. Good two-way dman to compliment Risto.

Jonas Brodin (MIN trade) - There's been rumors that Minnesota is dangling him hoping to pick up a young forward. It would likely cost Reinhart, but if the Sabres can make it work with prospects/picks plus Girgensons or Ennis this would be a great acquisition.

Zach Bogosian - This would open up a hole at RHD3 (I think Pysyk could slide into the top four with no problem), but Bogosian has looked good on Risto's left lately. Maybe that's a long-term pairing as he regains his shutdown form. Is health a major concern, though?

Brian Campbell (FLA UFA) - Bringing back Soupy would have more than just sentimental value. He's playing some of the best defensive hockey he's ever played and would be a stop-gap until some of the young guys find their games.

 

LHD3

 

Mike Weber - He wouldn't be my first choice, but he's playing a little better this year. If he's stuck to third-pairing and press box duties then it's easier to mask his deficiencies.

Josh Gorges - Could just let Gorges ride out his contract here on the third line. Same as Weber here.

Cody Franson - See Gorges. He's got value in the offensive zone still and could play the right side of our third pairing while Pysyk or whoever else is on the right plays on his left.

 

G2

 

Linus Ullmark/Andrey Makarov - We could let one of the young guns from Rochester get a full-season shot at being a backup to Lehner.

Chad Johnson - Johnson has been very good lately and could earn a spot as the backup here for another year or two while Makarov and Ullmark get playing time in Rochester.

 

There are obviously more options than this and chances are there will be a couple players on this team that I (and others) haven't even thought of yet.

 

Dreaming of a lineup like:

 

Boedker - Eichel - Okposo

Kane - O'Reilly - Reinhart

McGinn - Girgensons - Fasching

Deslauriers/Larsson - Schaller - Gionta

 

Yandle - Risto

McCabe - Bogosian

Pysyk - Franson

 

Lehner - Johnson

 

 

That's a team I would put a playoff bet on.



#21 BRAWNDO

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 05:03 PM

Looking forward to next year this is what I see and what I'd like to see.

Here's my lineup with empty spaces where we need to fill (I will label the holes so I can breakdown options after):

Kane - O'Reilly - RW1
LW2 - Eichel - RW2
Girgensons - Reinhart - Fasching
Deslauriers - Schaller - Gionta

LHD1 - Risto
McCabe - Bogosian
LHD3 - Pysyk

Lehner - G2

OUT: Moulson, Ennis, Larsson, Legwand, Weber,

RW1/RW2

Loui Eriksson (BOS UFA) - He's having a great season in Boston. I like his speed and all-around game. He would be a great fit with either O'Reilly or Eichel which would allow us some flexibility.
Wayne Simmonds (PHI trade) - This will depend on what Philadelphia is looking to do in the coming years, but I love the idea of adding Simmonds to our top six. Extremely rugged with plenty of offensive talent to contribute to a top six anywhere.
Jiri Hudler (CGY UFA) - A veteran who played the best hockey of his career a year ago. He's not having nearly the same season so you'd be nervous about another Gionta situation here. Known for his leadership abilities, though.
Kyle Okposo (NYI UFA) - This is guy a lot of members of this board have had their eye on for a while. Finally a UFA and would give us some sandpaper and offensive ability in the top six.
Cam Atkinson (CBJ trade) - He's smaller than most of us prefer, but he's got talent. And wouldn't it be fun to see the guy who sealed the tank come in and enjoy the fruits of it?
Radim Vrbata (VAN UFA) - He's much older than the typical players Murray has targeted, but he could bring a veteran presence and is still a sniper out there. Would be a rare sight for Sabres fans to have a guy who is a pure scorer and little to nothing else.
Tyler Ennis - I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that he'll be dealt, but I get the feeling it's trending in that direction whether it's before the deadline or in the offseason. If he is dealt I imagine it'll be in a deal to fill one of the holes I've mentioned.
Justin Bailey/Nick Baptiste - I don't think they'll be quite ready next year, but I think they'll get an opportunity to make the team. I'm feeling confident that Fasching is in the team's immediate plans and makes this team, so he could be an option to slide up into the top six.

