2014 NHL Entry draft:
This draft is much more talented then people give credit for....especially with all of the American Skaters this year which will be the recurring theme. It's not a bad draft at all.
My #1 Goal is to Rebuild the Center Depth, I dont have much down the middle aside from a Boom or Bust Prospect in Mikhail Grigorenko, and JT Compher. The next best player after that might be Connor Hurley. So basically I am looking for skill down the middle
Round 1, Pick 2: Sam Reinhart, C , Kootenay Ice
I take Reinhart over Bennett because of one thing: the hockey sense and intelligence. I envision Sam Reinhart as a a two way stud who maybe could even compete for Selke Trophies someday in the mold of a Johnathan Toews.
Sam Bennett comes off to me more as a wildman in the mold of Doug Gilmour who could even be undisciplined. Sam Reinhart to me is also more of a true center and playmaker that the Sabres need. Sam Bennett could end up being a guy that's better on the Left Wing than at Center.
"Reinhart knows it’s important to play without the puck, too, and he studies film of Chicago captain Jonathan Toews in an effort to improve his two-way game.
He stays calm and was named Most Sportsmanlike Player in the WHL, which also named him Player of the Year. He has served as captain for several Canadian national teams"
His Leadership, Sportsmanlike play, and hockey IQ along with the understanding of the need to play the two-way game is essential, and all the reason why you take him #2 over Sam Bennett.
This is the guy you build around.
Round 2: Pick 31: Nick Schmaltz, Green Bay Gamblers, Center
U.S born Nick Schmaltz is the most naturally skilled player in the draft hands down. Highly skilled, great hockey sense, and a hell of a player to add down the middle.
His brother is Jordan Schmaltz of the St.Louis Blues....my gut tells me they'd be tempted to draft him at 21, but I think the Blues might feel the pressure to draft Ryan MacInnis allowing Nick Schmaltz to drop.
This kid has top line skill though
Round 2 Pick 39: Roland McKeown, Kingston Frontenacs, Defenseman
The last thing the Sabres need is another Defenseman, but Roland McKeown has the most upside of any defenseman in the NHL draft. He is a potential steal....and year ago, he was rated as a top 15 player but fell off a little bit
He plays for the Kingston Frontenacs, and is a teammate of Sam Bennett.
If McKeown falls this far, it's a steal
"Potential steal this draft... elite upside in all zones. Veteran composure & awareness."
Round 2: Pick 49: Chase De Leo: Portland Winterhawks, Center
Chase De Leo is more of a typical Buffalo Sabre type player of the past. And undersized forward at 5'10, 175 lbs, with two way ability.
He's got lots of great intangibles: Strong in the faceoff circle, tenacious checker, relentless, and gritty.
He could be a second line player of the future for the Sabres.
Round 3: Pick 61: Shane Eiserman, LW
Tim Murray added a lot of big physical power forward types to the Sabres when he became GM: William Carrier, Hudson Fasching, and Chris Stewart are all these type of players. He also was very vocal about Steve Ott and how he always loved his game. The Sabres also have Power Forward Types in Armia, Girgensens, Foligno, and Justin Bailey.
"Eiserman is a big strong power forward that plays a nice blend of effort, skill and size. He is strong on the forecheck because of his strong skating and relentless puck pursuit and he's able to bull his way through traffic and is strong in 50/50 puck battles along the wall."
Free Agency Signings: Many people might say: UFA's? Are you kidding, Free Agent Signings are out of the question...I disagree. I certainly believe there are moves to be made.
Also, the Sabres are 47 million dollars under the cap, and only have around 23 million committed next season. They need to spend 20 million to get to the floor. It'll be interesting to see how they accomplish this, but I believe they will make some moves.
The obvious theme is that Buffalo sends a message this offseason and brings in Western New York Natives to help provide some veteran leadership and give a supporting veteran cast to this young core.
The Case for Ryan Callahan:
We have the Cap Space to give the hometown Ryan Callahan what he wants.
Many people will be quick to say: David Clarkson.....Ryan Callahan is NOT David Clarkson and I dont understand why?
Clarkson scored 30 goals once, and outside that one season has been a prennial 15 goal scorer on the 3rd line.