LW2

Mikkel Boedker (ARI UFA) - This is my favorite option. I would love to see him on Eichel's wing. He's a pending UFA that Arizona is trying to keep around. Still young and ready for his first big contract.
Jamie McGinn/Zemgus Girgensons - I still want to see McGinn traded and re-signed. If he is then you can have either him or Girgensons on Eichel LW and the other on Reinhart's. If you go this route I think you'll want to target a sniper for Eichel's RW.
Jonathan Drouin (TB trade) - We all know he's available, but I don't know that GMTM is seriously involved here. If he is I imagine the plan would be to plug Drouin in the top six and let it shake out.
Jeff Skinner (CAR trade) - He's long been rumored as somebody Carolina has considered dealing. He's a scorer and won't bring any physical presence, but he's certainly an appealing young player.
David Perron (ANA UFA) - His play has dipped significantly since he went to Pittsburgh. A recent trade to Anaheim could reboot his game, but he could also be a buy-low type that teams with great centers get to take advantage of.
Draftee - If this team is drafting in the top three then you could see any of Matthews, Laine or Puljujarvi sliding into this spot.

LHD1

Keith Yandle (NYR UFA) - This is the free agent I want above all others. I think he'd be the perfect addition to Risto's left side and give this defense an instant boost to a full group. He's not a shutdown guy, but he and Risto would be true blueliners who would give us great possession numbers while on the ice. Sometimes the best defense is great offense.
Marc Edouard Vlasic (SJ trade) - This has long been one of my favorite trade options if San Jose is at all open to moving him. He's still relatively young considering it feels like he's been around forever. Good two-way dman to compliment Risto.
Jonas Brodin (MIN trade) - There's been rumors that Minnesota is dangling him hoping to pick up a young forward. It would likely cost Reinhart, but if the Sabres can make it work with prospects/picks plus Girgensons or Ennis this would be a great acquisition.
Zach Bogosian - This would open up a hole at RHD3 (I think Pysyk could slide into the top four with no problem), but Bogosian has looked good on Risto's left lately. Maybe that's a long-term pairing as he regains his shutdown form. Is health a major concern, though?
Brian Campbell (FLA UFA) - Bringing back Soupy would have more than just sentimental value. He's playing some of the best defensive hockey he's ever played and would be a stop-gap until some of the young guys find their games.

LHD3

Mike Weber - He wouldn't be my first choice, but he's playing a little better this year. If he's stuck to third-pairing and press box duties then it's easier to mask his deficiencies.
Josh Gorges - Could just let Gorges ride out his contract here on the third line. Same as Weber here.
Cody Franson - See Gorges. He's got value in the offensive zone still and could play the right side of our third pairing while Pysyk or whoever else is on the right plays on his left.

G2

Linus Ullmark/Andrey Makarov - We could let one of the young guns from Rochester get a full-season shot at being a backup to Lehner.
Chad Johnson - Johnson has been very good lately and could earn a spot as the backup here for another year or two while Makarov and Ullmark get playing time in Rochester.

There are obviously more options than this and chances are there will be a couple players on this team that I (and others) haven't even thought of yet.

Dreaming of a lineup like:

Boedker - Eichel - Okposo
Kane - O'Reilly - Reinhart
McGinn - Girgensons - Fasching
Deslauriers/Larsson - Schaller - Gionta

Yandle - Risto
McCabe - Bogosian
Pysyk - Franson

Lehner - Johnson


That's a team I would put a playoff bet on.

Great stuff Hoss


Yandle or Boedker would make my offseason

This tidbit from Elliott Friedman makes me think Boedker will be available


3. Did get a chance to ask Maloney about negotiations with Mikkel Boedker, who entered Monday’s game tied for the team lead in scoring. He didn’t want to say much, except for, “We are trying to find something that works for both of us.” Boedker is unrestricted in July.

Edited by BRAWNDO, 19 January 2016 - 05:06 PM.


#22 WildCard

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 05:11 PM

Awesome post, Hoss. Thanks for that. I'll try something similar and hopefully we can get some discussion going here

 

Here's my line-up with the empty spaces we need to fill. As Hoss points out above, it's important to note that Reinhart belongs in the 3rd line center role, because that's where he is on the depth chart. He'll play 1-2 line wing, but he's a center at heart, and until Eichel can overthrow ROR for the 1st line center role, or Reinhart proves he can be our #2 center, he will continue to play wing

 

Kane - O'Reilly - RW1

Girgensons - Eichel - RW2

Foligno - Reinhart - Gionta

Deslauriers - Schaller - Fasching

 

Bogosian - Risto

McCabe - Pysyk

LHD3 - Franson

Weber

 

Lehner - Ullmark

OUT: Moulson, Ennis, Larsson, Legwand, Johnson

 

The defense is all depending on who we can get for a LHD. The quality depends on the lines. Franson starys because he's cheap and good on the pp, though Pysyk may overtake him. Failing to get a LHD1, I'd like to see what Risto and Bogo can manage together over the next couple of months. And I'd rather not waste Pysyk on the 3rd pair

 

As for targets, Hoss wrote way too good of a write-up on those  guys, and I'm lazy, so I'll merely comment on his players:

 

RW:

Loui Eriksson: Whereas his scoring has gone down considerably since his breakout years in Dallas, his possession numbers have greatly improved. He's currently on pace for his best offensive year since 2011-2012, and his CF% rel and FF% rel are at 8.0 each, nearly twice his career average. Sustainable? I'm not sure. I don't know if it's the Bruins system or not, but I'd doubt it, as he isn't playing with Bergeron and this is the only year he's been in Boston and put up numbers like that. At 30 years old and a UFA, those of you that wanted a possession forward, this is your guy. His possession numbers are, surprisingly, better than Bergeron's this season

 

Wayne Simmonds: Basically the exact opposite of Eriksson. His possession and zone entries are lacking career wise, at CF% rel and FF% rel at -3.7 and -3.8 respectively. Though it's crucial to note that over the last two years, those numbers have become 2.0/2.4 and 5.5/4.1. He's very consistent offensively, netting high 20's in goals the last 4 seasons, though his assist numbers fluctuate a lot, leaving him an unbalanced point total from year to year. A great net front and physical presence, he's basically a healthy Evander Kane, with less offensive skill but a little more grit. The contract Philly has him under is unreal, and With Claude and Voracek in their primes, Philly may be unwilling to unload him for anything less than a King's ransom

 

Kyle Okposo: 27 year old RW who becomes a UFA after next season, if Okposo isn't set on resigning with the Isles, they may move him for the right deal. Okposo really is your complete player. He has the scoring touch you'd like, a consistent 20+ goal scorer with 50+ points when he isn't injured, and very consistent possession metrics that, while they won't wow you away, they're consistent and reliabel (CF% rel and FF% rel at 1.1 and .3 career wise respectively). Okposo's current deal has him at $4.5 next year, and will probably demand a slight raise when he hits UFA, depending on his health and play next year

 

 

LW:

Mikkel Boedker: This is a purely scoring winger, nothing else. His possession numbers are abysmal, both for his career and this season (though it's only fair to say they've actually improved this season). A young guy, only 26, His offensive output took a serious hit last year, going from 51 to 18 points. He only played 45 games last year, so I'm assuming he was injured for a significant length of time. With a full season under his belt, he's poised to have his best offensive year, on pace for about 60 points. A speed demon, he could do well with someone like ROR to watch out for his play outside the offensive zone

 

Jonathen Drouin: Ahh, Jonathen Drouin, the man I want nothing to do with. Why? He's hurt, all the time. He couldn't crack the line-up on a highly skilled team, which is understandable, but you know who Drouin has spent the most TOI, 5-5 even strength, with in the last two years? Steven Stamkos, by 68 minutes too. So it's not like he isn't getting offensive opportunities, he definitely is. Despite that, Drouin not only produces offensively at a pace equivalent the likes of Brandon Sutter and Yakupov, one far, far below every top rookie this year, including Reinhart and Jack, but his possession stats drag down his linemates. Not only will Drouin cost us a young defenseman, but the return is merely just hope in a name and a draft pick. If you're hoping to get Seguin - Bruins 2.0 out of Drouin - Tampa, look elsewhere

 

Jeff Skinner: Another very curious case, the history of Skinner is both alluring yet disheartening. A career plagued by injuries, Skinner missed 18 games the season following his Calder wining year (2010-2011) and 40 games the year after that. He followed that season with 33-21-54, but still missed 11 games. He fell off a ton the next year (last season), going 18-13-31. He's currently on pace to replicate the 2013-2014 success, his best of his career. Signed at $6m/year until 2020, the Canes will undoubtedly demand a ton for their young scoring winger. Though, if Staal leaves and they get another top 5 pick, moving Skinner for pieces may be appealing, especially as a full healthy season may drive his value to it's highest point