Ryan Callahan actually has some offensive skill.....in a bad year, he will net you 20 goals at minimum, but can get you above 25 goals. He also kills penalties, and is one of the best defensive forwards in the game....Clarkson is not. He also is an asset in front of the net on the powerplay
Cally does a lot of things that do not show up on a stat sheet, but he is a heart and soul kind of player, and after losing Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson and Steve Ott at the trade deadline, the Sabres need an infusion of heart and soul. Ryan Callahan also helps bring a little credibility back to the Sabres, and overall he's great for the locker room and also makes the Sabres very Tough to play against. Ted Nolan will love him.
Callahan will be Captain from Day 1 in Buffalo if he's signed, and it'd be phenominal to add a guy like that....If he wants to be here of course.
The Case for Brooks Orpik:
Im not a big Brooks Orpik guy, but they could use a veteran defenseman to pair with Tyler Myers. He is another veteran guy who brings leadership to the team and comes from winning. He holds a Cup ring which is a plus.
I think Orpik's physical syle will complement Tyler Myers Right Handed Shooting, Finesse Puck Moving game. Tyler Myers is never going to be Chara....the reality is, he's a 6'8 finesse defenseman in the mold of a Jay Bouwmeester, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. But with Tyler Myers, if he's going to be here, people need to be realistic about what he is and Brooks Orpik could be the veteran defenseman that he needs to be paired with.
The question is: how much? And Orpik is a little banged up as well, but I think as a pairing partner to Myers, he offers up a lot.
The case John Scott and Steve Ott Re-sign:
I think John Scott has value to this team, especially when this team plays the Boston Bruins. As an enforcer, I love seeing him beat up on the Bruins....hence, he stays lol ! Honestly im afraid of what would happen if Scott wasn't around when we play Boston.
I have no issue with seeing Steve Ott coming back, especially at the right price. If he wants to be here, why not?
The Case for Lee Stempniak:
Lee Stempniak to me is a harmless and affordable Free Agent Signing who can help the Sabres Special Teams and be a great contributor on the 2nd to 3rd line. It doesnt hurt that he's a West Seneca native, and is another good two-way player to help add to the roster.
Lastly: The Trade Market:
Trade #1: Buffalo Re-Acquires Daniel Briere (If he's willing) from the Montreal Canadiens for a 2014 4th round pick and a middle teir prospect
Briere has 1 year left on his Montreal deal, and Buffalo has a boat load of Cap Room. It's a gamble, but a gamble that doesn't carry a lot of risk to it. He has a No Movement Clause so he'd need to agree to come here. If he was willing, then why not?
He'd be a great mentor for Sam Reinhart.
As of this writing, Daniel Briere's Hab's are behind in the series, maybe he is more willing if the Habs win the Stanley Cup
Buffalo gets a high reward centerman in return with Patrik Berglund who gives the Sabres some needed size down the middle. He's also a great two-way forward, but very streaky. He's been high on skill and potential but short on actual results.
Drew Stafford gives them a goal scorer off the wing with size that they could use.
Both players could use a change of scenery
Buffalo trades: A top 2 Protected 2015 First Round Pick (from St.Louis Blues),
Zemgus Girgensens, G Jhonas Enroth, and C/LW Tyler Ennis
Winnipeg Trades: LW Evander Kane and a 2015 3rd Round pick
Yes, this is a hefty price. I measured this trade in comparison to the Bobby Ryan to Ottawa deal which Ottawa sent Jakub Silfverberg and Steffan Noessen and a First. I also considered that Bobby Ryan also only had 2 years left before Free Agency.
****St.Louis draft pick could be a lottery pick if they miss the playoffs and fail to get a top line center this offseason.Lets get one thing straight, if this happens, Winnipeg is NOT giving Kane away for peanuts. It's going to cost you, and cost you a lot including young assets. But lets be honest here: It's worth it, and it's worth giving up young assets because the whole point of collecting all of these draft picks is to increase your chances and odds of finding great players like Evander Kane. The Draft is a crap shoot, and the more picks you have, combined with keen scouting ability increases your chances of finding a great player.
Evander Kane is a great player right now....and not only that but it's the type of player he is that makes him valuable.
He's 22 years old, a tough gritty power forward, and plays a solid 2 way game. Last time I checked, 23 year old power forwards with two way ability who score goals do not fall of trees.
Count on the NY Islanders to do the losing for the Buffalo Sabres next season !