 

I know nothing of those defenders and am too lazy to look them up. Yandle is the clear choice here, but he's a pipe dream from what I've heard. Still, it's nice to dream. I see no chance of Guhle playing any more than 8 games up here next season

 

Dream line-up:

 

Boedker/Kane - ROR - Reinhart

Boedker/Kane - Eichel - Eriksson

McGinn - Girgensons - Fasching

Des/Foligno - Schaller - Gionta

 

Yandle - Risto

McCabe - Bogosian
Pysyk - Franson
 
Lehner - Ullmark


Edited by WildCard, 19 January 2016 - 05:14 PM.


#23 Huckleberry

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 06:13 PM

Spot on on Foligno and McGinn/Fasching.

 

Am I the only one twho hasn't given up on Moulson yet?

 

No, but he dug himself a deep hole to come out of, can't see him bounce back this season any more even.



 

Dream line-up:

 

Boedker/Kane - ROR - Reinhart

Boedker/Kane - Eichel - Eriksson

McGinn - Girgensons - Fasching Larrson

Des/Foligno - Schaller - Gionta

 

Yandle - Risto

McCabe - Bogosian
Pysyk - Franson Gorges
 
Lehner - Ullmark

 

I'd rather still go with Gorges as my 6th d than being scared everytime a lw speeds by franson.   Can't really see fasching being ready for the NHL grind already next year.

Larsson will still be with us in his place for sure on the 3rd line.


Edited by Huckleberry, 19 January 2016 - 06:16 PM.


#24 Thorny

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 07:50 PM

Great OP, Taro. I actually pretty much completely agree with how you see the roster shaking out for next season, so can't add much there.

 

What I will say, is that I think our team next year is getting pretty close to being our team of the future as well, with only a few pieces still missing. I think the main thing required is growth, and I think we could potentially already have (listed below) something close to our contending roster, with only the (xxx) needing to be filled:

 

xxx - Eichel - xxx

Kane - ROR - Reinhart

Foligno - Larsson - Girgensons

 

xxx - Ristolainen

McCabe - Pysyk

 

Lehner - Ullmark

 

(Didn't list 4th line or 3rd pair, as there are a multitude of options)

 

I really like the look of that second line. You could be looking at "best second line in the league" territory, in time. Third line would be a pain to play against. What we are missing is the top tier wingers for Eichel to play with. We could already have that RW in Fasching, holding out hope for him. (Could be Puljujarvi or Laine?)

 

On D, if Bogosian continues transitioning well to the left, I won't even rule out him being able to be that LD on the first pair. Acquiring a top LD, and allowing Bogosian to shift down to the 2nd or 3rd pair, would be ideal, though.

 

Not really worried about the goaltending. Still have faith in Lehner. We have enough promising prospects (namely, Ullmark), and I've witnessed the capacity of a career backup to be solid enough (Johnson).

 

So it basically comes down to us needing to acquire one, maybe two wingers, and potentially a top-4 LHD. Easier said than done, for sure, but I believe Murray will be able to do this whether by trade using accumulated assets, or through the draft, depending on where we pick this year.

 

Also, great post, Hoss. Really good stuff there.

 

An upgrade over Moulson isn't difficult & is expected though I expect him still on the roster at least through next year as the spare or a veteran presence for Ra-cha-cha. An upgrade to Franson should also be doable.

Would be great if the parts they have currently could get turned into the true #1R. Reinhart w/ some more mass could be that.

 

You are referring to Reinhart potentially being that winger for us, not a trade involving him, correct? I think I read it wrong the first time and it scared me.



#25 WildCard

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 08:04 PM

Many are hoping Eichel is are 1st line center next season, I just don't see it

#26 Thorny

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 08:07 PM

Many are hoping Eichel is are 1st line center next season, I just don't see it

 

Not sure if you got that from my post and not saying you did, but if you did, the lineup I posted was for in coming years, not next year. Just showing that I think we have most pieces. I agree with Taro's next-year lineup. ROR will be the 1C.



#27 Huckleberry

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 08:53 PM

Think I said this before, but if we sign Yandle I don't see him as a fit with risto.

Yandle is a defensive liability and would rather see bogo play a shut down role with him than having risto do that.



#28 Hoss

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 09:12 PM

Many are hoping Eichel is are 1st line center next season, I just don't see it


I don't think it matters. His and ROR's lines will play similar minutes.

Think I said this before, but if we sign Yandle I don't see him as a fit with risto.
Yandle is a defensive liability and would rather see bogo play a shut down role with him than having risto do that.


"Liability" is a big word for Yandle here. He's not a defensive liability. He's not a shutdown dman but he's definitely not a liability on the backend.

#29 Huckleberry

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 09:28 PM

I don't think it matters. His and ROR's lines will play similar minutes.

"Liability" is a big word for Yandle here. He's not a defensive liability. He's not a shutdown dman but he's definitely not a liability on the backend.

 

Still don't see the point of pairing him with Risto, don't want him in a more defensive role for Yandle.   There are better fits for Risto I think.   But would still love to have yandle but I would put him on a 2nd pairing.



#30 Hoss

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 09:44 PM

Still don't see the point of pairing him with Risto, don't want him in a more defensive role for Yandle. There are better fits for Risto I think. But would still love to have yandle but I would put him on a 2nd pairing.


On a defensive pairing both players are allowed to play similar styles.

#31 Taro T

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 09:50 PM

Great OP, Taro. I actually pretty much completely agree with how you see the roster shaking out for next season, so can't add much there.
 
What I will say, is that I think our team next year is getting pretty close to being our team of the future as well, with only a few pieces still missing. I think the main thing required is growth, and I think we could potentially already have (listed below) something close to our contending roster, with only the (xxx) needing to be filled:
 
xxx - Eichel - xxx
Kane - ROR - Reinhart
Foligno - Larsson - Girgensons
 
xxx - Ristolainen
McCabe - Pysyk
 
Lehner - Ullmark
 
(Didn't list 4th line or 3rd pair, as there are a multitude of options)
 
I really like the look of that second line. You could be looking at "best second line in the league" territory, in time. Third line would be a pain to play against. What we are missing is the top tier wingers for Eichel to play with. We could already have that RW in Fasching, holding out hope for him. (Could be Puljujarvi or Laine?)
 
On D, if Bogosian continues transitioning well to the left, I won't even rule out him being able to be that LD on the first pair. Acquiring a top LD, and allowing Bogosian to shift down to the 2nd or 3rd pair, would be ideal, though.
 
Not really worried about the goaltending. Still have faith in Lehner. We have enough promising prospects (namely, Ullmark), and I've witnessed the capacity of a career backup to be solid enough (Johnson).
 
So it basically comes down to us needing to acquire one, maybe two wingers, and potentially a top-4 LHD. Easier said than done, for sure, but I believe Murray will be able to do this whether by trade using accumulated assets, or through the draft, depending on where we pick this year.
 
Also, great post, Hoss. Really good stuff there.
 

 
You are referring to Reinhart potentially being that winger for us, not a trade involving him, correct? I think I read it wrong the first time and it scared me.


:lol: Yes you are correct. To me, he is one of 4 "untouchables" on this team. I'd expect him to be a RW for most likely 1-2 more seasons. While ROR is the best player on the team, he should be 1C. When Eichel is ready to supplant him, they should seriously consider having ROR on his wing w/ Reinhart as 2C. When Sam is better than ROR, he should most likely be the 2C.

I would always have those 3 on the top 2 lines - for at least the next 5 years, hopefully a few more than that. As long as ROR is C, I'd want Kane on his wing. For now, I'd have Girgs as Jack's LW. I'd like to see how/if he grows into that role, but would be fine w/ an upgrade if he doesn't thrive in that role. Girgs getting bumped to the 3rd line would not be a bad thing.

And that last RW would be Fasching, McGinn, or player TM steals from someone else.

Many are hoping Eichel is are 1st line center next season, I just don't see it


If Eichel is the 1C next year, this team is in awesome shape. I'd expect we'll still be 1-2 years away from that, but like Hoss said, both lines will get comparable total minutes. Just ROR's line will get the tougher minutes.

#32 French Collection

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 10:26 PM

Puljujarvi on RW looks good too.

#33 WildCard

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 11:19 PM

No, but he dug himself a deep hole to come out of, can't see him bounce back this season any more even.


 

I'd rather still go with Gorges as my 6th d than being scared everytime a lw speeds by franson.   Can't really see fasching being ready for the NHL grind already next year.

Larsson will still be with us in his place for sure on the 3rd line.

The thing with Franson is he adds another pp option. If we get Yandle and/or Pysyk shows he can QB a pp, then there is no need for Franson at all, and I'd rather go with a faster option as you say

 

Not sure if you got that from my post and not saying you did, but if you did, the lineup I posted was for in coming years, not next year. Just showing that I think we have most pieces. I agree with Taro's next-year lineup. ROR will be the 1C.

You and Hoss had him at the 1C

 

I don't think it matters. His and ROR's lines will play similar minutes.

You're probably right, Toews and Kane average the same minutes in Chicago.

 

If Eichel is the 1C next year, this team is in awesome shape. I'd expect we'll still be 1-2 years away from that, but like Hoss said, both lines will get comparable total minutes. Just ROR's line will get the tougher minutes.

This is what I was thinking as well, another 1-2 years until Eichel really starts showing he is the #1 guy. Until that point, Hoss is probably correct in that the minutes will be very similar for both lines


Puljujarvi on RW looks good too.

He's the guy I've set my heart on for drafting. As much as I'd love him to be in our pipeline, no doubt Eriksson puts this team much closer to playoff contention. His presence would solve so many of our problems



#34 Hoss

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 11:22 PM

You and Hoss had him at the 1C


Doesn't mean anything. I don't "want" anything specific, just whoever is playing better between the two to be the top center. I had it both ways in my post and don't think the difference will be noticeable. The hope is that Eichel looks far and away the best player on this team within a year or two, though.

#35 WildCard

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 11:31 PM

Doesn't mean anything. I don't "want" anything specific, just whoever is playing better between the two to be the top center. I had it both ways in my post and don't think the difference will be noticeable. The hope is that Eichel looks far and away the best player on this team within a year or two, though.

Fair enough, and I've posted that above. I'm curious though, when do you see Reinhart making the jump to 2nd line center? Is it predicated upon our winger situation or his development? Maybe a combination of both?



#36 Hoss

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 11:44 PM

Fair enough, and I've posted that above. I'm curious though, when do you see Reinhart making the jump to 2nd line center? Is it predicated upon our winger situation or his development? Maybe a combination of both?


I don't see him doing so for a long time because I see no reason to move Eichel or O'Reilly off pivot. I could see him as the third line center if DB is willing to commit to three legitimate lines and Murray can provide the talent (and/or Bailey/Fasching/Baptiste turn into studs).

#37 WildCard

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 11:46 PM

I don't see him doing so for a long time because I see no reason to move Eichel or O'Reilly off pivot. I could see him as the third line center if DB is willing to commit to three legitimate lines and Murray can provide the talent (and/or Bailey/Fasching/Baptiste turn into studs).

That's both disappointing and good at the same time. I really hate giving 3 lines equal ice time; there's no way we can legitimately field a top 9 of all equal skill like that. Let me ask you this then, are you worried about the possibility of adding a Matthews into the center mix?



#38 Hoss

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 11:53 PM

That's both disappointing and good at the same time. I really hate giving 3 lines equal ice time; there's no way we can legitimately field a top 9 of all equal skill like that. Let me ask you this then, are you worried about the possibility of adding a Matthews into the center mix?


Nobody said anything about equal ice time. You can run three lines but still with varying ice time. They don't have to have equal skill set...
And no, I would never be worried about adding a prospect of Matthews caliber. I am still hoping we win the lottery.

#39 WildCard

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 12:15 AM

Nobody said anything about equal ice time. You can run three lines but still with varying ice time. They don't have to have equal skill set...
And no, I would never be worried about adding a prospect of Matthews caliber. I am still hoping we win the lottery.

Three equal lines without equal ice times isn't really three equal lines then, is it? Someone is getting screwed out of ice time

 

I've been wondering, do you not visit the GDT's because you're in tank mode?



#40 Hoss

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 12:39 AM

Three equal lines without equal ice times isn't really three equal lines then, is it? Someone is getting screwed out of ice time

I've been wondering, do you not visit the GDT's because you're in tank mode?


I said "legitimate lines," not equal lines.
And no, I'm not in tank mode. Not close to it, either. I don't engage in GDTs lately mainly because I'm working during most games so my attention is elsewhere.